Complaints policy

The National Council of Women of Great Britain is committed to dealing effectively with any complaints you may have about our service.  If we (‘we’ and ‘us’ throughout this document refers to the Management Committee/Trustees) got something wrong, we will apologise and where possible we will try to put things right. We also aim to learn from our mistakes and use the information we gain to improve our services.

When to use this policy

When you complain to us, we will usually respond in the way we explain below.  Sometimes, you might be concerned about matters that are not decided by us but by one of our associated/affiliated organisations and we will then advise you about how to make your concerns known.

Informal resolution

We believe it is best to deal with things as soon as possible and in the easiest and most direct way. If you have a complaint, raise it with a local NCW member or officer. They will try to resolve it for you there and then. However, they may need time to look into it and will respond to you within 5 working days.  If there are any lessons to learn from addressing your complaint, the matter will be drawn to the attention of the Management Committee. If the person you are dealing with can’t help, they will explain why and you can then ask for your complaint to be formally investigated.

How to complain formally

You can make a complaint in any of the ways below:

  • You can ask for a copy of our complaint form from the person with whom you are already in contact.
  • You can get in touch with our Administrator on 01325 367375 if you want to make your complaint over the phone.
  • You can use the form here
  • You can e mail us at
  • You can write a letter to us at 81 Bondgate, Darlington DL3 7JT.

We also aim to have complaint forms available at all our events. Copies of this policy and the complaint form are available in large print.

What you should include in your complaint

  • Remember to state your name, address and telephone number (and email, if applicable) and whether you are acting on behalf of someone else
  • Briefly describe what your complaint is about stating relevant dates and times, if applicable
  • List your specific concerns starting with the most important concern
  • Be clear about what you are hoping to achieve (for example an apology, explanation, etc.)
  • State your preferred method of communication

It will assist our Administrator if extra information and/or copies of relevant documents are attached to your complaint.

Dealing with your complaint

We will formally acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and let you know how we intend to deal with it. We will ask you to tell us how you would like us to communicate with you and establish whether you have any particular requirements for example, if you have language difficulties. We will deal with your complaint in an open and honest way.

We will make sure that your interactions with us in the future do not suffer just because you have made a complaint. If you are making a complaint on behalf of somebody else, we will need their agreement to you acting on their behalf.


We will advise you who we have asked to investigate your complaint. If your complaint is straightforward, we will usually ask somebody from the Management Committee to look into it and get back to you. In some cases, if the complaint is serious, we may ask someone from outside the organisation to investigate. We will set out to you our understanding of your complaint and ask you to confirm that we have got it right. We will also ask you to tell us what outcome you are hoping for. The person looking at your complaint will usually need to see the files we hold relevant to your complaint. If you don’t want this to happen, it is important that you tell us. If there is a simple solution to your problem, we may ask you if you are happy to accept this. We will aim to resolve concerns as quickly as possible and expect to deal with the vast majority within 30 working days. If your complaint is more complex, we will:

  • Let you know within this time why we think it may take longer to investigate
  • Tell you how long we expect it to take
  • Give you regular updates every 20 working days on any progress made

The person who is investigating your concerns will aim first to establish the facts. The extent of this investigation will depend on how complex and how serious the issues you have raised are. In complex cases, we will draw up an investigation plan. In some instances, we may ask to meet you to discuss your complaint. Occasionally, we might suggest mediation or another method to try to resolve disputes.  When investigating your complaint, we will look at relevant evidence. This could include files, notes of conversations, letters, emails or whatever may be relevant to your complaint. If necessary, we will talk to those involved and look at our policies and any guidance.


If we formally investigate your complaint, we will let you know what we have found in keeping with your preferred form of communication. This could be by letter or email, for example. If necessary, we will produce a longer report. We will explain how and why we came to our conclusions. If we find that we got it wrong, we will tell you what and why it happened. If we find there is a fault in our systems or the way we do things, we will tell you what it is and how we plan to change things to stop it happening again. If we got it wrong, we will always apologise.

Putting things right

If we didn’t do something well, we will aim to put it right. If you have lost out as a result of a mistake on our part we will try to put you back in the position you would have been in if we had got it right.


If we do not succeed in resolving your complaint, you may complain to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is independent and can look into your complaint if you believe that you personally, or the person on whose behalf you are complaining:

  • Have been treated unfairly or received a bad service through some failure on our part
  • Have been disadvantaged personally by a service failure.

The Ombudsman expects you to bring your complaint to our attention first and to give us a chance to put things right. You can contact the Ombudsman by:

Ombudsman Services
P.O.Box 730
Warrington WA4 6WU

However, if your complaint is more serious, for example, NCWGB is:

  • Not doing what it claims to do
  • Losing lots of money
  • Harming people
  • Being used for personal profit or gain
  • Involved in illegal activity

then you should bring your complaint to the attention of the Charity Commission:

Charity Commission
P.O.Box 211
Bootle L20 7VX

Learning lessons

We take your complaints seriously and try to learn from any mistakes we have made. Our Management Committee considers a summary of all complaints on a regular basis as well as details of any serious complaints. Where there is a need for change, we will develop an action plan setting out what we will do, who will do it and when we plan to do it by. We will let you know when the changes we have promised have been made.

What if you need help

The person you are dealing with will aim to help you make your complaint known to us. If you need extra assistance, we will try to put you in touch with someone who can help.

What we expect from you

In times of trouble or distress, some people may act out of character. There may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to a complaint. We do not view behaviour as unacceptable just because someone is forceful or determined. We believe that all complainants have the right to be heard, understood and respected. However, we also consider that our staff and volunteers have the same rights. We, therefore, expect you to be polite and courteous in your dealings with us. We will not tolerate aggressive or abusive behaviour, unreasonable demands or unreasonable persistence.

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