The organisation takes complaints of all natures very seriously and will endeavour to take both timely and appropriate action upon receipt of a complaint. The aim of this policy is to set out how the company captures complaints which may be received from clients, site owners, members of the public or other external interested parties and how members of the company are to manage complaints by establishing appropriate lines of communication, how and when to escalate and how to treat a complainant from first notification through to complaint resolution.
It is hoped that through the implementation of this policy that both client and public relationships are maintained by identifying issues or concerns as early as possible, responding appropriately to a complaint no matter the nature of the issue to enable de-escalation and resolution as quickly as possible to minimise reputational and financial risks to both the company and our clients.
The organisation will take complaints relating to all business activities including works that are being completed on site throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Complaints can be made through the details on our contact page on our website, www.seedrenewables.co.uk, or via project managers or company contacts.
This policy and procedure apply to complaints from all external interested parties including but not limited to current and past client’s, members of the public, contractors, and suppliers. This policy also applies to all works conducted by the organisation including office, admin task and site works, it will apply to all Seed Employees, Directors and Staff.
The following section defines the responsibilities of key persons who are involved in this policy, all responsibilities must be adhered to.
The Complaints Officer – Steven Harrison (Head of QHSE)
- To ensure that all complaints are recorded in a confidential manner after details have been received.
- To ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted and all aspects regarding a complaint are considered.
- To communicate the findings of any outcomes of an investigation to the complainant and seek to reach a suitable outcome.
- To ensure that channels of communication are maintained with the claimant and ensure that regular updates are provided as required.
- To maintain the register of complaints in line with GDPR regulations.
- To meet with the Complaints Director on a monthly basis and review the complaints register.
Complaint Director – Matthew Watts (Company Director)
- To ensure that adequate resources are made available for the complaints officer to conduct their duties to a satisfactory standard.
- To take an involvement in complaints as and when they are required.
- To act on any measures which have been identified by the complaints officer as part of the investigations process.
- To take an active role in investigations of complaints which are deemed of medium to major severity or complaints which are escalated.
- To liaise with clients regarding outcomes of escalations and resolutions.
- To meet with the Complaints Officer on a monthly basis and review the complaints register.
All employees and staff
- Office/Admin employees may receive complaints via phone call, where this is the case the employee is to treat the complaint confidentially and professionally.
- To ensure that all details of the complaint are recorded accurately and that details obtained are checked with the complainant to ensure accuracy.
- To ensure complainants are treated with respect and complainants are made to feel at ease regarding the complaint.
- To ensure all details are passed onto the Complaints Officer accurately using the Complaint Record Form and within 24 hours of the complaint being received
- To ensure that all complaints are handled in a professional manner
- To ensure that all complaints received by them are passed to the Complaints Officer and the relevant Regional Lead.
- To ensure that all complaints are handled in a way that would not jeopardise the professional image of the organisation.
- Consultants, in conjunction with the relevant Contract Managers should produce a timeline document confirming the communications and events leading to the complaint on the project.
Making a complaint
This section contains information on how an external person/party can make a formal complaint to the organisation through an easy-to-follow process. Where possible this process must be followed to allow the organisation to respond with ease and within a timely manner.
In the event a person would like to make a complaint then this complaint can be made through various means, in the first instance contact can be made by phone, as a quick solution may be able to be discussed. For complaints more serious in nature, then all complaints should be sent via post or email to ensure that the organisation is able to capture and record all details of the complaint as accurately as possible.
All letters sent via post should be sent to:
Seed Renewables Ltd – Complaints
Unit 4 – Fordham House Court
Complaints can be emailed to – Complaints@seedrenewables.co.uk
Complaints may be received through various methods including email, phone, or letter, however no matter the method of contact or communication in which a complaint has been received, it is important that the exact nature of the complaint has been recorded and is understood.
If communication is taking place over the phone or via email it is recognised that there is a fine line between someone providing feedback or someone wishing to make a complaint. If it is not clear, then the employee should proactively ask if the person wishes to make a complaint.
If a complaint is received, then the employee taking the complaint, should ensure that all details are correct through asking the complainant to confirm all aspects as understood by the employee. All details received should then be passed onto the Complaints Officer so that the relevant investigations and actions can be taken.
