Handling complaints & Whistleblowing: policy and procedure
The Hygiene Bank is committed to working in an open and accountable way that secures the trust and respect of stakeholders, and as such recognises the role of an effective complaints policy in fostering transparency, fairness, and a culture of continuous improvement.
The Hygiene Bank undertakes to ensure that:
• Making a complaint is as straightforward as possible.
• Complaints are dealt with promptly, courteously, and discreetly – confidentially when appropriate. We will respond decisively with an explanation, an apology where we have been at fault, or information on the outcome.
• We will learn from complaints and use them to make improvements in the way we work.
We hope that the majority of complaints can be dealt with informally, but in cases in which the formal procedure is more appropriate, we request that they are submitted in the following format:
• In writing, addressed FAO the Complaints Officer at The Hygiene Bank, PO Box 639, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 9UZ or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘complaint’ in the subject line.
• It should include a full explanation of the problem, how it occurred, and the effect on you.
• Describe what you think we should do to put things right.
We will deal with your complaint as follows:
1. We will acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receipt and provide you with the name and contact details of the person responsible for investigating the matter on your behalf. Your complaint will be recorded on our incident register and raised with our Risk Committee
2. The person responsible for the investigation will write to you with their findings and proposed resolution within twenty eight days from receipt of the complaint*.
3. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation you may appeal: letters must be received within twenty one working days of the date on the correspondence notifying you of the outcome of the first investigation.
4. The complaint will be reinvestigated and you will be informed of the outcome within 10 working days*.
* unless the complaint is particularly complex or time-consuming, in which case you will be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and notified of the expected date of completion.
Handling complaints made to The Hygiene Bank against an employee: policy and procedure
Complaints about staff behaviour or attitude will be handled by the line manager of the staff member in question, and in accordance with The Hygiene Bank’s disciplinary procedure if appropriate. You will not be given details of the action we have taken as such information is confidential.
If you wish to make a complaint anonymously or do not provide contact details, then we will treat it as a comment and will be unable to advise you of the outcome of the investigation.
If your complaint contains abusive or offensive language, then we reserve the right to not respond.
We reserve the right to report any such communication to the Police.
Handling complaints made to The Hygiene Bank against a volunteer: policy and procedure
The Hygiene Bank is committed to working in an open and accountable way that secures the trust and respect of stakeholders, and as such recognises the role of an effective complaints policy in fostering transparency, fairness, and a culture of continuous improvement. Our local projects are part of The Hygiene Bank network. Please note that The Hygiene Bank will need to share your details, and the details of the complaint with the Volunteer Project Coordinator, unless you state in writing that you remain anonymous.
The Hygiene Bank undertakes to ensure that:
• Complaints about a project and or volunteer received by The Hygiene Bank in writing are dealt with promptly, courteously, fairly and discreetly.
• Volunteer Project Coordinators are informed as fully as possible about the nature and detail of the complaint, subject to the degree of confidentiality requested by the complainant.
• Reasonable efforts are made to determine the facts affecting the complaint from both the complainant and the project.
• We will respond decisively to the complainant with an explanation of our actions, an apology where this is appropriate, or information on the outcome of our contact with the project within 28 days of receipt of the complaint.
• We will help our volunteers, projects, and ourselves to learn from complaints and use them to make improvements in the ways we work.
We will deal with the complaint as follows:
1. We will acknowledge the complaint within five working days of receipt and provide the complainant with the name and contact details of The Hygiene Bank officer responsible for investigating the matter. Your complaint will be recorded on our incident register and raised with our Risk Committee.
2. The person responsible for the investigation will contact the project coordinator within the following five working days to notify them of the complaint and enquire into the facts surrounding it.
3. They will write to the complainant with their findings and proposed actions or resolution within 28 working days of the complaint being received*.
4. Where the project has acted fully in accordance with expected standards and procedures, the complainant will be advised of this and advised that The Hygiene Bank has no reason to be further
5. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation and they appeal within 21 days of receiving the first response, then the investigation may be reopened or it may be restated that the project has acted properly, as the investigating The Hygiene Bank officer judges appropriate.
* unless the complaint is particularly complex or time-consuming, in which case they will be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and notified of the expected date of completion. The Hygiene Bank will review this policy annually.
Data Privacy Statement
We collate and analyse data about complaints so that we can improve the services we provide. We will collect personal information including your name and contact details, including postal address, telephone number, email address and social media contact information, in order to be able to communicate with you about your complaint. We will also collect sufficient information about the situation that you are contacting us about to be able to understand what has happened. We may need to request further information depending on the nature of your complaint. We have a legitimate interest in holding this information in order to be able to monitor and improve our services. Information gathered is accessed by The Hygiene Bank employees and may be shared with advice agencies or professional services firms only if appropriate, for example if your complaint relates to safeguarding and we seek guidance as to next steps. Where a complaint involves a project in our network, we may need to share this information with that project in order to understand what has happened and determine a resolution. We keep this information for 2 years after your complaint has been closed, unless we have a requirement to keep it longer, in which case we will inform you of this. After this time the data will be aggregated and anonymised.
Whistle blowing is where you have a concern about a danger or illegality that has a public interest aspect to it such as:
• Modern Slavery.
• A criminal offence that has, is being, or is likely to be committed.
• Unauthorised or inappropriate disclosure, misuse or loss of confidential, personal and / or sensitive information.
• A miscarriage of justice.
• Risk or damage to the environment.
• A danger to the health and safety of employees or others.
• Attempts to suppress or hide information relating to wrongdoing.
The concern can be about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now or that you believe is likely in the future. As long as you hold a reasonable belief that the information is true then you will be covered by the protection set out regardless of whether you are mistaken or the matter cannot be proved.
Whistleblowing may be very difficult and can be reported to email@example.com. We
will take every step to ensure we protect and support whistleblowers internally. However, we recognise that people may feel more comfortable seeking external support in this situation.
The independent charity Protect can also provide support. Their lawyers can give you free confidential advice at any stage about how to raise a concern and they will also provide advice on the circumstances in which it may be appropriate for you to contact an outside body. www.protect-advice.org.uk
Date approved – January 2023
Review date – January 2024