Complaints Policy

Promotion of the policy

This policy is promoted through staff induction, apprentice induction, e-portfolio work, newsletters to apprentices and employers, training sessions, and the apprentice handbook.

Staff and apprentice training

Our Complaints Policy is a central part of all staffs’ induction. Information is also provided to all apprentices and employers at enrolment in order to raise their awareness of the contents of this policy.

Staff understand that all complaints must be treated with the highest priority.

Within the tracker, there is an area dedicated to resources relating to making and responding to complaints.

What a complaint is.

We treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response. We deal with complaints promptly, politely and, where appropriate, confidentially. We respond in the right way, for example, with an explanation, or information on any action taken. We learn from complaints, use them to improve and review our Complaints Policy. We treat complaints from apprentices and employers with the same attention.

We divide complaints into two categories: informal complaints and formal complaints.

Raising a complaint.

Informal Complaints Procedure

We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly. Our aims are to:

  • Resolve informal concerns quickly
  • Keep matters low key
  • Enable mediation between affected parties in a structured and constructive way.

An informal approach is appropriate when a resolution can be achieved, but if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.

Formal Complaints Procedure


A complaint is ‘any expression of dissatisfaction (with UCAN as an organisation, with a member of staff, or with a UCAN Governance Board member) that relates to UCAN and that requires a formal response’.


The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and, wherever possible, resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

Our responsibility is:

  • To acknowledge the formal complaint in writing;
  • To respond within a stated period of time;
  • To deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint;
  • To take action where appropriate.

A complainant’s responsibility is:

  • To bring their complaint, in writing, to our attention normally within 8 weeks of the issue arising;
  • To raise concerns promptly and directly with a member of staff;
  • To explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date;
  • To allow us a reasonable time to deal with the matter;
  • To recognise that some circumstances may be beyond our control.

Responsibility for Action

All Staff, Directors and Governance Board members.


Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and UCAN maintain mutual confidentiality. However, the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality. Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.

Monitoring and Reporting

The Governance Board will receive annually an anonymised report of complaints made and their resolutions, demonstrating that all complaints are dealt with in accordance with this Policy.

Formal Complaints Stage 1

In the first instance, if you are unable to resolve the issue informally, you should write/email to the member of staff who dealt with you, or their manager, so that he or she has a chance to put things right. If your complaint concerns a Governance Board member, you should write/email formally to the individual concerned. If appropriate, the names of any witnesses (employer/ee, staff, apprentices) would be helpful. In your letter/email, you should set out the details of your complaint, the date and time of the incident(s), the consequences for you as a result, and the remedy you are seeking.

Contact details are:
HR Manager
Unit A Woodlands House
Bristol Road

Within a further 10 working days, an investigation will be undertaken and completed and you will receive written notification of the outcome; where appropriate, reasons will be supplied concerning that outcome or the resulting decision.

Formal Complaints Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the initial response to your complaint, you can write to the UCAN CEO.

You can expect this to be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt and a response within 15 working days.

UCAN’s aim is to resolve all matters as quickly as possible. However, inevitably, some issues are more complex than others and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated. Consequently, timescales given for handling and responding to complaints are indicative.

If a matter requires a more detailed investigation, you will receive a prompt interim response detailing the actions being taken, when a full reply can be expected, and from whom.

Formal Complaints – Final Stage

If you are not satisfied with the subsequent reply from the CEO, then you have the option of writing to the Chair of our Governance Board at the same address, asking for your complaint and the response to be reviewed, stating the reason why you are dissatisfied with the suggested outcome.

You must do this within 10 days of receiving the written response from the CEO.

Note: If your original complaint was against the Chair of the Governance Board, then the final stage will be handled by the CEO.

How long it takes to resolve a complaint.

An informal complaint is likely to be dealt with immediately, as a matter of urgency. When a formal complaint is made, the Chairman of the Governance Board (or their nominee) will be expected to respond within 10 working days to inform the complainant of the action that will be taken to investigate their complaint, and when they can expect to hear the outcome of the investigation.

Reviewing the policy

The policy is normally reviewed annually, at a board meeting. In the meantime, we respond immediately to any changes in legislation.

Authorised by:

UCAN Governance Board

Review Date:23/08/2022

 OLD Student Complaints

 Whistleblowing Policy