Complaints Procedure - Cardiff Metropolitan University

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Dec 13, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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1












Policy Owner
-
Director of Student & Registry Services





Complaints Procedure



Established: May 2004



Version Number:
5





Impact Assessed: 30 January 2009






Revised:

March 2009


















2










CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY



COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE



1.0

Introduction



1.1

Cardiff Metropolitan University

is committed to providing high
quality services and facilities for students, staff and the general
public. Integral to this is monitoring and evaluating those
services to enhance quality and to ensure specified standards
are met.



1.2

Cardiff Metropolitan
University

has in place a variety of
mechanisms to ensure that students, staff and public have the
opportunity to participate fully in the development and
improvement of services and it is expected that all parties will
take full advantage of these in maki
ng their views known.


1.3

Cardiff Metropolitan University

recognises that there may be
occasions when feedback mechanisms are not sufficient to deal
with problems. It is for this reason that a formal Complaints
Procedure

has been established.


2.0

What is a c
omplaint?



2.1

A complaint is defined as an oral or written expression of
dissatisfaction or concern you may have about facil
ities or
services provided by Cardiff Metropolitan University
, or about
ac
tions or lack of actions by Cardiff Metropolitan University

or its
staff.


2.2

This does
NOT

include:




requests for new or different services



harassment and bullying



academic decisions



Student Union procedures



disciplinary or misconduct procedures



financial matters



staff grievance procedures



Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information
Regulations


3



complaints by students on franchised programmes at other
institutions


These issues are covered by separate procedures, but if in
doubt write directly to the Complaints Officer at the ad
dress at
the end of this document, who will advise you on which
procedure to follow and will pass on your concerns to the
relevant person(s).

If an appropriate procedure is not available
or there is doubt about which one is most suitable, then the
Complai
nts Procedure will be adopted.



2.3

Where an issue involves aspects that are covered by more than
one procedure, it would not be prudent to have more than one
investigation into a case running concurrently. In this situation, The
Complaints Officer will writ
e to the student advising of the situation
and clarifying the approach that will be adopted. This will vary
depending on the facts of the case, but the decision will always be
driven by the best interests of the
complainant
. For example, it is
usually in

the best interests of the student to have an application for
verification investigated before a complaint, due to the time limits
involved in the former process.




3.0

Why have a Complaints Procedure?



3.1

The purpose of the procedure is to provide a
formal route
through which you, as a student or member of staff or the public,
can bring a co
mplaint to the attention of Cardiff Metropolitan
University
.


3.2



The procedure aims to:





be accessible;



encourage informal conciliation and resolution nearest to
the source of the complaint;



allow speedy handling, within established time
-
frames;



ensure full and fair consideration of complaints;



respect complainants’ confidentiality;



provide an effective and appropriate response;



support the right of the complainant

to be accompanied at
any stage of the procedure;



contribute to the University
’s performance measurement;



identify areas of w
eakness in order to support the
University
’s development and improvement .


4.0



Who is responsible?



4

4.1


The
Pro Vice Chancellor (Opera
tions)

has overall responsibility
for

the University
’s Complaints Procedure, including reviewing,
monitoring and reporting on its implementation.


4.2

The Complaints Officer has day to day responsibility for the
delivery and management of the Complaints
Procedure.





5.0

What are some of the ground rules?



5.1

Before making a formal complaint, you
must

seek to resolve the
matter informally with the relevant person or through her/his line
manager or the Complaints Officer. You
must

try to take
appropriate ac
tion to prevent unnecessary escalation of the
complaint.


5.2

At all stages of both the informal and formal procedure, you
should expect your complaint to be acknowledged, handled in a
quick, polite and straightforward way and investigated
thoroughly and impar
tially.


5.3

You
will

not be disadvantaged in any way by raising a complaint.


5.4

Cardiff Metropolitan University

reserves the right

not
to
investigate or take action on anonymous complaints or those
raised on behalf of an anonymous third party or where you, as
the complainant, do not give your consent in writing. For
example, if you are over 18, your consent must be given before
a parent or representative can act on your behalf.


