Last updated April 2024. Next update due April 2026.


1.1  CLEFT (registered charity number 1194581) will take seriously any concern or complaint and will look into it promptly, for resolution as quickly as possible and recognises that all donors, stakeholders, volunteers and staff:
- have the right to raise concerns or complaints about our work;
- have access to clear information on how to voice complaints and concerns.

1.2  CLEFT will deal with complaints in line with CLEFT’s Confidentiality Policy and will keep a register of all complaints, which will be reviewed regularly by the Board of Trustees.

1.3  The complaints’ procedure will be part of the process of monitoring the quality, effectiveness and non-discriminatory nature of its services. All staff, volunteers and Board of Trustees members are required to read, understand and comply with this policy and its procedures.

2.  Principles

2.1  CLEFT welcomes feedback from individuals, users of our services, stakeholders, funding bodies and anyone who works with us, on all aspects of our charitable work. Such feedback is invaluable in helping us evaluate and improve our work.

2.2  The objectives of CLEFT complaints policy and procedures are to:

  • Ensure everyone knows how to make a complaint and how a complaint will be handled;
  • Ensure that complaints are dealt with consistently, fairly and sensitively within clear time frames;
  • Provide individuals with a fair and effective way to complain about our work;
  • Ensure that complaints are monitored to improve our services.

2.3  CLEFT will ensure that we:

  • Listen carefully to complaints and treat complaints as confidential, where possible
  • Record, store and manage all complaints accurately and in accordance with the Data Protection Act;
  • Investigate the complaint fully, objectively and within the stated time frame;
  • Notify the complainant of the results of the investigation and any right of appeal;
  • Inform the complainant of any action that will be implemented in order to ensure that there is no re-occurrence;
  • Report on an annual basis the number of complaints received, the outcomes and any actions taken.

3.  Definition of a complaint

3.1  A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction by an individual, whether justified or not. It is important to establish the difference between a concern and a complaint. Taking informal concerns seriously at the earliest stage will reduce the likelihood of their developing into formal complaints.

3.2  If you have any concerns about our work please tell a team member as soon as possible, so they can quickly understand your concerns and try to put things right.

3.3  If you are not happy with the response to your concern and/or you want to make a formal complaint please follow the procedure below.

3.4  An individual may make a complaint if they feel CLEFT has:

  • Failed to act in a proper way;
  • Provided an unfair service.

3.5  This policy and procedure relates only to complaints received about CLEFT and its charitable work.

4. Taking action

4.1  CLEFT aims to settle the majority of complaints quickly and satisfactorily by our team members. The complaint may be resolved quickly by way of an apology or by an acceptable explanation to the individual.

4.2  There are three stages to the complaints procedure:

Stage One – the complaint

Stage Two – investigation

Stage Three – appeal

5.  Stage One - Complaint

5.1  The complaint can be written or if the individual prefers they can tell someone at CLEFT, or someone else, who will write it down for them. The complainant will need to sign it. A complaint form is available to use (Appendix I).

5.2  Individuals wishing to make a complaint should contact the person who provided the charitable work, or they can contact the CLEFT head office by writing to: CLEFT, 10a Warren Estate, Lordship Road, Writtle, CM1 3WT, or by emailing [email protected].

5.3  The complaint should include the complainant’s name and address, the nature and date of the complaint and how they want to see it resolved. The complaints form can be requested and can be sent to the complainant or downloaded from the CLEFT website (Appendix I).

5.4  On receipt, each complaint will be allocated a reference number and logged on the complaints register. Complainants must receive an acknowledgement within 3 working days of receipt of a signed complaint (see Appendix II for the timeframe for each stage).

6.  Stage Two - Investigation

6.1  All complaints at this stage should be dealt with by Matt Fell (CLEFT Trustee) who has been elected to oversee complaints. If they need to meet with the complainant, they will do so either in-person or by Zoom.

6.2  Complaints will be fully investigated, and a written response will be provided to the complainant by the investigator confirming the outcome of any investigation and any recommendations made. Where the complaint is upheld an apology should be offered.

6.3  Occasionally investigations may take longer, particularly if the complaint is complex, in which case a holding letter will be sent and a final date given for a conclusion to be reached.

6.4  If an individual remains dissatisfied with the outcome from Stage Two they can appeal and progress to Stage Three.

6.5  The complaints register will be updated, and any pending complaints flagged so they are followed up.

7.  Stage Three - Appeal

7.1  If the complaint cannot be resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction at Stage Two, then it will be referred to the CLEFT Chair. If the complaint is about the Chair then the matter will be discussed with the Vice Chair.

7.2  The Chair and/or Vice Chair will review the Stage Two investigation and recommend one of the following actions:

  • To uphold the action taken at Stage Two
  • Make changes to the Stage Two recommendation/actions

7.3  The complainant should be informed in writing of the outcome of Stage Three, the decision reached about this complaint will then be final but other options available to the complainant (as listed below) should be detailed in the letter.

7.4  If after CLEFT has been through the three stages and the complainant is still not satisfied with the result, they should be advised that there is no further right of appeal with CLEFT but they could approach any of the following agencies for advice:

  • The Advertising Standards Authority
  • The Charity Commission
  • The Fundraising Regulator

8.  Anonymous complaints

8.1  Complaints received anonymously will be recorded and considered, but action may be limited if further information is required to ensure a full and fair investigation.

9.  Data protection

9.1  To process a complaint CLEFT will hold personal data about the complainant, which the individual provides, and which other people give in response to the complaint. We will hold this data securely and only use it to address the complaint. The identity of the person making the complaint will only be known to those who need to consider the complaint and will not be revealed to other people or made public. However, it may not be possible to preserve confidentiality in some circumstances, for example, where relevant legislation applied or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.

9.2  CLEFT will normally destroy complaints files in a secure manner six years after the complaint has been closed.


This policy will be reviewed every 2 years.

Download a copy of the Complaints policy here

Complaint Form - Appendix I

Complaints Policy - Appendix II

Contact details

CLEFT office

Melanie Baldwin, , CLEFT, 10a Warren Estate, Lordship Road, Writtle, CM1 3WT   

[email protected]


Brian Sommerlad, CLEFT, 10a Warren Estate, Lordship Road, Writtle, CM1 3WT

Trustee with responsibility for managing complaints

Matt Fell, CLEFT, 10a Warren Estate, Lordship Road, Writtle, CM1 3WT