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Complaints Policy


Phemagrace Ltd is committed to “Putting our students first” by improving the quality of our services and our students’ experience for them.

We welcome our c students’ views. Complaints and compliments are important to us in providing insight into what we are doing well and where we may need to focus improvements. We record this feedback, regularly monitoring what our students tell us, and using the information within our planning processes to help us shape services that support our students. We also seek to manage and respond to students’ feedback in a consistent and professional manner.

This document sets out how Phemagrace Ltd manages and responds to complaints and compliments.

Operations Manager

Complaints and compliments- definition

1. Complaint

A complaint is a criticism or a direct expression of dissatisfaction. A complaint may be about the standard of service, actions or lack of actions by Phemagrace Ltd, its staff or contractors, affecting an individual or group of students.

2. Compliment

A compliment is defined as a customer statement of positive recognition or praise for a service or individual.

Complaints process

The complaints process follows three key stages, the first of which is informal. The second and third stages are for complaints which are classed as formal. These stages require more senior management involvement in investigation and recording procedures.

In all circumstances when a student complains, we will show genuine regret that they have felt it necessary to complain. We will be courteous, honest, helpful and open. Where necessary, we will provide support to our students in helping them to make their complaint effectively. We will provide support to our staff to enable them to deal with complaints in a sensitive, professional and constructive manner.

1. Stage 1 – Informal

Most complaints can be resolved quickly and amicably by our front line staff. Wherever possible, we aim to resolve the complaint close to the original point of student contact, usually, but not always, by the person or team already dealing with the student. Where this is the case, the complaints are treated as informal and not recorded.

2. Stage 2 and 3 – Formal

Formal complaints will always be recorded by nominated complaints and

compliments staff on the corporate complaints recording system.

A complaint will enter the formal stage if the complainant advises that they either:

• are not satisfied with the result at the informal stage; or

• wish to make a formal complaint (they can do this without going through the informal stage).

All complaints will be acknowledged within three working days from the date of receipt for letters and within 24 hours for all other forms of communication. At the point of acknowledgement, student will be provided with a contact name and number, details of our procedure (timescales) and a complaint reference number.

Following the investigation a response will be sent to the student in writing within 10 working days from the receipt of the formal complaint. (Unless the complaint is governed by statutory legislation, see page 8, and is of sufficient complexity to warrant an alternative timescale. In these circumstances, the student will always be advised when they can expect a response.) In the response to the complaint the student will also be advised of their right to appeal to Stage 3. If the complainant advises that they are not satisfied with the result at Stage 2 the complaint will be escalated to Stage 3. At this stage the student must submit the complaint in writing. Following the investigation a response will be sent to the student in writing within 20 working days from the receipt of the Stage 3 complaint. (Unless the complaint is governed by statutory legislation, see page 8, and is of sufficient complexity to warrant an alternative timescale. In these circumstances the student will always be advised when they can expect a response). The student will also be advised of their right to take the matter to the Local Government

Ombudsman, or Information Commissioner (for complaints relating to the Data Protection Act,

Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations), or to the Office of Public Sector Information (for complaints relating to the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations), should they remain dissatisfied.

How we are organized

The Corporate Customer Service Development Team is responsible for oversight of Phemagrace Ltd Complaints and Compliments Policy, recording and reporting of customer feedback, and managing overall quality monitoring. The team also collate cross organisational reports for the Strategic Management Board.

Each directorate has nominated complaints and compliments staff who is responsible for managing the process within their area. This will include co-ordinating responses, ensuring appropriate recording and reporting systems, and preparing any necessary responses for Law and Administration on complaints that have been escalated beyond Stage 3 to the Local

Government Ombudsman. In the Adults, Health & Community Wellbeing and Schools, Children & Families services the Complaints and Compliments Manager will also fulfil statutory responsibilities.