5.5

If you are under the age of 18,

subject to your agreement,
Cardiff Metropolitan Uni
versity

will notify your
parent(s)/guardian(s) in writing and keep them informed of the
progress of the com
plaint. The University

will allow them to act
on your behalf, provided you agree to this in writing.


5.6

If your complaint is found to be frivolous,
vexatious
, defamatory

or motivated by malice,
Cardiff Metropolitan University

reserves
the right not to proceed with the complaint and, to take action
against you
, where
appropriate
.


5.7

Any person(s) you raise a complaint about will be informed of
your
complaint.


5.8

To enter the formal stages of the procedure, y
ou must put your
complaint in writing and state your desired outcomes
.




5

5.9

At all stages of the informal and formal procedures you have the
right to present your case in Welsh or English; if you inten
d to be
present at a hearing, then you
must

give prior notice of your
preferred language.


5.10

The timescales laid down in the procedure
may need to be
extended by one of the parties in certain circumstances, for
example where witnesses or the Investigating Of
ficer are
unavailable. Where this need arises, the party affected by the
delay must inform the other party in writing.

Cardiff Metropolitan
University

reserves the right, however, not to consider any
complaint that is submitted more than three months aft
er the
event, unless there are exceptional circumstances, and to set a
final deadline at any stage, after which the complainant will
forfeit the right to pursue the complaint further.


5.11

Privacy and confidentiality will be maintained, involving only
yoursel
f
,

other person(s)

inv
olved and relevant staff at the
University

including the Dean of School/Head of Unit, the
Investigating Officer and the Complaints Officer.


5.12

All persons involved
will

have access to any written materials at
least
5
working days before

any interview or hearing.


5.13

When making a formal complaint you and the person(s) being
complained about may be accompanied at any time by a friend,
representative or colleague, but not by a solicitor or barrister
acting in a professional capacity,
unless

t
his is agreed by both
parties. If you ar
e considering legal action, Cardiff Metropolitan
University

will take suitable steps to ensure that its legal position
is fully protected.


5.14

If you are complaining as a member of a group, one person
must

be prepared
to act as your spokesperson and
correspondent for the purpose of the formal procedure, and you
all
must

be able to demonstrate that you have been personally
affected by the matter. You must all agree in writing to the
spokesperson acting on your behalf.


5.15

D
ecisions and outcomes will be communicated to the person(s)
complained about at the same time as the complainant.


5.16

Throughout the process due regard will be given to the Data
Protection Act (1998). This means that no details about any
individual will be gi
ven out without his/her permission. Until a
complainant’s identification is verified, only information about
process and procedures will be supplied.


5.17

All records of complaints will normally be destroyed after
5
years
has elapsed from the complaint being r
esolved.


6



6.0

How, where and to whom do I complain?




(See appendix 1 for a summary diagram of the procedure stages)


6.1

Informal



6.1.1

The first step is to try to resolve your complaint informally with
the person(s) concerned at the point at which your problem
arose. If your complaint is about treatment by a specific
individual, then you
must

try to approach this person in the first
insta
nce. Alternatively, you may wish to talk informally with
someone else
1

or approach the person’s line manager or
the
University
’s Complaints Officer for advice.


6.1.2

Normally you
must

raise a complaint verbally or in writing as
soon as possible after the even
t that is the cause for complaint.


6.1.3

You
will

normally expect to receive a response and hopefully a
resolution within
30

working days
.


6.1.4

The informal process will generally be an oral one and may not
involve a written record
.


6.1.5

All involved
must

try to reach a resolution before considering
any formal procedures.



6.2

Formal Procedure
-

Stage 1


6.2.1

If you remain dissatisfied you should formalise your complaint to
initiate Stage 1 of the Procedure. To do this you
must

either
write a letter or
e
-
mail or complete a ‘Complaints form’
2
, (see
Appendix 3), and submit it to the
Dean

of School/
Head of
Unit or
to the Complaints Officer, who will forward it on to the
appropriate person.


6.2.2

You
must

clearly outline the nature and grounds of the complaint
and what outcome is sought; this
must

be received within
10

working days of the failure to resolve the issues informally.


