This policy sets out RLSS UK’s approach to handling complaints or concerns from all learners, and others involved in the delivery and assessment of RLSS UK qualifications and awards.

When responding to complaints, we aim to:
• Be impartial and non-adversarial
• Facilitate a full and fair investigation by an independent person or panel, where necessary
• Address all the points at issue and provide an effective and prompt response
• Respect complainants’ desire for confidentiality
• Treat complainants with respect
• Keep complainants informed of the progress of the complaints process
• Record all complaints

We try to resolve concerns or complaints by informal means wherever possible. Where this is not possible, formal procedures will be followed.

Definitions and Scope

A concern is defined as “an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for which reassurance are sought”.

We will resolve concerns through day-to-day communication as far as possible.

A complaint is defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action”.

We intend to resolve complaints informally where possible, at the earliest possible stage.

There may be occasions when complainants would like to raise their concerns formally. This policy outlines the procedure relating to handling such complaints.

Complaints about the following are dealt with under our Enquiries and Appeals policy.

• Assessment decisions
• External moderation decisions
• Actions taken as a result of confirmed malpractice or maladministration
• Refusal to grant Reasonable Adjustments or Special Considerations
• Unprofessional behaviour of the Approved Training Centre/ Provider (ATC/P), Trainer or Assessor

Where a complaint is about an ATC/P or the unprofessional behaviour of the ATC/P, Trainer or Assessor, complainants must first go through the ATC/P’s complaints or appeals procedure, prior to contacting us. As part of our agreement with ATC/P’s, they must all operate a complaint handling and appeals process for learners.

Complaints from learners or whistleblowers about the service provided by our ATC/P’s which allege malpractice or maladministration, will be dealt with under our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.

Principles for Investigation

When investigating a complaint, we will try to clarify:
• What has happened
• Who was involved
• Where this happened
• When this happened
• Names of witnesses (where possible)
• What the complainant feels would put things right

We intend to address complaints as quickly as possible. To achieve this, realistic and reasonable time limits will be set for each action once the necessary details of the complaint have been received.
Where further investigations are necessary, new time limits will be set, and the complainant will be provided with the new deadlines with an explanation for the delay.

We expect that complaints will be made as soon as possible after an incident arises and no later than 10 working days afterwards. We will consider exceptions to this timeframe in circumstances where there were valid reasons for not making a complaint at that time, and the complaint can still be investigated fairly for all involved.

How to Complain

Complaints should be made in writing via email within 10 working days of occurrence, or within two weeks of an unsatisfactory outcome of a complaint to an ATC/P.

Complaints should detail:
• A full description of the complaint (including dates, times, venue and, the context where appropriate)
• Names of others involved
• Copies of any evidence, e.g., letters, completed forms, witness testimony
• Contact details (in accordance with Data Protection legislation. e.g., name and contact email or phone number)
• The complainant should also state what they feel would resolve the complaint

If the complaint is excessively long or complex, we may ask you to provide a summary so that we are clear about what the issues are.

What will happen to my complaint?

Where possible, we would like to deal with your complaint informally and may do so over the telephone or via email. In such cases, we will confirm in an email the action we will take.

Sometimes a more formal approach is required, and, in these cases, your complaint must be put in writing directly to: [email protected]

If the complaint cannot be put in writing, a member of the Compliance Team will relay any verbal conversation via email, to ensure the details around the complaint have been understood.

We will acknowledge all complaints within three working days, investigate and provide a response within 10 working days where necessary.

If the complaint is not resolved informally, it will be escalated to a formal complaint.

All complaints will be logged as soon as they are received. Formal complaints will be assigned to a member of the Compliance Team who will start the initial investigation.

If the complaint is from a learner who has exhausted the ATC/P’s own complaints procedure, we will contact the ATC/P Co-ordinator for the outcome of the complaint.

We will endeavour to complete any complaints investigation within 28 working days of the receipt of the initial written complaint. To ensure a fair and thorough investigation, the duration may depend on the nature and severity of the complaint received, and the investigating team member will notify the complainant as soon as possible if the investigation will take longer than expected.
Where possible, complainants will be kept informed during this period and will be informed of the outcome.

If your complaint is upheld, we will, subject to the requirements of confidentiality, inform you of the actions we propose to take. If your complaint is not upheld, we will explain why.

If you are not happy with the way your complaint has been handled or the outcome of our investigation, you can refer your grievance to the Compliance Manager.

In such cases, this must be done within 10 working days of receipt of our decision.
Only the original complaint and your dissatisfaction with how it was handled will be reviewed
Further consideration of your complaint will only be made if the review considers the complaint was not handled according to our procedures or failed to take into account critical evidence.
Any decisions made at this stage will be signed off by the Compliance Manager. This will be the final decision and the complaint will be closed.

Confidentiality and Whistleblowing

To enable a full investigation to take place, it will be necessary for complainants to provide their name and contact details. However, in some instances, a complainant may wish to remain anonymous.

We always aim to keep a whistle-blower’s identity confidential, if asked, although this cannot be guaranteed. There may be situations where we have a duty to disclose identity for example to:
• The police, fraud prevention agencies or other law enforcement agencies (to investigate or prevent crime, including fraud)
• The courts (court proceedings)
• Relevant authorities where there are safeguarding concerns
• RLSS UK as part of any investigations into issues around qualification delivery
• Other third parties, e.g., Regulators.

Contact Details

Contact Details

Last updated: February 2022