Living Leadership Complaints Procedure

This procedure will be reviewed on a yearly basis.  This version replaces earlier dated versions. Living Leadership will amend this procedure, following consultation, where appropriate. Date of last review: November 2021

Living Leadership recognises that we sometimes get things wrong and always need to be open to learning how to do things better.  We welcome complaints as a means for us to honour the Lord Jesus by:

  • recognising, confessing to and apologising for failures or wrongdoing; 

  • where possible, putting right any harm that has been caused; 

  • avoiding repeating mistakes; and 

  • learning how we can do better in future.

Why we have a Complaints Procedure

This Complaints Procedure is intended to ensure that:

  • anyone who wants to complain about Living Leadership can easily find out how to do so;

  • everyone in Living Leadership knows what to do if a complaint is received;

  • all complaints are investigated as fully and promptly as reasonably possible;

  • all complaints are resolved fairly and, whenever possible, broken relationships are restored;

  • Living Leadership can improve its services by learning from failings and deficiencies.

What you can complain to us about

You can complain to Living Leadership if you are dissatisfied for any reason with either:

(a) something done or said by Living Leadership or its staff members, Associates or volunteers working in the Charity’s name; or 

(b) failure by Living Leadership or its staff members, Associates or volunteers to do something you believe we should have done.

Living Leadership cannot investigate or respond to complaints about matters that do not directly involve the Charity, including:

  • activities of organisations we partner with, except in joint venture partnerships with us;

  • activities of churches or organisations registered in our Leadership Commitments Scheme.

If you believe that a staff member, Associate or volunteer with Living Leadership has committed a crime, please report it directly to the police by calling 101.

How you can complain to us

Many complaints can be resolved simply by discussion with an individual whose actions you are dissatisfied with or a staff member who oversees them. If possible, please do this in the first instance.

If this is not possible or desirable, or if you speak to someone and are dissatisfied by their response, you should raise a formal complaint with Living Leadership. You can do that by:

  • Emailing us at complaints@livingleadership.org.

  • If email is problematic, please call us on 01689 487 393 to speak to someone or leave a message for someone to call you back.

Whether by email or phone, we will want to know: your name and contact telephone number; details of your complaint; and, if possible, an indication of what resolution you would like.

Alternatively, you can complain anonymously, although that may mean we are unable to investigate your complaint fully and we will not be able to provide you with a response.

How we will respond to your complaint

When we receive a complaint, we follow four steps:

1. Acknowledgement and Conversation

We will acknowledge your complaint, thanking you for contacting us.

If you have given us your phone number, the acknowledgement will normally be by a phone call. We may ask some questions to clarify the nature of your complaint and the resolution you are seeking. If your complaint is straightforward, we may be able to resolve it to your satisfaction during this conversation and close the complaint. If not, we will proceed to Step 2.

If you have not provided your phone number, we will acknowledge your complaint by email and proceed to Step 2. We may also ask for additional details of your complaint and the resolution you are seeking.

We aim to acknowledge receipt of complaints within five working days, but it may take up to twenty working days as our staff team is small.

2. Investigation

Our second step if the complaint is not resolved in Step 2 is to investigate the matter fully by carefully considering all relevant information. We may need to contact you again for additional details. If so, we will do our best to have the same person who communicated with you in Step 1 contacting you. In addition to what you tell us, we may also consider:

  • records of communications between you and our people relating to the matters complained about, including communications that have been treated as confidential within our Code of Conduct; 

  • the perspective or response of anyone involved in matters you have complained about;

  • testimony from third parties which may be relevant to the matters.

We will handle all information gathered sensitively, only sharing it with people who need to know, and in line with our Data Protection Policy.

Our aim is always to seek a resolution to complaints with which all parties are satisfied. Investigations will work towards that end if possible. In rare cases, we may terminate a complaint without reaching a conclusion or responding further, for example:

  • if Living Leadership has no direct connection to the matter;

  • if we have already responded to the complaint and there is no reasonable case for reopening it;

  • if a complaint is clearly prejudiced, discriminatory, offensive or vexatious;

  • if a complainant abuses, harasses or threatens a Living Leadership person;

  • if a complaint is incoherent or illegible;

  • if a complaint has obviously been sent to us as part of a bulk communication to numerous recipients and we feel we have no contribution to make in response. 

3. Written Response 

After concluding our investigation into your complaint, we will respond to you by email or post. Our aim will be to provide you with:

  • a response to each substantive point in your complaint, explaining whether we agree with you or not and why;

  • an apology for any wrongdoing or mistakes we discover;

  • an indication of any lessons we have learned and any changes we intend to make to our procedures, policies or services as a result of your complaint.

You can normally expect our written response within thirty working days of making your complaint. Straightforward complaints will often be responded to sooner than this. If we cannot respond within thirty working days, we will let you know and explain why that is. 

4. Records and Reviews 

We will keep a record of your complaint, the outcome of our investigation and the reasons for our conclusions. We will review all complaints on a yearly basis to identify any patterns and additional learning points. The findings of these reviews will be shared with our Senior Management Team and Board. 

We regret that we cannot always inform you if we learn something further from your complaint in one of these reviews.

Who will investigate your complaint

Whenever possible, your complaint will be investigated by a member of staff not directly involved in matters you complain about. Living Leadership’s Head of Ministry Operations will normally investigate complaints unless directly involved in the matters, in which case the Executive Director will investigate. 

If both the Head of Ministry Operations and Executive Director are directly involved in matters complained about, the investigation will either be conducted by a trustee of the Charity or, at the request of the trustees, a third party independent of Living Leadership.

Our aim in all cases is to ensure that the person conducting the investigation does so thoroughly and fairly, without prejudice or bias.

Our commitments around complaints

In our responses to complaints, Living Leadership commits to honouring:

  • Complainants – we will communicate courteously with you, listen carefully to what you tell us, and make sure you know who to contact if you want to escalate your complaint further.

  • Our people – we will inform our staff, Associates and volunteers whenever possible of complaints made about them or their actions, giving them an opportunity to respond.

  • Justice – conclusions we reach in investigations into complaints and actions we take in response to them will be proportionate, appropriate, and fair.

  • The authorities – if we uncover any credible evidence of criminal actions through an investigation into a complaint, we will pass it to the police or another appropriate statutory body.

What if your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction?

If we do not resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you may ask us to reopen the complaint. To do so, please email complaints@livingleadership.org or write to us by post outlining the details of the complaint, why you have not been satisfied with our response and what you would like us to do to put things right. We will review the outcome and may reopen the complaint and investigate further.

You can expect to hear from us whether we have reopened the complaint within twenty working days of contacting us. If we reopen the complaint, you can expect a response from us within thirty working days of our acknowledgement.

If you are still not satisfied with our response or do not wish us to reopen your complaint, you may want to consider making a complaint to one of two bodies with statutory powers to investigate charities, like Living Leadership, registered in England and Wales.

If your complaint is to do with how we have asked for donations or conducted fundraising, you can ask the Fundraising Regulator to investigate. 

Online:  https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/complaints
Mail:      Fundraising Regulator, 2nd Floor, CAN Mezzanine Building, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH
Phone:  0300 999 3407

If your complaint is about any other aspect of our work and concerns matters that pose a serious risk of harm to Living Leadership or the people we are set up to help, you can complain to The Charity Commission for England and Wales.

Online:  https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-charity
Mail:      The Charity Commission, PO Box 1227, Liverpool, L69 3UG
Phone:  0845 300 0218