6.2.3

The
Dean

of School/
Head of
Unit or Complaints Officer
will

acknowledge receipt of your formal complaint within
5

working
days and then arrange for an investigation to be undertaken

by
an investigating officer
; this may involve holding meetings and
interviews with relevant people. Written notes of such meetings
wi
ll

be made.




1

Appendix 2 provides contact det
ails of all
Cardiff Metropolitan University

Heads of School and Unit,
and the Complaints Officer.

2

Complaints forms can be found at each campus reception desk. Alternatively the form may be
completed on line at:
http://www.uwic.ac.uk/complaints.



7


6.2.4

Should the complaint be against the
Dean

of School/
Head of
Unit, it will be dealt with directly at Stage 2 of the Procedure.


6.2.5

The investigation
will

be completed as quickly as possible and
you and any other person(s) involved will
normally

be
informed
of the outcome by the
Dean

of School/
Head of
Unit or the
Complaints Officer within
30

working days. If your complaint is
likely to take
longer to investigate, then
all parties involved

will
be kept informed of progress.


6.2.6

If your complaint is uph
eld, then you will be i
nformed of any
action which Cardiff Metropolitan University

intends to take, for
example

a formal apology, a statement on how systems will be
changed in the future or a review of procedures.


6.2.7

When the investigation is concluded, the
Investigating Officer

will submit a report of the enquiry to the Complaints Officer for
monitoring purposes (as per the format provided in Appendix 4).





6.3
Formal Procedure


Stage 2



6. 3.1

If

you remain dissatisfied with the response from Stage 1 of the
Formal Procedure, you may request that the outcome be
reviewed by an investigator
at Stage 2,
who will be independent
of the School or Unit involved in the complaint; n
ormally this is a
senior
University

manager. In order to initiate this process you
must

submit details in writing to the Complaints Officer

within
10

working days from the date of notification of the outcome of
Stage 1, reiterating the grounds for the complaint
,

the desired
outco
mes and outlining why the decision of Stage 1 is not
satisfactory to yourself.


6.3.2

Taking into account the substance of the complaint and previous
attempts at resolution, the situation will normally be reviewed by
the Complaints Officer or her/his nominee
(
t
he independent
investigator
)

and you
will

be notified within
5

working days
whether the investigation is to proceed.


6.3.3

The independent investigator will have access to all prior
correspondence and the results of the Stage 1 investigation.
S/he may wish to
meet with you and any other parties involved,
in order to

reach a decision.


6.3.4

The independent investigator’s enquiry should be completed
and the decisions/recommendations communicated to you and
a
ll

other parties involved within
30
working days of the start of
the investigation.
W
here appropriate,
you will also be informed

8

of any action which the University

intends to take.

If the review
is expected to take longer you will be kept informed of progress.



6.4

Formal Procedure
-

St
age 3


6.4.1

If the independent investigator determines that Stage 3 of the
procedure is warranted and you agree or if you have good
reason to be dissatisfied with the response from Stage 2, then
your complaint may be considered by a Complaints Panel. In
order to init
iate this process, you
must

submit evidence in writing
to the Complaints Officer

within
10

working days from the date
of notification of the outcome of Stage 2, reiterating the grounds
for the complaint and the desired outcomes and outlining why
the decisi
on of Stage 2 is not satisfactory to yourself. You
must

request that Stage 3 be enacted within
10

working days from the
receipt of your letter.


6.4.2

Taking into account the substance of the complaint and previous
attempts at resolution, the situation will nor
mally be reviewed by
the Complaints Officer or the
Pro Vice Chancellor (Operations)

and you should be notified within
5

working days whether a
Panel is to be constituted.


6.4.3

The Complaints Panel will normally be convened within
30

working days after a

request for Stage 3 is accepted. The
Pro
Vice Chancellor (Operations)

will co
-
ordinate the establishment
of the Panel and keep you and all parties informed of the date of
the hearing, the constitution of the Panel and the procedures to
be followed.


7.0

Guidelines on the Conduct of a Complaints Panel



7.1

The purpose of the Complaints Panel is to hear the complaint
and the response. Taking into account previous attempts to
resolve issues and satisfy the complainant, the Panel shall
determine whether the comp
laint is justified and whether the
School/Unit/individual has provided a reasonable response
and/or resolution.


