Procedure for Complaints Against the Governing Body
The Clerk to the Corporation will act as the first point of contact for any complaint that is made against the Corporation or an individual member of the Governing Body, including the Principal if the complaint relates to his/her role as a Board Member.
The procedure to be followed in such circumstances is set out below. The response to a complaint will include, where appropriate, details of the arrangements for pursuing the matter with an independent body.
1. Complaints against the Corporation or a member of the Governing Body should be made in writing and addressed to:
Clerk to the Corporation
East Durham College
A complaint relating to the Clerk to the Corporation shall be forwarded to the Chair of Corporation at the above address.
2. The complainant will be expected to state clearly the nature of the complaint and, if appropriate, provide copies of any related documentation. It is not possible for a complainant to seek the disciplining of a member of staff or the removal of a Board Member or the Clerk, since these are decisions for the Principal of East Durham College and the Board respectively in accordance with the College’s Instrument and Articles of Government.
3. The Clerk to the Corporation will:
A. Stage 1 - Initial
i) Acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 5 working days and provide an explanation of what will happen next
ii) Consult with the Chair of Corporation to assess whether the complaint is capable of being resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant by an informal discussion.
iii) If an informal approach is agreed, the Clerk will contact the Complainant within ten working days of the receipt of the complaint to agree a date for the informal discussion.
iv) If the complaint is resolved at point iii) above a report detailing both the complaint and the outcome will be made by the Clerk to the next Board meeting.
B. Stage 2 – Formal Procedure
i) If an informal approach to the Complainant is unsuccessful, or the initial discussion at Stage 1 indicated that informal resolution is unlikely, the matter will be referred by the Clerk to a Complaints Committee appointed by the Board.
ii) The Complaints Committee will comprise any three members of the Governing Body (excluding Staff and Student members) and will ordinarily include the Chair or Vice Chair
iii) The following procedure will be followed:
a) The Principal will provide a written report outlining the complaint and the observations of College Management within 15 working days of the receipt of the complaint, and within that timescale the Complainant will be contacted with a view to agreeing a date whereby he or she can attend a meeting of the Complaints Committee.
b) The Complainant will be provided with a copy of the Principal’s Report at least 7 working days before the meeting of the Complaints Committee.
c) In order to assist the process, the Complainant will be asked to provide written observations on the Principal’s Report at least 3 working days before the Committee Meeting.
d) The Committee may make its decision on the complaint in private and, in any event, the outcome of the Committee’s decision will be communicated to the Complainant within 5 working days of the meeting.
The Clerk will ensure that no person who is particularly identified as being the subject of a complaint will be responsible for the preparation of any report under the procedure or included in the membership of a Complaints Committee relating that complaint.
D. Procedure for complaints relating to the Chair of Corporation
In the event that the complaint relates to the activities of the Chair of Corporation, the matter will be referred to the College’s Internal Auditors.
E. Procedure for complaints relating to the Clerk to the Corporation
In the event that the complaint relates to the Clerk to the Corporation, the above procedure will apply except that the Chair of the Corporation will ensure that the procedure is followed. Letters for the Chair of the Corporation to be addressed to:
The Chair of Corporation
East Durham College
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint he/she may wish to contact the Skills Funding Agency, Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT.