INTERNAL HANDLING PROCEDURE
This procedure applies to complaints about services supplied by the Arts Council or by third party organisations/individuals funded by the Arts Council. It does not apply to complaints from organisations/individuals who have been rejected for funding or who feel they have not received sufficient funding. Such complaints should be dealt with under the Funding Review procedure.
Complaints from members of the general public over funding decisions should be dealt with under this Service Complaints procedure.
Complaints made by telephone
Complaints should be directed to the most appropriate officer directly connected with the subject of the complaint, eg the relevant artform officer if the complaint is from or about a funded organisation; a member of the communications team if the complaint is about something that appeared in the press.
The officer should try to resolve the issue immediately. If the complainant is not satisfied with the answer given by the officer they should be advised that the next step is to make a formal complaint in writing to the Complaints Administrator.
The officer should register the complaint on the “telephone complaints template” on the public server. The complaint should be registered whether resolved or not.
Date: name of complainant: subject of complaint: name of officer: satisfactorily resolved/not satisfactorily resolved
Complaints made in writing
Complaints made in writing (letter, fax, or e-mail) should be forwarded immediately to the Complaints Administrator. The complaint will be acknowledged and will be logged as a formal complaint. Date: name of complainant: subject of complaint: Passed to(officer); Passed to (date); Reply due from officer (date); Reply issued (date):
(A) If the complaint is about a direct Arts Council service the CA will acknowledge the letter within one working day. The CA will keep the original complaint document and will pass a copy of the complaint to the most appropriate officer together with the date by which the reply should be drafted. The officer will draft a reply for approval by the relevant Director. The CA will issue reminder/s as appropriate if the reply is not received by the due date. The draft reply, with evidence of approval by the relevant Director, will be forwarded to the CA by the due date.
The final reply will be issued by the CA under the signature of the Director within 7 working days of receipt of the complaint.
(B) If the complaint is about a third party organisation/individual funded by the Arts Council the CA will acknowledge the letter within one working day. The CA will inform the relevant Director of the complaint. The Director will decide whether or not the complaint is to be handled in-house or whether it needs to be passed to the third party organisation(TPO) for action.
(i) If the Director decides that this is an in-house matter the complaint will be handled as per (A) above.
(ii) If the Director decides that this is a matter for the TPO to resolve then a copy of the letter of complaint will be forwarded to the TPO within 3 working days. The covering letter will ask the TPO to deal with the matter and reply directly to the original complainant, copying the CA in on the answer. The Arts Council cannot dictate to another organisation the timeframe within which it should reply to complaints. However, if a copy of the reply is not received from the TPO within one month, the CA will issue a reminder. The TPO reply will be passed to the Director for information and filed by the CA. If the TPO fails to provide a copy of the reply following a reminder this will be brought to the attention of the Director who will contact the TPO directly to establish the position.
(C) Anonymous complaints
All written anonymous complaints will be logged as above. The relevant Director will decide on the level of investigation into the complaint and the outcome will be recorded on file.