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Complaints policy

This page outlines the steps that are involved in making a formal complaint to the Inquiry regarding our interaction with members of the public.

Our Terms of Reference set out the role and purpose of the Inquiry.

Our commitment to you

In all our work and our contacts with members of the public, we aim to maintain excellent standards. The way we respond to your views and suggestions about our performance is an important feature of this commitment. 

We will respond to your complaints effectively and deal with them sensitively, fairly and thoroughly. We will not treat anyone less favourably on the basis of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Scope

We consider a complaint to be an expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of the way in which the Inquiry undertakes its work by a member of the public or their representative who has had direct contact with the Inquiry or has been directly affected by the work complained of.

The Inquiry is a decision making body which is judicial in character. It must act fairly and in accordance with the provisions of the Inquiries Act 2005 and the Inquiry Rules 2006.  Observations on the manner in which the Inquiry has made decisions or disagreement with a decision the Inquiry has made are not complaints falling within the ambit of this policy.

We treat all complaints, including anonymous complaints, seriously and will take action to consider them further, wherever this is appropriate. Generally, we will consider anonymous complaints if there is enough information in the complaint to enable us to make further enquiries. If, however, an anonymous complaint does not provide enough information to enable us to take further action, we may decide not to pursue it further. 

We may decline to deal with complaints that are abusive, persistent correspondence, or complaints where our formal complaints procedure has been exhausted.

This policy does not apply to complaints or feedback about organisations other than the Inquiry, which should be directed to the organisation concerned.

Making a complaint

Who can make a complaint?

If you have had direct contact with the Inquiry, or are directly affected by its work, and are not satisfied, you can make a complaint. We take all complaints seriously and will respond promptly.  

Please read more about how to do this below and write ‘Complaint’ in the subject line if you email us.

If you prefer, you can nominate someone else to make a complaint on your behalf, such as a family member or friend, support group, solicitor or other professional. If you do this, you will need to give permission in writing for the representative to act for you.

What information do I need to provide?

To help us deal with your complaint quickly and efficiently, please give us as much detail as possible about the issue you are unsatisfied with. 

Please also tell us your:

  • Full name
  • Postal address
  • Email address
  • Inquiry reference number (if you have one)
  • Contact details (for you or your representative)
  • Preferred method of contact (letter, email, phone)

If you have already tried to resolve your concerns informally with the Inquiry, please give details of the member of staff who assisted you.

Contact us

We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days of receipt.

 

How the complaints process works

Stage 1

Your complaint will be directed to the relevant responsible manager. They will record your complaint, look into the issues you raise and reply to you within 15 working days of receipt. If it is not possible to complete the investigation and respond within that time, we will write to you giving the date by which we aim to reply.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive at Stage 1, you may refer your complaint to a member of the Solicitor to the Inquiry’s team. Please do this in writing, by email or post. Tell us details of the reasons you are dissatisfied.

A member of the Solicitor to the Inquiry’s team will review your complaint and provide a response within 15 working days of receipt. If it is not possible to complete the investigation and respond within that time, we will write to you giving the date by which we aim to reply.

Stage 3

If you are still dissatisfied following Stages 1 and 2 of the complaints procedure you can refer your complaint to the Solicitor to the Inquiry. Please do this in writing, by email or post, within 21 days of receiving our response. The Solicitor to the Inquiry is responsible for handling and investigating complaints from members of the public and is responsible for considering and deciding the outcome of complaints that reach the final stage of the complaints process.

The Solicitor to the Inquiry will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and provide a full response within 30 days of receipt. If it is not possible to complete the investigation and reply within that time, the Solicitor to the Inquiry will contact you to explain why there is a delay and provide a date by which s/he aims to provide a response.

How long do I have after the event to make a complaint?

Complaints will only be considered if they are received within three calendar months of the matter complained of. 

How will my complaint be handled and what will the outcome be?

We will deal with all complaints sensitively, fairly and confidentially. We will inform you if your complaint has been upheld, either wholly or in part, or not upheld.

If your complaint is justified we will apologise, try wherever possible to put the matter right and take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.

Learning from complaints

We value your feedback to help us learn and make improvements to our work and services. As soon as possible after your complaint has been concluded, your complaint handler will make sure that you and the relevant staff of the Inquiry understand the findings of the investigation and any recommendations made. 

Senior management and the Inquiry Panel regularly review the information gathered from complaints and consider whether any of the Inquiry’s service standards, internal policies and procedures should be updated.

This policy was last updated on 20 August 2020.

Deaf assistance

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and would like help communicating with us, please contact our service partners through their website.

Your privacy and security

All personal or sensitive information that you choose to share with us is securely stored and we only share it with those who need to see it. For more information about how we handle your personal information, please see our privacy notice on our website at www.iicsa.org.uk/privacy

If you are involved in a criminal case connected to what you share with us, we might be asked to reveal information about you, for example by a legal team. We will only do this if you agree, or if we are ordered to by a court of law.

Get in touch

If you wish to ask a question about the Inquiry or if you have information to support our investigations please get in touch:

  • You can call the Inquiry Information line on: 0800 917 1000 Open weekdays 8am-10pm, Saturday 10am-12pm. Calls are free and do not show on your bill.
  • You can share your experience through the Truth Project, either by emailing us at contact@iicsa.org.uk or using our online form.
  • You can write to us via Freepost IICSA INDEPENDENT INQUIRY (no stamp required) We are working hard to ensure you are still able to reach us this way but please be advised that due to the pandemic there may be a delay with postal correspondence.

We aim to respond to all calls, emails and letters within 15 working days, however, it may take longer to respond in busier periods.

Feedback and complaints policy

You can also view and download the PDF version of the Inquiry feedback and complaints policy.

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