Feedback, compliments and complaints policy
Our aim is to provide excellent customer and supporter service in delivering our animal welfare goals. We believe that listening to the views of our supporters and service users and learning from feedback, compliments and complaints, is an important part of achieving high quality work.
We take all feedback seriously and view it as an opportunity to learn and improve. If you have a suggestion, compliment or a complaint we would like you to share this with us.
We want to know when things work well, and we want to know when things don’t work well. This policy and accompanying procedure use the following definitions:
- a compliment is an expression of praise concerning a service received
- a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about a standard of service
- a comment or feedback is a suggestion for how a service can be improved.
The following principles are used in our feedback, compliments and complaints policy and accompanying procedure:
- The policy and procedure are fair to everyone using our services or experiencing our work.
- The policy and procedure are accessible to all, regardless of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, belief or sexual orientation. If you have any special requirements to help you access this policy, procedure or our services, please contact us and we will do our best to support you.
- Making a compliment, complaint, or comment will not harm or prejudice the service that is given to you.
- Comments, complaints and concerns are dealt with efficiently and are properly investigated.
- You will be treated with respect and courtesy, and will receive appropriate support throughout the handling of the feedback, compliment or complaint.
- You will receive a timely and appropriate response, identifying the outcome of any investigation, wherever possible.
- Action is taken where necessary in the light of the outcome of a complaint.
- Learning from feedback, compliments and complaints will be used to improve our work.
- If you are not happy with the result of the response to the feedback, compliment or complaint, you will have the right to appeal.
We recognise that sometimes people find it difficult to distinguish between their local RSPCA branch and the RSPCA (registered charity number 219099; sometimes known as the ‘national Society’ or ‘RSPCA England & Wales’). Each RSPCA branch, and the RSPCA are separately registered charities and separate data controllers.
If your feedback, compliment or complaint is regarding our branch (registered charity number 206314), please follow our Feedback, compliments and complaints procedure below. We are only able to respond to feedback, compliments and complaints that relate to the work we have carried out. Depending on the nature of your contact, it may need to be shared with the RSPCA, as the umbrella body. We will let you know if it needs to be.
If your complaint is regarding the RSPCA (registered charity number 219099; sometimes known as the ‘national Society’ or ‘RSPCA England & Wales’), this should be sent directly to the RSPCA. Please follow the RSPCA’s complaints procedure - you can find its details here. If you are looking to share feedback or a compliment regarding the RSPCA, you can find further contact details on the RSPCA’s website.
If your feedback, compliment or complaint is regarding another local RSPCA branch (not RSPCA Sussex East & Hastings Branch, registered charity number 206314), this should be sent directly to the branch concerned - please contact them directly to find out their feedback, compliments and complaints procedure. You can find their contact details by searching here.
If you are one of our branch volunteers, staff members or trustees, please follow your volunteer problem solving procedure, your staff handbook, or Whistleblowing process - as appropriate.
Feedback, compliments and complaints procedure
There are several routes you can take to feed back to us:
- Informal feedback (feedback, compliment or complaint):
To informally give feedback, please contact us using the contact details on the ‘Contact us’ page on our website (this is available under ‘About us’ and also displays our opening hours), and we will be happy to have a conversation with you.
- Formal feedback (complaint):
If you would prefer to submit your feedback formally, please submit the details in writing by email or post, using the contact details on the ‘Contact us’ page on our website (this is available under ‘About us’). Your feedback will be acknowledged within five working days of its receipt - further response timescales are outlined below.
Formal feedback timescales
Depending on the complexity of your complaint, each stage of the complaints process will be responded to in full within a further 25 working days
Formal feedback exceptions
The only occasions when we will not respond are as follows:
- When a complaint is illegible or incoherent.
- When a complaint concerns an incident that happened more than three months ago as it is not possible to investigate these thoroughly.
- When a complainant is being abusive or offensive or harassing one of our people.
- When a complaint has been sent as part of a mass communication to us and many other charities.
- When a complaint is made anonymously we will use the complaint to learn and improve, but will not be able to respond.
- When we have already answered your feedback, compliment or complaint and we cannot justify allocating further charitable resources to the matter.
Appealing a complaint
If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you can ask for it to be escalated to someone who has not previously been involved with your complaint. If you wish to appeal the response to your complaint, please write to us by email or post, using the contact details on the ‘Contact us’ page on our website (this is available under ‘About us’), outlining the reasons for your dissatisfaction, confirming that you are appealing the outcome of your complaint. You must raise your dissatisfaction within 15 working days of our response if you wish your complaint to be escalated. Your complaint will be investigated by someone who has not previously been involved with your complaint.
Further escalation points (following appeal)
- Fundraising complaints - Fundraising Regulator:
We are regulated by the Fundraising Regulator. If your complaint is to do with fundraising and you feel that it has been unresolved by us, then the Fundraising Regulator can investigate your complaint. You must contact them within two months of receiving your response from us.
- Governance, compliance, serious animal welfare concerns or safeguarding - RSPCA (charity number 219099):
Branches are separately registered charities to the RSPCA, and responsible for any complaints about the services we provide. If, however, after appealing your complaint, you are still dissatisfied with our response to your complaint, and your complaint relates to governance, compliance, serious animal welfare concerns or safeguarding, you have the option to contact the RSPCA (charity number 219099). The RSPCA will then decide whether the complaint meets the threshold for their involvement.
- Other types of complaint:
If your complaint is related to another area of our work and you are not completely satisfied by our response then you can contact the Charity Commission.