Guidelines DRAFT

A. Definition of a complaint

A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with the organisation or the service it provides, received from a member, or member of the public, that needs a response.

• A complaint should not be confused with a query, which is a request for information. 
• A complaint about the manner in which an enquiry/order/request for information/materials has been handled is regarded as a complaint

B. Who receives complaints?

ANY employee can receive a customer complaint and upon receipt will capture the relevant details onto a Customer Complaint Form or forward the information as defined above to the Compliance Manager or Chief Executive.

Etiquette of complaint receipt

LISTEN without interrupting. Remain calm. Do not prejudge or assume.
ACKNOWLEDGE and note all the customer's concerns. Repeat the issues they wish addressed as confirmation that you have understood.
CAPTURE all relevant details on the complaint system including actions required to resolve to the customer's satisfaction.

C. Closing complaints

A complaint can be closed when:

a) All actions have been taken to resolve the complaint and these have been communicated to the customer, who agrees to the complaint closure.
b) Agreement has not been reached, but the customer is fully aware that no further action will be taken by BasketballSUSSEX.
c) A complaint is deemed to have gone into litigation.


1. Purpose of the Procedure

1.1 To embed a complaints procedure for the professional structure of BasketballSUSSEX.

2 Why Should We Take Notice of Complaints?

2.1 To ensure that BasketballSUSSEX provides high quality services to all customers, potential members, and volunteers, we must promote and take advantage of complaints. Complaints not only enable us to improve services for individual members, but also offer an ideal opportunity to make changes and improvements across the organisation.

2.2 Complaints should be seen as complaints against the organisation as a whole. However diligent and skilful officers are there will be times where the members expectations are not met and they will complain. Many complaints are of course directed against individual and it is important to recognise the frustration and personal feelings of the workforce staff, volunteers, and members.

2.3 An overriding factor is that members, non-members or any customer of our service have a right to complain.

3 How to Respond to Complaints

3.1 The responsibility to carry out the procedure rests with every officer working for Basketball England. 

The procedure relies on all staff playing their part in being open, fair, flexible and conciliatory in their approach to complaints. The most crucial feature of the complaints procedure is the spirit by which officers implement it.

3.2 All Basketball England staff are expected to:

Act on complaints
• Treat complaints as confidential
• Listen to members and potential members and treat their complaints seriously
• Treat members and potential members fairly regardless of whether they complain or not
• Provide advice and support to those members and potential members wishing to complain  (especially vulnerable adults and children)
• Act upon the findings of complaints investigations, to improve services.

3.3 All volunteers and members can expect Basketball England to:

• Advise those who have been complained about
• Provide training in handling, receiving and promoting complaints
• Advise volunteers and officers on the outcomes of complaints

4 Receiving Complaints

4.1 Any member of staff or volunteer may be approached by a complainant as the first point of contact. Complaints can be received by letter, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone. Complainants do not need to be able to write to make complaints. We do need, however, to be accurate about what the complaint is, and to meet basic standards of recording. 

4.2 The important information to gather is:

• The complainant’s name, address and telephone contact
• The name of the member or potential member they represent, if the complainant is acting on their behalf 
• Who or what they are complaining about (if there is a named individual)
• What club this person belongs to, or where the incident took place
• A breakdown of the complaint into its individual points (if possible)
• Staff should accurately record when the complaint was received, by whom, and who it was passed to (e.g. date, time, place, people involved).

4.3 As the first point of contact, staff are in a crucial position to resolve some complaints quickly. There will be times when all a complainant seeks is an apology. If this can be identified and given, and the member is satisfied, then the complaint can be closed.

4.3 Complainants should be told:

• That the Compliance Manager and/or the Chief Executive is available to discuss the procedures with the complainant further
• That they may not get the outcome they want, but that they will receive a full response 
• That there is a three stage procedure

5 What do Complainants Want?

5.1 Identifying the complainant's desired outcome is crucial to answering their complaint. Objectives tend to include:

• An apology
• An assurance that EB will respond appropriately
• To ensure the same set of circumstances do not occur again, if possible
• More information (e.g. why a decision was made)
• To be taken seriously, and their views acknowledged.

6 When is it a Complaint?

6.1 The standard definition of a complaint is:
"Any expression of dissatisfaction that needs a response"

6.2 Ideally, a "complaint" should be separated out from other representations. These, could include requests for advice, comments, suggestions or "grumbles." However, if in doubt all representations from members or potential members should be treated as complaints and referred to the Compliance Manager.

6.3 To this end, volunteers and officers should be "customer-led" in their responses. This means responding to the complainant's desires on how to proceed in the first instance Staff should find out if this is the full extent of the problem and what the complainant's expectations are.

6.4 If a matter seems minor or simply solved, and yet a member still insists on it being treated as a complaint, then that is a complaint. There will be some instances where this is not the case, and this should again be referred to the Compliance Manager and/or Chief Executive.

7 The Complaints Procedure

7.1 The FORMAL process divides into 3 stages. The first of these provides and opportunity for a local resolution of any problems which, may arise and it is expected that the majority of complaints will be sorted out at this level. Where problems cannot be resolved to the complainant's satisfaction at a local level, stage 2 of the process involves the investigation of the complaint by the Compliance Manager. A third stage of the procedure will provide an opportunity for an impartial review of the complaint and its investigation at stages 1 and 2.

7.2 However, to members and potential members, notification of quite simple matters e.g. delay in receipt of Zone Press, no response to a telephone message etc, could be considered as a complaint. These should be treated as comments or observations. This is a preliminary process to the complaints procedure. 