7.2

Each Complaints Panel will normally have four members and be
constituted as follows:




On
e member of the Vice
-
Chancellor
’s Board (VC
B) who will
chair the committee.



At least one member drawn from the Management
Board
.



One staff or student member nominated by a relevant Union,
who has not been involved in advi
sing the complainant
during the
procedure and who does not have prior
knowledge of the cas
e.



One external member with experience in this area.


9


7.3


When making a formal complaint you and the person(s) being
complained about may be accompanied at any time by a friend,
representative or colleague, but not by a solicitor or barrister acting
in a prof
essional capacity,
unless

this is agreed by both parties. If
you ar
e considering legal action, Cardiff Metropolitan University

will
take suitable steps to ensure that its legal position is fully protected.


7.4

The Order of Panel Proceedings will be as
follows:




Chair to introduce all present.



Chair to explain the purpose of the complaint hearing.



Chair to reference letter and written statements by
complainant and School/Unit/individual.



A4 written synopsis summarising the main points of
their case distr
ibuted by both parties (optional).



Complainant or representative makes oral
presentation



Opportunity to question complainant’s presentation by
Panel members and School/Unit/individual.



School/Unit makes presentation



Opportunity to question School/Unit/in
dividual by
Panel and complainant (or representation).



Complainant and/or representative summarises. No
new evidence can be presented as this time.



School/Unit/individual summarises. No new evidence
can be presented at this time.



Adjournment


Chair and Pa
nel to consider the
submission in private.


7.5

Either side may be required to be available to provide further
information or clarification of matters to the panel.


7.6

The Panel will decide the outcome. In the event of a split
decision the Chair will
have a casting vote.


7.7

Witnesses are not permitted to appear at the Hearing. However,
the complainant and the School/Unit/individual are permitted to
provide written witness statements in advance of the Panel
hearing, which will be considered with the p
revious
documentation.


7.8

The Panel may decide to:
-




uphold the complaint and make recommendations t
o the
School/Unit or any of Cardiff Metropolitan University
’s
Committees, as appropriate:


10



dismiss the complaint and determine that the
School/Unit/indi
vidual has acted reasonably during the
informal and formal process of the Complaints Procedure;



consider that there have been faults on both sides and
propose a compromise agreement between the parties
involved.


7.9

The decisions/recommendations of the Compla
ints Panel will be
communicated to you and the relevant School/Unit/individual
within
10

working days. Where the Panel reserves its decision,
you will be informed of the expected date on which its
decisions/recommendations will be made.



8.0

Conclusion


8.1

Stage 3 completes the internal procedures for complaints. You
will be finally and promptly issued with a Completion of
Procedures letter in accordance with the guidance published by
the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). This letter will:
a)
confirm that all internal procedures have been exhausted; b)
list the issues involved and dealt with and their outcome; and c)
inform you of your right to take your complaint further to an
external adjudicator.


8.2

If you are registered as a student or
are a parent or guardian
acting on behalf of a student and you are still dissatisfied
,

you
can

take your case to the OIA. The University

will provide you
with information about the OIA and how to contact them. Their
website address is:
www.oiahe.org.uk



9. 0

Monitoring and Review



The Complaints Procedure will be reviewed annually, usually
before the beginning of the next academic year. This is the
responsibility of the Complaints Officer.


Monitoring of the proces
s is undertaken by:




maintaining a complete tracking system and record of each
complaint;



providing an annual report, review and

analysis of complaints
for Cardiff Metropolitan University
’s
Academic Board
;



feeding back details of actions and outcomes to re
levant
Schools and Units;



following up complaints that have been resolved with a
questionnaire to complainants about the effectiveness of the
system and, where relevant, reporting on action taken;



ensuring all staff responsible for co
-
ordinating complaints

undertake staff development in the system.


11



establishing a rigorous and effective system of dealing with
proven culpability by one or more parties and feeding back to
the complainant the course of action that has been taken by
requiring a report from the
Dean

of School/
Head of
Unit

involved on what has been achieved and implemented to
prevent the same situation happening again.

