Complaints Procedure

Complaints procedure flowchart


Although Sunlight always strives to provide the very best levels of support and service, at some time however, a client, our partner agencies or a member of the public may have a grievance which s/he feels has not been dealt with satisfactorily. This procedure ensures that anyone who is not happy with the service provided to them by Sunlight can use the Complaints Procedure.  

The staff and volunteers of Sunlight Development Trust always aim to provide its services efficiently and to as high a standard as possible. We positively encourage the active participation of local communities in the development and sustainability of the services on offer and we believe that through this approach, on-going dialogue is created which reduces the potential for more formal complaints. 

We value openness and honesty and your opinions, comments and/or suggestions, which could help us to improve services, are always very welcome. Sometimes however we may get things wrong and you have the right to make a complaint.

Our policy is to:

  • provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
  • publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
  • make sure everyone at Sunlight knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
  • make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired and
  • gather information which helps us to improve what we do

Sunlight will ensure than any persons making a complaint will be treated fairly and without prejudice of any kind, and that the matter will receive investigation within the time limits laid down in the complaints procedure. 

A Complaints Flowchart accompanying this procedure gives advice on the different stages and what actions to take.

Informal Stage

  • In the first instance the complainant should be encouraged to discuss it fully with a member of Sunlight Trust’s staff who should, having sought permission, make full notes of the circumstances of the complaint.  
  • If it is possible the matter should be dealt with by Sunlight Trust’s staff within 7 working days of receiving the complaint, and the complainant notified of the outcome.  
  • Details must be sent to the Centre Manager for insertion in the Complaints Book 
  • The complaint should be raised and discussed at the next Board meeting if appropriate.

Formal Complaint (1
st Stage)

If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome at the informal stage they should be referred to the Centre Manager. Please ensure any envelopes are marked “private and confidential”.

  • Sunlight Trust’s staff will inform the Centre Manager of the actions taken upon receipt of the original complaint and the outcome by completing a 1st Stage Formal Complaints Form (see below) 
  • The Centre Manager will then, if possible, meet with the complainant, advise if further action should be taken and ensure the complainant is kept fully informed of progress and outcome.
  • The Centre Manager will give written confirmation within 7 working days of the outcome to the complainant which will always include notice of the complainant’s right to pursue the complaint to the second Formal stage if they are unhappy with the outcome. 

Download and fill out the complaints procedure 1st stage form here:  Complaints procedure 1st Stage

Formal Complaint (2
nd Stage)

Complainants who are unhappy with the 1st stage outcome of a formal complaint can appeal to the CEO within 7 working days, who will be provided with all the related documents. The complainant must make clear their original complaint and why they are unhappy with the response given by the Centre Manager. An outcome for a 2nd stage complaint will be given to the complainant and all parties involved in writing within 14 working days of receipt. The reasons for the decision will be outlined together with any action recommended. The complainant will always be advised of their next steps if they remain unhappy with the outcome.

Any complainant needing support to make a complaint or understand the outcome will be offered that support, preferably through a third-party advice organisation (e.g. CAB).

If there is any unavoidable delay to reaching an outcome the complainant will be advised in writing, of the reason for the delay and the target date for an outcome agreed with them.

All formal complaints will be recorded, reviewed, and resolved and summarised at Board meetings.

Appeal to Board (Final Stage)

If you still feel unhappy you can complain to the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Sunlight Trust who will look closely at the issue/s raised in your complaint, what has been done about them and the reasons for your continuing concerns.

This 2nd stage hearing will be dealt with by the Board of Trustees who will write with their decision within 14 working days. 

  • Appeal in writing to the Board of Sunlight through the Chairman, who will appoint a sub-committee to investigate.  
  • The complainant will be entitled to attend the hearing accompanied by a representative if they wish.  
  • The decision of the Board will be notified to the complainant within 48 hours of the appeal meeting.

Chair of the Board of Trustees

c/o Sunlight Development Trust
Sunlight Centre
105, Richmond Road
Gillingham, Kent.

Charity Commission 

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Chair of the Board of Trustees you can write to the Charity Commission, quoting the charity number of Sunlight Development Trust, which is 1126266, in your letter to them. 

Their address is;

Charity Commission Direct
PO Box 1227
L69 3UG