Complaints, concerns and feedback

We aim to give our best to everyone who uses our support, but if you had a negative experience we would also like to know.

Our Complaints Policy

The Elm Foundation is committed to working in an open and accountable way that builds the trust and respect of all our stakeholders. We also want to ensure the highest standards of activities across all departments in our organisation. 

One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our stakeholders, and in particular by responding positively to complaints regarding employees or services and finding suitable resolutions. 

We take complaints very seriously and we treat them as an opportunity to develop. This is why we are always very grateful to hear from people who are willing to take the time to help us improve. We always thank people who contact us about their problems, concerns or worries. 

People and Responsibilities 

The Chief Executive has overall responsibility for ensuring that complaints about employees and services are handled appropriately. They are supported in this role by the Board of Trustees. 

  • make making a complaint an easy process, taking into account different ways of preferred communication; 
  • treat complainants promptly, politely, and, where appropriate, confidentially; 
  • investigate the complaint fully and impartially; respond to the complainant within a reasonable timescale; 
  • provide clear information and support both to the complainant and to any staff member that is the subject of a complaint; and 
  • provide details on escalating the process should the complaint not be resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction. 

Complaints Procedure 

1. Making a complaint Making a complaint is simple and you can contact us in whichever way is more convenient for you: 

  • By phone: please call on 01246 540464, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Outside of these hours you can always leave us a message and a contact number and someone will return your call. 
  • By email: please e-mail 
  • By post: The Elm Foundation, 6 Fairfield Road, Chesterfield, S40 4TP 
  • By our website: Please complete the below form.

Please include your name, address and contact telephone number in your email or letter so that we can get back in touch with you easily. 

2. Complaint details To ensure we deal with your complaint promptly and accurately we need to know: 

  • Exactly what the problem is and how it has occurred – give as much information as possible 
  • How it has affected you 
  • What you consider should be done to put the matter right 

3. Procedure 

Stage One – Complaint We will acknowledge your complaint within ten working days of receipt. We will investigate the circumstances leading to the complaint and will communicate this to you within 10 working days. Where the investigation cannot be completed within this time scale, a letter will be sent advising the complainant this will be completed within 28 working days. A letter will then be sent outlining the outcome of the investigation. If the complaint is found to be justified, we will agree any necessary further action with the complainant. 

Stage Two – Investigation The complainant will have the right, if dissatisfied with the result of the initial investigation to escalate the complaint to Stage 2 of the process by writing to the Head of Operations. A letter of acknowledgement will be sent within 2 working days and a response letter, following the investigation within 28 working days. 

Stage Three – Appeal 

At Stage 3 the complainant will have the right, if dissatisfied with the results of Stage 2to put their case, in writing, to the Chief Executive and then attend a meeting of the appeals panel, comprising a minimum of two Trustees and the Chief Executive. If the appeal is found to be justified, the appeal panel will agree any necessary further action with the complainant. The decision of the appeal panel is final and no further appeal is possible. 


We aim to resolve your complaint in an honest, open and satisfactory way. However, if after going through all the stages of our Complaints Procedure above you do not feel completely satisfied by our response then you can contact the following agencies: 

Fundraising Regulator Fundraising Regulator, 2nd floor, CAN Mezzanine Building, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH 0300 999 3407 

Information Commissioner’s Office Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF 

Tel:0303 123 1113 

The Charity Commission The Charity Commission, PO Box 1227, Liverpool L69 3UG 

Tel: 0845 3000 218 

Situations where we may not respond to a complaint 

On very rare occasions we may choose not to respond to a complaint. These include: 

  • When a complaint is about something that we have no direct connection to. We may choose to reply to clear our name but we are not obliged to. 
  • When someone unreasonably pursues a complaint that we have already responded to. They will be given escalation points but we may choose not to reply again – we will always inform the complainant of our decision to do this. 
  • When a complainant is being obviously abusive, prejudiced or offensive in their manner. 
  • When a complainant is harassing a staff member. 
  • When a complaint is incoherent or illegible. 
  • When a complaint has clearly been sent to us and numerous other organisations as part of a bulk mailing or email. In this instance we can chose whether it is necessary for us to reply or not. 

When a complaint is made anonymously we cannot respond to the complainant, but we will investigate the complaint and use the information to improve in any way that we can. 

Record keeping 

The Charity will keep a record of each complaint and outcome and will report on a quarterly basis complaints to the Board of Trustees. 

Our Complaints Form

We welcome all feedback from people who have used The Elm Foundation – good and bad. We put the views of people who use our support at the centre of our services. We’re always trying to improve what we do.

It’s important that you give us as much information as possible in order to fully investigate your complaint. Your information won’t be passed on to anyone outside of The Elm Foundation.

It’s our aim to resolve complaints within 14 days of receiving them. In some cases, this isn’t possible but we’ll do our best to resolve it as soon as we can. If you have any questions or wish to add information concerning your complaint, please contact a member of the team on 08000 198 668.

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