1. Introduction

At Oak National Academy Limited (referred to as Oak), we pride ourselves on the quality of the service we provide to all of our users and stakeholders. All colleagues work to provide the best possible experience, whether through the use of our website or working directly with us.

We are sorry if you feel we have not provided you with the level of service you would expect from us.

We welcome complaints; we will always listen and take all complaints very seriously, treating all confidentially. We will always respond as quickly as possible and in a courteous and efficient manner. We will always investigate complaints thoroughly and fairly, giving an open and honest response as soon as possible, in the light of the complexity of the issues involved. We will always take action, where appropriate, and regularly review complaints we receive and what we can learn from them to improve our services.

The purpose of this policy is to provide anyone with a complaint, with:

  • information about how to make a complaint;
  • details of how we will respond to a complaint;
  • details of what a complainant can do if they are unhappy with how we have responded to their complaint, including details of our Ombudsman.

2. Definitions

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, which requires a response from us, relating to an act, an omission, how a decision was made or the standard of service provided. It does not include dissatisfaction with a decision that has a right of appeal, or referral to or review by a tribunal or court of law.

Complaints in respect of how we respond to requests for information under data protection legislation or under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are not covered by the provisions of this policy. Please see our Privacy Policy and Freedom of Information Requests Policy for details of how to make a complaint.

3. Making a complaint

If you wish to make a complaint, please complete the form here or contact our Corporate Compliance Manager:

Email: [email protected]
Address: Oak National Academy, PO Box 520, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 9GW

Please provide us with as much information as possible to help us to investigate your complaint:

Say what the issue is;

  • Provide information on any relevant communication with us about this issue, including, for example, emails, letters, phone calls, including the times and dates of any conversations, and the names of any Oak colleagues you dealt with;
  • Say what you want to happen and how you think we can improve our service;
  • Say how you would prefer us to correspond with you (postal address, email or phone).

We are usually unable to deal with complaints which occurred more than one year prior to you notifying us of that, so please make any complaints with us promptly.

4. Our response

When we receive your complaint, we immediately refer it to an appropriate colleague, who will carry out an investigation.

We will reply, according to your preference, in writing, email or phone, within 15 working days of receipt of your complaint. At that stage, it may not be possible to fully respond to you, as further investigations may be required. If this is the case, we will let you know and tell you what we are doing to deal with your complaint and when you can expect a full reply. We are committed to resolving all complaints as quickly as possible, taking into account the complexity of any matters raised. If your complaint is complex and is likely to take some time to resolve, we will keep you informed of our progress and likely time scales.

When we respond to you, we will inform you how we investigated your complaint and what evidence we considered. We will always acknowledge where we could have done things differently and better and tell you what we will do to avoid the same thing happening again. Equally, if we do not agree with your complaint, we will let you know why.

5. What to do if you are unhappy with our response

Our response to you will include details of what to do next if you think we have not dealt with your complaint properly and we normally ask you to do so within 10 working days of receipt of our response.

In the unlikely event that you need to escalate the complaint, please provide as much detail as possible why you feel we have not dealt with your complaint properly. A member of our senior team will review the handling of your complaint and respond to you within 15 working days (unless they consider further investigations should be carried out - if so, they will inform you of a likely timescale for the resolution of your complaint). They may fully uphold our decision; alternatively they may determine your complaint in a different way. They will explain the reasons for their decision to you.

If you remain unhappy with our response, you can refer your complaint to our Ombudsman, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, here.

6. Persistent complaints

If the same person makes repeated attempts to raise the same complaint after the first complaint has been resolved, this may be regarded as vexatious and outside the scope of this policy.

7. Records of complaints and use of personal data

We will keep records of all complaints we receive, how they are resolved and any action taken by us as a result of the complaint.

The security of personal data is of the utmost importance to us. We retain all personal data in accordance with our Data Protection Policy and Privacy Policy, for the periods specified in our Retention of Records Policy. Copies of these policies can be obtained from the Corporate Compliance Manager.

Normally, we process a range of information when dealing with a complaint, which is likely to include:

  • Name of complainant and their contact details
  • Date the complaint was made
  • Description of the complaint
  • Records of our investigation (if appropriate)
  • Witness statements (if appropriate)
  • Name of Oak colleagues handling the complaint
  • Records of correspondence relating to the complaint
  • Records of decisions made
  • Action taken by Oak as a result of the complaint.

8. Reasonable adjustments and alternative formats

Oak is committed to equal opportunities and our aim is to make this Policy easy to use and accessible to all. We will take reasonable steps to accommodate any reasonable adjustments require to:

  • enable access to this Policy;
  • provide responses to requests in other formats; or
  • provide such assistance as may reasonably be required.

Should a copy of this Policy be required in an alternative format, such as Braille, audio CD or large print, please get in touch using the contact details above.

9. Review

This Policy is subject to review at least annually, or in response to any relevant changes.