Contact details

Complaints Officer

Office of the Director of Student and Registry Services

Llandaff Campus

Western Avenue

Cardiff

CF5 2YB

Tel: 029 20205810

Appendix 1


12

Complaints Procedure summary: Internal Version

Has the complainant
approached the person/
School/Unit directly
responsible for the
situation?
Will / Has the
complainant contacted
the Complaints Officer?

Within 10 working days of stage 2 outcome, complainant
must submit written details outlining their dissatisfaction to
the Complaints Officer*, and request that stage 3 be enacted.
(including all correspondence, information and any
new evidence)

A Complaints Panel will normally be convened within 30
working days after a stage 3 request is accepted.

The Complaints Officer will convene the panel and
communicate details and procedure to all parties

Outcome will be communicated to all parties within 10
working days.
Approached informally
Satisfied with
response?
Contacted the
Complaints Officer*
informally
Satisfied with
response?
C
o
m
p
l
a
i
n
t

R
e
s
o
l
v
e
d
Formal Stages
ref procedure 6.2 - 6.4
Informal Stages
ref: Procedure 6.1
H
e
a
d

o
f

S
c
h
o
o
l
/
U
n
i
t

t
o

s
u
b
m
i
t

a
n

o
u
t
c
o
m
e

r
e
p
o
r
t

t
o
C
o
m
p
l
a
i
n
t
s

O
f
f
i
c
e
r

Within 10 working days of stage 1 outcome,
complainant should submit written details
outlining dissatisfaction to the
Complaints Officer
(including all correspondence, information and any
new evidence)

An independent investigator will be appointed and
complainant notified within 5 working days that
the investigation is to proceed.

Outcome will be communicated to complainant
within 30 working days from the start of
investigation
Stage 2
Satisfied with the investigation and response to
complaint?

Complete form/letter, send to the Complaints
Officer* who should refer to the appropriate Head
of School/Unit.

Head S/U to write to complainant, acknowledging
receipt of complaint, within 5 working days.

He/she will investigate complaint and respond to
the complainant within 30 working days
Stage 1
Complainant satisfied with the investigation and
response to complaint?
Stage 3
Complaints Panel
ref procedure 7.0
OR
NO
YES
NO
NO
YES
YES
YES
NO
YES
YES
NO
* See Appendix 2 for a list of contact details
Referral by
investigator
(6.4.1)
NO
YES
YES
If you are still not satisfied you may
take the case to:

The Office of
Independent
Adjudicator (OIA) -
Students

Local Ombudsman -
Staff / Public
UWIC will provide you with
information about the OIA/Local
Ombudsman, and how to contact
them.


13

Appendix 1.1

Complaints procedure summary: Public Version


Contact relevant person, School or
Unit and resolve informally
(Normally within 10 working days)
UWIC would always wish to resolve any issue swiftly, and professionally.
This is usually best achieved through immediate and direct contact with the
individual or School/Unit involved.
TIP
Campus Receptionists can
help you in contacting
relevant person.
FEEDBACK
You should receive
acknowledgement within 5 working
days, and a full response within 20
working days.
If you are unhappy with the
response given, you may formalise
your complaint by completing
UWIC’s ‘Complaints’ form
(within 10 working days of
response)
TIP
The ‘Complaints’ form is
available at Campus
Reception desks or on
UWIC’s web at:
http:\\www.uwic.ac.uk\
complaints
FEEDBACK
You should receive
acknowledgement within 5 working
days, and a full response within 30
working days.
If you remain dissatisfied with the
response given, you should write
detailing why the outcome is not
satisfactory.
(within 10 working days of
response)
FEEDBACK
You should receive
acknowledgement within 5 working
days, and a full response within 30
working days.
TIP
Stage 2 is considered by an
independent investigator.
Details of this process will
be included in the response
sent to you under stage 1
Stage 1
Stage 2
If you remain dissatisfied with the
response given, you should write
detailing why the outcome is not
satisfactory.
(within 10 working days of
response)
Stage 3
Independent Investigator
may determine that
complaint should be
considered by UWIC’s
‘Complaints Panel’
TIP
The ‘Complaints Panel’ will
be convened within 30
working days after a request
for Stage 3 is accepted.
Details of this process will
be included in the response
sent to you under stage 2
If you are still not satisfied you may
take the case to:

The Office of
Independent
Adjudicator (OIA) -
Students

Local Ombudsman -
Staff / Public
UWIC will provide you with
information about the OIA/Local
Ombudsman, and how to contact
them.