8 Complaints Procedure

Stage 1 – Local Informal Resolution of Complaints

8.1 This stage is the informal stage. The aim is problem-solving by those staff of Basketball England with the greatest knowledge of the specific situation.

8.2 All volunteers and officers should be responsive to complaints and attempt to accept them without feeling personally threatened or criticised. Those staff directly involved are the best placed to address complaints informally, while maintaining good working relationships with the member or potential member.

8.3 Where a complaint is received by a representative of Basketball England it must be recorded, even if it can be resolved informally. A complaints form should be used to record the substance of the complaint, what action has been taken to resolve it and whether or not the complainant is satisfied with the outcome. A copy of the form should be sent to the Compliance Manager as soon as possible after the complaint has been made, whether or not it has been resolved.

8.4 If the complaint is not resolved at the time at which it is made, then, except for minor issues, the Compliance Manager should be informed. Every effort should be made to respond to the complaint within 3 working days. In any event, a letter of acknowledgement; e-mail or other response (face to face or by phone) shall be sent out to the complainant within 3 working days and a record should be kept of that contact.

8.5 Every effort should be made to resolve the complaint or representation as speedily as possible and to the complainant's satisfaction, within 28 working days. The response to the complainant, 

whether verbal or written should be recorded, however briefly. The Chief Executive will also be informed via monitoring of the complaints process via regular reporting by the Compliance Manager.
Stage 2 - Formal Investigation

8.6 When it has not proved possible to resolve the complaint, and the complainant remains dissatisfied, the complainant can ask for their complaint to be investigated more formally by the Compliance Manager. This is Stage 2 of the Complaints Procedure.

8.7 The aim of this stage is not to do more work or a more thorough job, than at Stage 1. The objective is to consider any parts of the complaint that are still unresolved by using an Investigating Officer.

8.8 All complaints which proceed to Stage 2 must recorded. A response to acknowledge receipt of the complaint must be sent to the complainant within 5 working days.
8.9 The Compliance Manager will carry out an investigation.
8.10 The Compliance Manager should make contact with the complainant and agree their complaint which should be recorded in writing. Following their investigation the Compliance Manager will submit this in the reporting. A written response is made to a Stage 2 complaint, preferably within 28 days of its receipt.

8.11 In those instances where a resolution is unlikely to be achieved within this time limit, the complainant must be informed and the Chief Executive notified. There must be a full written response within three months of the Stage 2 complaint being registered. 

8.12 The response to the Complainant should advise them that should they remain dissatisfied, they can ask for their complaint to be reviewed. A time limit (28 days would be reasonable) should be suggested for them to request this, after which it will be assumed that they are satisfied with the outcome of the investigation.

Stage 3 - Review of Complaint

8.13 If a complainant remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the full investigation; they may request a review of their complaint, which will be largely a review of process. This will not fetter the ability of the Compliance Manager to investigate further, if he/she has doubts about the substantive outcome.

8.14 When a complainant makes a request of a review of their complaint, whether orally or in writing, the Chief Executive must be informed.

8.15 The Chief Executive will be responsible for ensuring that an appropriate officer carries out a review of the complaint, its investigation and responses given to the complainant so far.

8.16 The Review will have access to all records relevant to the complaint and will form an opinion on the integrity of the investigation and responses to the complaint.

8.17 The Review will provide a report- to the Chief Executive. A response to the complainant will 

be sent from the Chief Executive, Chairman or Compliance Manager within 28 days of the request for the review of the complaint.

8.18 Should a complainant remain dissatisfied with the decisions or action of Basketball England their final course of action would be litigation.
9 What is not a Complaint?

9.1 Basketball England complaints procedure does not apply when:

• The complaint is in regard to actions and decisions of another organisation, agency or body (e.g. court decisions, Sport England);
• Matters which should be dealt with under other proceedings such as: 

o Disciplinary proceedings
o Grievance procedure
o National or Local League Rules or regulations.
o Criminal investigation where court action is pending;
o Where legal advice recommends that the complainant is not capable of understanding the findings of the investigation;
o Contractual disputes;
o Where the service user has already taken the same complaint through to Stage 3 of the complaints procedure and the Chief Executive has provided recommendations.
o Child Protection or Safeguarding

9.2 Where a complainant wishes to make an anonymous complaint, they should be informed that their concern will be recorded and considered by EB. However, it is impossible for a complaints investigation to proceed without EB being able to verify who they are sharing information with.
10 Other Channels
10.1 Nothing in these procedures will prevent a member raising concerns through other channels if they wish (e.g. MPs, Councillors, Sport England, CPSU, NSPCC, Local Authorities, Police etc). In all circumstances, however, EB will attempt to seek resolution in a manner consistent with the complaints procedure.
10.2 The Compliance Manager will advise the Councillor, MP or Sport England Representative of the three stage complaints procedure.

11 Child Protection

11.1 The above procedure lays out the process for complaints. In the sensitive area of child protection and Safeguarding Safeguarding Policy and procedures will apply, however any matter in relation to child protection as identified in the Child Protection procedures should be immediately referred to the Compliance Manager along with a Cause for Concern form. All incidents of injury to a young person/vulnerable adult, discrimination, victimization and racial, homophobic content should be passed directly to the Compliance Manager.

12 Conclusion

12.1 The procedure lays out the method for dealing with complaints at all levels- Any complaint will normally be inducted through the procedure, ideally at Stage 1 in the first instance.

12.2 The application of this policy is the key to its success will include monitoring of actions.

Page last updated: 01/09/2020 DRAFT