Initial assessment and continual investigation of complaint
Once a complaint has been received and has been both recorded and passed over to the Complaints Officer, they will then conduct an initial assessment based on the information provided. The results of the initial review of the complaint will place the complaint in one of three categories, the categories are:
- Minor Severity
- Medium Severity
- Major Severity
Once the complaint has been placed into a category, then the appropriate method for dealing with the complaint can be used, as the way in which the complaint is handled internally by the Complaints Officer will differ depending on certain variables.
Minor Severity Complaints
Complaints which fit into the minor severity category, are complaints in which it could be determined that the complaint has or could result in minor disruption to site works, minor administrative disruption, no reputational damage to the company or our clients, or where minor disruption has been caused to the person who has made the complaint. Costs to resolve must also be less than £1,000.
If a complaint is classed as a minor complaint, then a notification of response and a proposition to settle the complaint should be made within 24 hours. If a settlement cannot be reached within this timeframe, then a letter or email of acknowledgement must be sent within 5 days to the complainant.
Further attempts to settle the complaint must be made, however if it is not resolved within 4 weeks then a holding letter or email is required to be sent. All complaints must be closed out within 6 weeks of the original notification, where possible.
For minor complaints, staff are to inform the complaints officer who may then decide to pass the complaint back to the contracts/projects manager for resolution. A response to the complaint can be given to the complainant via telephone, email or letter, but must be closed out in writing (letter or email).
All minor severity complaints must be dealt with within 24 hours from the initial complaint if possible.
Medium Severity Complaints
Complaints which fit into the medium severity category, are complaints in which it could be determined that the complaint has or could result in moderate disruption to site works, moderate administrative disruption, minor to moderate reputational damage to the company or our clients or where moderate impact/inconvenience has been caused to the person who has made the complaint. A complaint will also be classed as medium severity if the costs to resolve are anticipated to be between £1,000 and £10,000.
Any investigation will then follow into the root causes of the complaint to gather evidence in relation to the complaints being made, a thorough breakdown of events will occur to ensure that adequate conclusions can be made regarding the information supplied by the claimant.
To investigate the root causes can take time, however a senior member of staff will acknowledge receipt of the complaint to the complainant within 24 hours and aim to provide a solution to the complaint within 48 hrs. If a solution cannot be achieved within this time frame, then a holding letter/email needs to be issued to the complainant within 5 working days by a senior member of staff
If after 4 weeks no resolution has been achieved then a further holding letter/email must be sent to the complainant by a senior member of staff, and the complaint must be closed out within 6 weeks of the original notification., Where possible.
All complaints of a Medium/Moderate severity must be handled by the Complaints Officer and responsibility must not be passed on to any other employee.
Major Severity Complaints
Complaints which fit into the major severity category, are complaints in which it could be determined that the complaint has or could result in major disruption to site works, major administrative disruption, severe reputational damage to the company or our clients or where major impact/inconvenience has been caused to the person who has made the complaint. A complaint will also be classed of major severity if the costs to resolve are anticipated to exceed £10,000.
Any incident which can be deemed as having a catastrophic outcome will always be treated as a major complaint and the Complaints Director will be notified.
A substantial investigation led by the Complaints Officer will follow to determine the facts surrounding the complaint, evidence will be gathered which will then enable an adequate and informed decision by the Complaints Director as part of the response to the claimant.
An acknowledgement letter/email must be sent to the complainant within 24 hours on receipt of the
complaint by the Complaints Director, or an appointed senior member of staff and the organisation will have 72 hours to provide a response to the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved within this time frame, then a written letter/email acknowledgement must be sent to the complainant within 5 working days by the Complaints Director.
If after 4 weeks the complaint has not been resolved, then a further holding letter/email must be sent to the complainant and the complaint must be closed out within 6 weeks of the initial complaint being received, where possible.
Major severity complaints will be discussed at board level including the Complaints Director and will not involve any employee who is a part of the original complaint. The Complaints Officer and Complaints Director along with the board will consider all evidence and information obtained and come to a group decision, this decision will then be passed onto the claimant by the Complaints Director.
Authority to settle complaints
Authority to settle complaints lies with either the Complaints Officer or Complaints Director depending upon severity – managers handling minor severity complaints are to make the complaints officer aware of their intentions before sending a response to a claimant.