Resolving complaints crossing more than one service provider or authority a Complaints requiring the co-operation of more than one directorate or authority to manage their resolution will be treated as one complaint.

b The Complaints and Compliments Officers for the two or more directorates or authorities involved will agree who is responsible for monitoring and communicating a joined-up response to the student covering all aspects of the complaint resolution and meeting the student standards.

c Where a third party supplies services on our behalf, the supplier will deal with complaints through its own complaints procedure. The supplier is required to ensure that the complaint is thoroughly investigated and a copy of the resolution or outcome of the complaint, together with any correspondence, is forwarded to the complainant and Phemagrace Ltd. The supplier should also advise the complainant that, if they are not satisfied, they may also complain directly to Phemagrace Ltd.

d If a complaint relates to another authority or a public body, such as the NHS, the complaint will be recorded and forwarded on to the relevant contact and the student informed of the action.

Reporting and acting on complaints and compliments

Quarterly reports are made to the Strategic Management Board in order to inform the planning and delivery of new and existing services that support our students.

These reports include quantitative data (volumes of new complaints, status of complaints at each stage, compliance with student standards, etc.).

Qualitative feedback will also be gathered by the Corporate Customer Services Development Team via a rolling survey of closed complaints. Feedback from recent complainants on the speed and style of Phemagrace Ltd response will be gathered and reported.

The Complaints and Compliments Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis or when statutory requirements change to ensure its ongoing relevance.

Unreasonable and vexatious complaints

There may be circumstances when a complainant persists in pursuing a complaint (or series of complaints) when Phemagrace Ltd has taken all reasonable actions in response, or where another recognized process should be (or has been) undertaken.

In such cases, Complaints and Compliments Officers will prepare a written briefing for the relevant director. This report will summarize the history of the complainant’s contact with the

Authority and will also make a recommendation for action by the director which may include:

• Informing the complainant that no further action can by taken by the Authority in response to their complaints and advising them that only new or substantive issues will receive a further response;

• Nominating a single point of contact for any future communication.

Violent or abusive behavior towards our staff will not be tolerated. Please refer to the Authority’s policies and reporting guides relating to health and safety and violence at work for more information.

Anonymous complaints

Complaints and compliments staff will review anonymous complaints. Where these relate to individuals or issues of significant service delivery, these staff will decide whether to log and investigate the complaint in line with the general policy.

Any complaint or comment that relates to vulnerable people or those who might be at risk will be investigated and acted upon immediately.

Please also refer to the Authority’s whistle blowing policy.


Phemagrace Ltd will maintain the confidentiality of all personal student’s information, and not disclose it outside Phemagrace Ltd without the permission of the student, unless legally obliged to do so.


This policy applies to all services within Phemagrace Ltd.

It should also be noted that there are special circumstances where Phemagrace Ltd has a duty to follow statutory regulations and these are listed below (please refer to the appropriate policy and guidance documents):

1. Children and Young people – The Children Act 1989 and 2004

A statutory duty falls under this Act requiring that we operate a three-stage procedure when dealing with representations from or on behalf of service users who are children or young people. This applies to complaints and compliments about a wide but specific range of children’s social care functions.

In addition, statutory processes are in place to deal with appeals for the following:

• school admissions;

• exclusions; and

• special educational needs.

Complaints relating to school admission appeals and exclusion appeals go direct to the Local Government Ombudsman, whilst complaints relating to special educational needs fall within the scope of this policy.

2. Social Care Services – Health and Social care (Community Health and Standarts) Act 2003

The Local Authority Social Services Complaints Regulations 2006. (Addendum to current

Social Care Complaints Procedures for adults Dated 1999)

The above provide regulations about how local authorities consider and respond to complaints relating to the provision of adult social services functions.


The following exceptions apply to this policy:

• We are normally unable to investigate complaints relating to issues that are greater than 12 months old unless they concern the service areas listed in 9.1 and 9.2 above.

• This policy excludes complaints by our suppliers and partners regarding our business relationships or disputes with other public authorities and bodies, which are dealt with by other procedures.

• Staff complaints about their employment are covered by Human Resources grievance and whistle blowing policies.

• Phemagrace Ltd has no legal right or duty to deal with concerns and complaints about schools. The first point of contact for such complaints should be the school concerned. However, where a student requires more guidance, it will be provided by the Communications and Information Team of the Schools, Children & Families Directorate, which also provides guidance in response to written concerns and complaints about schools received by PhemaGrace Ltd.

Useful contacts for making a complaint

Quality Manager: Daniela Woodward

Complaints Department

3 Park St



Email: [email protected]