Complaints and Grievance Procedure

Arthur’s Place Complaints and Grievance Procedure

Please read carefully

[Last updated: July 7, 2021]

Arthur’s Place is a Community Interest Company which aims to provide high quality services and information to young adults with arthritis.
As part of this commitment, we have a Complaints and Grievance Procedure to allow those to whom we provide these services to make suggestions for improvement or to raise any grievance, complaint or concern they may have. This Complaints and Grievance Procedure can also be used by anyone connected to Arthur’s Place, including any contributor, freelancer or volunteer.
The Procedure should be read in conjunction with our policies:
Safeguarding Policy
Equality, Diversity and Fairness Policy
Privacy Policy
Social Media Moderation Policy
Arthur’s Place Pharma Promise

Any concerns relating to safeguarding matters will be dealt with according to the separate procedure outlined in our Safeguarding Policy.

When dealing with your complaint we will ensure that we will not treat you less favourably than anyone else because of your:
• Sex or legal marital or same-sex partnership status: this includes family status, responsibility for dependants and gender, including gender reassignment, whether proposed, commenced or completed.
• Sexual orientation
• Colour or race: this includes ethnic or national origin or nationality
• Disability
• Religious or political beliefs, or Trade Union affiliation
• Any other unjustifiable factors, for example language difficulties, age, pregnancy and maternity.

What to Do If You Are Not Happy with Us

Stage 1 – Informal Complaint
Sometimes, in the first instance, it is best to tell the person involved directly about your issue and where appropriate try to resolve matters informally. If you feel this is difficult or inappropriate, please speak to Arthur’s Place Director, Andrea McBride, who will act as mediator in the matter and help you to resolve the issue.

Stage 2- Formal Complaint
Should you feel your complaint warrants a more formal response, the next step is to put your complaint in writing to Arthur’s Place Director, Andrea McBride, andrea@arthursplace.co.uk, who is responsible for handling all formal complaints and grievances for Arthur’s Place.

You will receive confirmation that your complaint has been received and you will receive at least an initial response within five working days. Our aim is to investigate your complaint properly and give you a full reply within ten working days, setting out how the problem will or has been dealt with. However, where a complaint is complicated, we may have to extend the timescale to ensure all matters are investigated and dealt with thoroughly. Should this be necessary, you will be informed accordingly.

Should the complaint be about Andrea McBride, and it has not been possible to resolve matters informally, please move to Stage 3 of our procedure.

Any complaints we receive, and all matters contained within, will be treated confidentially and only shared with the persons required to resolve matters. We will have regard for our Privacy Policy and complaints will be dealt with in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, to protect you and those involved. All written complaints will be logged.

Stage 3 – When Matters Are Not Resolved
If you are not satisfied with our response or wish to take the matter further for consideration, please write to Arthur’s Place Non-executive Director, Dr David Gillanders, at editor@arthursplace.co.uk.

You will receive confirmation that your complaint has been received and you will receive at least an initial response within five working days. Our aim is to investigate your complaint properly and give you a full reply within ten working days, setting out how the problem will or has been dealt with. However, where a complaint is complicated, we may have to extend the timescale to ensure all matters are investigated and dealt with thoroughly. Should this be necessary, you will be informed accordingly.

If after Arthur’s Place Non-executive Director, Dr David Gillanders has responded you are still not satisfied, please write to Arthur’s Place Director, Andrea McBride, and request that the matter is reported to our board of non-executive Directors, which will decide on any further steps to resolve the situation within three working weeks of receiving the report.
Any complaints we receive, and all matters contained within, will be treated confidentially and only shared with the persons required to resolve matters. We will have regard for our Privacy Policy and complaints will be dealt with in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, to protect you and those involved. All written complaints will be logged.

Stage 4 – When Arthur’s Place Informs You It Has Done All It Can to Resolve Matters and Considers It Now Closed
If you are still unsatisfied with the final decisions made and action taken in response to your complaint, you have the right to make a complaint to the Community Interest Company Regulator.

Vexatious Complaints, Unreasonable and Abusive Behaviour Policy
This policy takes into account the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and has regard for The Equality and Human Rights Commission Complaints Policy and Procedures.
We may sometimes receive complaints which can be deemed ‘vexatious’ or ‘repetitive’. Some of these complaints can be costly to handle; or responding to them may be a disproportionate use of our staff’s time.
Deciding whether a complaint is vexatious requires us in each case to consider the context and history of the complaint. We will consider whether the complaint is likely to cause unjustified distress, disruption or irritation. In particular, we will consider the following issues:
• Could the complaint fairly be seen as obsessive?
• Is the complaint harassing or causing distress to staff?
• Does the complaint appear to be designed to cause disruption or annoyance?
• Does the complaint lack any serious purpose or value?
The concern we will address is whether a complaint is vexatious in terms of the effect of the request on us and not whether the applicant is personally vexatious.
By its ordinary meaning, the term ‘vexatious’ refers to activity that “is likely to cause distress or irritation, literally to vex a person to whom it is directed”.
For a complaint to be vexatious, we will consider whether there is a proper or justified cause for it. We will not only examine the complaint itself, but also its context and history. That context may include other complaints made by the applicant to us (whether complied with or refused), the number and subject matter of the complaints, as well as the history of other dealings between the complainant and ourselves. The effect a complaint will have may be determined as much, or indeed more, by that context as by the complaint itself.
We will take into consideration the following factors (which are not an exhaustive list) when determining whether a complaint is vexatious:
• Where the complaint requests information which has already been provided
• Where the nature and extent of the complainant’s correspondence with us suggests an obsessive approach to disclosure
• Where the tone adopted in correspondence by the complainant is confrontational and/or haranguing and demonstrates that the purpose is to argue and not really to obtain information
• Where the correspondence could reasonably be expected to have a negative effect on the health and well-being of our staff
• Where the complaint, viewed as a whole, appears to be intended simply to re-open issues which have been disputed several times before, and is, in effect, the pursuit of a complaint by alternative means
• Where responding to the complaint would likely entail substantial and disproportionate financial and administrative burdens for us
• Where it is not a one-off complaint, but a case of the same complaints having been made repeatedly, or where on repetition, the particulars of the complaints have been varied, making it difficult to know exactly what the complainant is seeking and making it less likely that the request can be satisfied.
No single one of the above factors would lead to a finding, by itself, that a complaint was vexatious. However, based on the strength of the various factors, taken together with the history and context of a complaint, a complaint may be deemed vexatious.
It is important of course that all complaints from a single source should not be deemed vexatious just because some may have been so previously. This is particularly the case if, on the face of it, the complaint seems to be specific, stand alone and straight forward. However, it is entirely appropriate and necessary, when considering whether a complaint is vexatious, to view that complaint in context – if, say, the complaint is part of a wider grievance against Arthur’s Place and is, for example, inextricably linked to an individual’s quest to hold Arthur’s Place to account for perceived shortcomings.
Complaints can sometimes become a vehicle for individuals to try to reopen previous issues. Although we recognise that people are not always satisfied with the responses they receive, the raising of complaints is not a panacea for problems that have not been resolved through other channels.
Continued complaints after the underlying complaint has been addressed, go beyond the reasonable pursuit of resolution and Arthur’s Place reserves the right in such cases to put an end to all further response and will suggest the complainant to takes the matter up with the Community Interest Company Regulator.

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