14




Appendix 2

Contact Details


Cardiff Metropolitan
University

Complaints Officer:
Room
A003, Academic Registry

Western Avenue,
Llandaff,
Cardiff, CF5 2YB





Email: complaints@uwic.ac.uk





Tel: 029 20416305

School / Unit

Head of School/Unit


Cardiff
School

of Health
Sciences

Prof A Peters


Cardiff School of
Management


Prof. D Brooksbank



Cardiff School of Art &
Design

Prof
. G. Kavanagh


Cardiff School
of
Education

Mr P. Thomas


Cardiff
School

of Sport,

Mr D. Cobner


Academic Registry

Mr R. Cummings


Student Recruitment

Mrs L. Griffin


Communications &
Marketing

Mr Andrew Walker


Conference Services

Ms. C. Brockway


Estates
and Facilities

Mr D
.

Benson


Finance Department


Mr M. Warren


Health & Safety

Mr. C. Deacy


Human Resources


Mr J. Barrow


Information
Services

Mr S. Cullinan


Library Services

Mr P. Riley


Learning & Teaching
Support Unit


Dr. C. Connor


Purchasing


Mr P. Standfast


Residences

Mrs S. Spencer


Research and
PDR

TBC


Sports Facilities

Mr O. Rodgers


Strategy Development
Office


Mr D. Price


Student
Services


Mr R Cummings


Students' Union


Mr M. Davies


Vice
-
Chancellor
’s

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15

Appendix 3

Cardiff Metropolitan University

-

Complaint Form

Your Details

Student Staff Visitor Service Provider Other (please state)


Ymwelydd Darparwr Arall

(Nodwch) _______________


Gwasanaeth

Name/Enw: Date:

Address/Cyreiriad:



Tel No./Rhif ffon:

email/cyreieriad ebost:

Nature of complaint (Please continue overleaf if necessary):


Type/Math:

Service Standard Premises Facilities Other (please State)

Safon Gwasanaeth


Adeiladau Cyfleusterau Arall (Nodw
ch)________________


Details/Manylion:









Please state actions taken to resolve informally, before making complaint (including
dates):




Outcome Sought (it is important that you complete this section as failure to do so
may result in a delay in
dealing with your complaint)

Ateb I’r gwyn (mae’n bwsig eich bod yn llenwl’r adran hon, mae’n bosib bydd peidio a
gwneud hyn yn perl oedl wrth ddello gyda’ch cwyn)




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M慥 rtfC y渠nmrwym敤ig f a摥摤f yr f慩th dymr慥g

1993 ac wedi mabwysiadu’r
egwyddor’r o drin y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg yn gyfartal. O ganlyniad I hyn a allech
nodi isod a hoffech, lle bo’n bosib, ohebiaeth a gwbodaeth bellach drwy’r.


Welsh/Gymraeg or bilingually/neu’n ddwy
ieit桯朠



o散eiv敤 批W a慴aW

A捫湯wl敤g敤 批W a慴攺

m慳獥搠for
i湶敳瑩eati潮 批W a慴攺


ml敡獥⁲整er渠捯m灬整敤 f潲m t漺

C潭灬慩湴猠lffi捥c

lffic攠ef t桥 air散瑯r of pt畤e湴n慮d o敧istry p敲ei捥猬

C慲摩ff
M整e潰潬it慮 r湩v敲獩瑹
I tester渠䅶敮略I Car摩ff C䘵 ㉙B


16

Appendix 4


GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A REPORT ON COMPLETION OF A FORMAL
STAGE OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE


1.

Purpose of the Report


2.

The Nature of the Complaint


3.

Background/Context, including outcomes of any previous Stages


4.

The Evidence reviewed


5.

Details of
the Complaint and Investigator’s findings in relation to each
issue/aspect


6.

Conclusion and Recommendations