In all cases before a response or a settlement regarding the complaint has been made, a thorough investigation will have taken place to consider all aspects and areas on the complaint. The operational board may be involved in the investigation process and may have input into the final outcomes of the investigation to provide direction.
It is also the responsibility of the Complaints Officer or Director to ensure communication with the person making the complaint is maintained in the methods which have been determined above, dependant on the classification of the complaint.
Escalation of complaints
If a claimant is not satisfied with the outcome presented to them by the Complaints Officer or other relevant manager handling their complaint, then the claimant reserves the right to escalate the complaint. Any notice to escalate the complaint must be made in writing and to the following address/email:
Seed Renewables Ltd – Complaints (Escalation)
Unit 4 – Fordham House Court
Email – Complaints @seedrenewables.co.uk
After receipt of an escalation, the Complaints Director will confirm receipt with the claimant and review all information regarding the complaint. The Complaints Director at this stage will have 72 hours from the date of receipt to review the complaint and previous outcomes and to determine if the proposed resolution is fair and reasonable.
Any communications with the claimant at this stage will be made by the Complaints Director or by a member of the board.
Information requirements for RECC Members
From 1 October 2015:
1) Members must set out on their website RECC’s name and website address, if they have a website.
The Regulations do not specify where on your website you must set this out. RECC’s dispute resolution service is only relevant to domestic small-scale renewable installations. As such we suggest that you set out RECC’s details on a webpage:
- related to your small-scale renewable energy activities; or
- where you detail your complaints handling policy; or
- where you set out your company memberships, certifications and affiliations.
As well as setting out RECC’s name and website address you should also add some explanatory text stating: in the unlikely event of a dispute arising around the installation of a small-scale renewable energy system that cannot be resolved through your own complaint handling procedure, disputes can be escalated to RECC for mediation. You should signpost customers to the following RECC webpage: www.recc.org.uk/consumers/how-to-complain
NB – Where a dispute relates to MCS installation standards, RECC cannot handle the dispute until the MCS Certification Body (CB) has concluded their investigations. Therefore you should direct consumers towards your MCS CB in the event of disputes of this nature.
2) Members must also set out RECC’s name and website address in their consumer contracts.
Again, the Regulations do not specify where in your contract you must set this information out. It would be logical to include it where your contract refers to your complaints handling policy or procedure. The scope of RECC’s dispute resolution service should be made clear; it relates to domestic small-scale renewable installations. The installation of a conventional gas boiler, for example, would fall outside of RECC’s scope. In contracts for the installation of a gas boiler you should name an alternative ADR provider.
NB – As above, reference should also be made to your MCS CB in the event of technical disputes.
3) Where Members have exhausted their internal complaints handling procedure Members must inform consumers on a ‘durable medium’ (by email or letter) that they cannot settle the complaint and must set out RECC’s name and website address as an ADR entity that could handle the dispute. Members should also indicate that they will use this service if the consumer wishes to.
As with the above two points the remit of RECC is domestic small-scale renewable installations. Disputes outside of this scope would have to be signposted to an alternative ADR provider.
NB – As above, reference should also be made to your MCS CB in the event of technical disputes.
Record keeping and GDPR
All Information obtained during the process of a complaint will be held in accordance with all data protection legislation including General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Information regarding members of the public making complaints will be dealt with sensitively and handled in a confidential manner except where disclosure is required to progress the complaint or implement a decision on the complaint.
In submitting a complaint, the complainant understands that their complaint will be shared with a member of staff who will become responsible for looking into the circumstances surrounding the complaint and investigating the matters raised.
Details of the complaint may then need to be discussed with other members of staff to ensure required information and conclusions can be attained. Where a complaint is made in relation to an individual, the individual has the right to be made aware of any allegations made against them and will be given the opportunity to provide an explanation/event from their perspective.
Complainants should be aware that they should avoid disclosing any unnecessary personal information (medical conditions etc.) unless they feel it is relevant to the issues being raised. Complainants should also avoid including personal details of other persons unless they have been given permission by them to do so.
All data and records kept in relation to a complaint will be held for a maximum of 2 years after complaint closure. After this period has elapsed all data relating to the complaint will be destroyed.
Review of policy
This procedure and policy will be reviewed on an annual basis as a minimum, any changes that are made will be reflected in the revision schedule at the start of this document. The organisation reserves the right to amend this policy at any time.