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Northern Ireland War Memorial External Complaints Policy and Procedure

Introduction

NIWM is always seeking to improve and as such we view complaints as an opportunity to learn. We also know that complaints give the organisation an opportunity to listen to areas for improvement and to potentially put things right for the person or group that has submitted a complaint.

Our policy is that we will:

  • Ensure that all staff know what to do if a complaint is received.
  • Investigate all complaints which are received. We will endeavour to investigate those complaints fairly and in a timely manner.
  • Wherever possible, we will endeavour to resolve a complaint.

What is a complaint and who can raise a complaint?

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction (whether justified or not) about any aspect of the work of NIWM which has affected the complainant.

NIWM acknowledges that complaints may be received through a variety of channels:

  • Verbally from visitors to the Museum.
  • Verbally over the telephone.
  • Written on a feedback form during a visit to the Museum or an event.
  • Written in email or letter to the info@niwarmemorial.org account or direct to a named staff contact.
  • Contact form submitted through the NIWM website.
  • Written post on social media which has been brought to the attention of NIWM.

This policy does not cover complaints from staff as they are subject to the organisation’s Employee Grievance Procedure. Nor does it cover complaints against a Director of NIWM. Any such complaint should be made in writing to the Chair of NIWM.

NIWM may refuse to consider repetitive or vexatious complaints.

Procedure for Dealing with Complaints:

Receiving and acknowledging receipt of a complaint

Complaints may be submitted through several channels, as listed above.

It is important that complaints are raised promptly and accordingly, these will not usually be considered if not made within a calendar month of the date on which the cause of the complaint arose.

Complaints received verbally, that is in person or by phone, should be carefully recorded and, where possible, the content agreed with the complainant.

To enable complaints to be effectively dealt with it is important that the complainant should give (and where appropriate the person receiving it should record) the facts of the complaint in sufficient detail to understand where and when it arose, its precise nature, who it involved and whether anyone witnessed it. It is also important that the complainant’s name and contact details and their relationship to this or any other relevant organisation is given/recorded.

It may also be helpful to record whatever remedy is sought.

If a complaint is made against a member of NIWM staff steps shall be taken to ensure that it is handled by members of staff in a more senior position or, if necessary a Director of NIWM.

NIWM recognises that many concerns will be raised informally and can be dealt with quickly, and our aim is to resolve complaints informally and promptly, where possible, by:

  • listening courteously to the complaint and arriving at as full an understanding of the problem as possible;
  • courteously explaining any relevant circumstances that might explain whatever has taken place or any limitations that there may be as to NIWM’s ability to address the complaint made;
  • taking action to put things right, if appropriate;
  • escalating the complaint to the Museum Manager if the complainant is not satisfied.

However, if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, the formal complaints procedure should be followed.

Where complaints are made against members of NIWM staff then the relevant staff member will be informed of it and given the opportunity to comment on same.

Resolving formal complaints

Upon receipt of a formal complaint the Museum Manager must be notified and the complainant will be issued with a copy of this policy, with he/she advised of the next steps.

The complainant will record their issue in writing if this has not already been done and the Museum Manager will allocate someone to investigate the complaint.

The complainant will be notified in writing as to who has been appointed to consider their complaint and that it is being dealt with as a formal complaint.

It may be necessary for the Museum Manager or the person hearing the complaint to seek further information or clarification from the complainant or any relevant third party.

If the complaint is complex or the person hearing the complaint considers this necessary or appropriate, a meeting may be sought with the complainant. In such a case the complainant may not be accompanied by a legal representative. A written record of any such meeting will be taken by NIWM and provided to the complainant.

Once the complaint has been reviewed the complainant will be advised in writing of the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action proposed or recommended to be taken as a result of the complaint. This will be carried out in a timely manner. The complainant will also be advised of the right of appeal if their complaint is not upheld or they disagree with any proposed or recommended actions.

The right of appeal

If a complainant wishes to lodge an appeal, he/she must do so in writing stating in full the grounds of appeal. The appeal must be submitted to the named person and within 7 calendar days of the complainant being advised of the outcome of the investigation into the complaint.

A director or the Chair of NIWM will be asked to consider the appeal by reviewing, where necessary, the complaint made, its handling and the decision and outcome. Once the appeal has been considered the complainant will be notified of the appeal decision in writing by the Chair or director, as appropriate.

There is no right to a further appeal under this policy.

Confidentiality

Insofar as is reasonably practicable information relating to complaints will be treated as confidential and usually only the personnel who need to know about a complaint will be informed of it. Relevant data protection legislation will be followed. Confidentiality is also subject to any legal obligation NIWM may be under in relation to disclosing information that it receives.

Adoption

This Policy was approved by the Board of NIWM on 8th December 2022 and applies to matters arising and complaints made after that date.

Summary Flowchart

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