Appeals & Complaints Procedure

1.0   Introduction

Pendersons is committed to providing the best possible service, and we recognise that occasionally stakeholders may feel that they have cause to complain about the service they have received.

We encourage feedback from all stakeholders, including complaints.

If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your complaint, this will be dealt with as a failure of service under the terms of our Appeals & Complaints Policy.

Pendersons aims to resolve complaints quickly, fairly and effectively. Pendersons will:

 ➢ Aim to put things right quickly for our stakeholders when they go wrong

➢ Keep our learners, staff and other stakeholders informed of the progress of their complaint and result of any investigation

➢ Seek to learn from each complaint to improve future performance

➢ Set performance targets for responding to complaints and monitor our performance against these targets

➢ Advise our stakeholders of the right to complain to the prime contractor/ ESFA if they remain dissatisfied after their complaint has been through all stages of the internal complaint procedure

Pendersons Complaints Policy and procedure will be readily available to all staff, learners and stakeholders and a copy can be requested from j.moult@pendersons.com

2.0   Appeals

This procedure applies to all events delivered, covering both training and assessments, with a focus on the quality of the decision that could be made by either a trainer or assessor, regarding the performance of a candidate or should a candidate feel they need to raise a complaint during any event.  Complaints after completion of a course are raised on the Customer Feedback forms which are completed by all candidates at the end of every event.

 2.1  Implementation

This procedure will be operated on an as and when required basis, all trainers and assessors will ensure that candidates are briefed on the procedure and that candidates know how to implement an appeal or complaint if required.

This appeals procedure has been implemented in line with QCA guidelines and ensures that candidates have an opportunity to question assessment decisions or the assessor’s interpretation of the standards being assessed within a defined framework.

 

Step 1
 

The candidate informs the assessor of the decision to appeal

Appeals Panel Process

 

The appeals panel will consist of the nominated Internal Verifier, who will review the assessment decision.  The panel may talk to the assessor and candidate during the process.

 

The investigation process can be used to investigate, draw conclusions and make recommendations for any issue that affects the normal running of the business.

Step 2

The Internal Verifier reviews the assessment and makes a decision within 5 working days

Step 3

If the candidate is still not satisfied the Internal Verifier convenes an appeals panel

Step 4

The appeals panel meets within 14 working days of receipt of the appeal

Step 5

The candidate and assessor are informed of the outcome immediately

Step 6

Others who may be affected by the outcome are informed

In exceptional circumstances there may be a need to refer to the External Verifier for clarification and advice when the issues raised have not been considered or experienced before.  When this is the case no decisions will be made until the External Verifier has been consulted and clarification or advice given to ensure the Appeals Procedure has been followed correctly and robustly.

Should any candidate feel it necessary to raise a complaint during any event delivered by Pendersons then in the first instance, and if they are happy to do so, they should speak to the trainer/assessor in an effort to get this resolved.  If they are not happy to speak to the trainer/assessor about it then they can contact Pendersons Compliance Manager on 07849 263766 or speak to someone within their own organisation to register the complaint on their behalf.  All complaints will be dealt with as a non-conformance and investigated through our non-conformance and corrective action procedure.

3.  Complaints

Pendersons prides itself on offering a high quality of service however on occasions where issues or complaints are raised we will follow a professional and efficient process that seeks to resolve any complaints as quickly and effectively as possible. We take every complaint seriously and work to a high standard to ensure resolution as quickly as possible.

Complaint Received

Complaint is received by the organisation via telephone/e-mail/writing/via website.

Any complaint will be issued to General Manager or in their absence the Managing Director.

What is the complaint about?

This list could include but is not exhaustive;

• Other learners or apprentices

• Resources at Pendersons

• Course content

• Staff member

• Funding

• Information provided

• Customer service

• Scheduling of training

• Lack of contact from Pendersons

GM/MD decides on appropriate staff member to resolve the complaint but GM /MD remains the overall owner of the complaint until resolution.

All complaints to be acknowledged and initial investigation to commence within 5 working days of receipt of the complaint.

Who to file complaints to?

If, from the initial contact with the complainant, the complaint has not been resolved within one business day, pass the complaint details to the relevant manager and provide all information and/or documentation relating to the complaint.

Complaints about Safeguarding, Equality and Diversity, Health and Safety and prevent are forwarded to the Designated Safeguarding Officer to deal with on the same day complaint is made. If DSO is not available, complaint to be forwarded to the Deputy DSO. 

Complaints about communication, scheduling, Pendersons member of staff, facilities is forwarded to the General Manager.

Complaints about apprenticeship employer, apprentice, assessor, assessment decision is to be forwarded to Compliance Manager.

Complaints about Traineeship placement from learner or employer is to be forwarded to the Compliance Manager.

Complaints Investigator to resolve complaint within 4 weeks or to provide a holding response

Complaints Investigator will resolve the majority of complaints within four weeks, providing the complainant with a final response and ensuring regular updates are provided to the complainant where relevant. 

If, however, the complaint is complex and taking longer to resolve, a holding response will be sent to the complainant explaining the situation and informing the complainant when further contact will be made (which would be within 8 weeks of the receipt of the complaint). 

More complex complaints may require to be forwarded to the General Manager.

All correspondence issued to complaint to be attached to the relevant complaint log.

Complaint resolution

Complaints Investigator will endeavour to resolve the complaint within eight weeks of receiving the complaint, providing the complainant with a final response.

If, however, the Complaints Investigator is unable to issue a final response, a holding letter will be issued explaining why the company is not yet in a position to provide a final response, the reasons for the delay, and informing the complainant when the company expects to be able to provide a final response. 

All correspondence issued to complaint to be attached against the relevant complaint log.

Complainant to continue liaison with Complaints Investigator or refers to Managing Director

If the complaint has not been resolved within 8 weeks, the complainant may continue to liaise with Complaints Investigator or contact the Managing Director with the details of their complaint.

The Complainant should be provided with the copy of ESFA guidance on “Complaints about post 16 education and training provision funded by ESFA” and copy of guidance from the relevant Awarding Bodies on how to appeal the result or make a complaint about a Training Provider. 

Complaints Investigator to issue final response

Following investigation, Complaints Investigator will issue their final response which includes notification to the complainant of their right to refer the complaint to the Managing Director if they remain dissatisfied. 

Complaints Investigator to liaise with Managing Director for final outcome

Complaints Investigator will liaise and with the Managing Director, including providing them with the complaint details in preparation for their decision on resolving the complaint should the General Manager be unable to resolve the complaint.

The Managing Director will liaise with Education Skills Funding Agency, Ofsted, Awarding Bodies or other stakeholders that may be involved with this complaint if relevant.

Throughout this process Complaints Investigator to log complaint details, supporting evidence and updates on Complaints log.

General Manager or Managing Director to monitor Complaints Logs for trend analysis in order to identify any systemic issues/trends arising from complaints received and ensure corrective action and continuous improvement is actioned. 

4. Equality & Diversity

Staff, learners and other stakeholders have the right to express dissatisfaction with the services they receive from Pendersons. This policy ensures that stakeholders can expect to be treated fairly and without discrimination. Please see Equal Opportunities Policy for further information.

Forms

  • P20F01 Appeals Form
  • P08F02 Non Conformance Form (to be completed for all complaints)