Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

Dorset Community Foundation (DCF) is committed to ensuring we have effective and transparent procedures for the fair and prompt handling of complaints. Complaints need to be properly identified,  investigated, and resolved appropriately.  

Handling complaints fairly and promptly will not only improve the experience of grant applicants, donors and other stakeholders, but can contribute to the success of our foundation, as we learn valuable lessons to improve the services we provide. 

This document will be reviewed every three years. 

Complaints can also be made to the charity commission and other relevant regulatory bodies. For more information see the charity commission website at 


 Anyone can make a complaint and we are committed to making sure all complaints are identified and resolved. You should not experience any barriers to making a complaint.  

 This policy applies to any complaint:

  • Raised by, or on behalf of grant recipients whether groups of individuals* 
  • Raised by, or on behalf of those who have donated to DCF including DCF fundholders, whether individuals, families, businesses, companies or statutory sources 
  • Raised by, or on behalf of those who work in partnership with DCF to support the delivery of funding programmes and the promotion of grant-making services, including DCF trustees, patrons, ambassadors and other volunteers 
  • Any other persons who have had any direct contact with DCF

*Please note, grant recipients are not able to appeal or make formal complaints regarding the outcome of a grant application as the decision of our grant panels or donors is final. However, complaints regarding any aspect of our grant-making process, communications or dealing with staff, will be dealt with according to this policy. 

Not covered by this policy: Complaints raised by DCF trustees, staff or volunteers will be dealt with in accordance with internal HR procedures and in line with staff employment contracts. 


 This policy sets out: 

  • Who you should contact with your complaint 
  • How to make your complaint
  • How your complaint will be handled by DCF 

 Complaints process 

Making a complaint

Complaints can be made in writing (e.g. by letter, email or via our website) or orally (e.g. over the phone or in a meeting).  

All staff employed or contracted by DCF are able to deal with complaints. Anyone who has a complaint is encouraged to raise this in the first instance informally with the member of staff concerned or with any other member of staff, who will forward the details of the complaint to the relevant member of staff.  

Alternatively, complaints can be made in writing to the DCF Director, Grant Robson.  

Email: Address: Dorset Community Foundation, The Spire, High Street, Poole, BH15 1DF. 

In all cases, complaints will be reported to the DCF Director, and all conversations, correspondence and actions will be recorded securely and confidentially. Actions to rectify processes or conversations of lessons learned following root cause analysis of the complaint will take place with all relevant staff. Details of complaints are also shared with the DCF Board of Trustees. 

Responding to your complaint 

DCF aims to resolve your complaints within 8 weeks. This starts from the date your complaint is received anywhere in the organisation.   

Informal Resolution: Complaints can be resolved informally within five business days of receipt of the complaint by the member of staff dealing with the complaint. You will be provided with a written or oral response within 7 business days of the receipt of the complaint. The complaint can only be considered as resolved informally if you confirm your acceptance of the proposed resolution.  

Acknowledgement: If an informal resolution cannot be reached, you will receive formal acknowledgement of the complaint in writing within 7 business days of the complaint being made.  

Investigation: An investigation into your complaint will take place in accordance with DCF policy requirements, and you should be kept reasonably informed about the progress of your complaint. If the investigation into the complaint takes longer than 2 weeks, you will be informed, in writing, that the investigation is ongoing.  

Final Response: A final response letter will be issued in writing within eight weeks of receipt of the complaint, detailing the complaint, the investigation into the complaint, whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reason for our decision and any action to be taken.   

Complaints about the DCF Director 

If the complaint involves the DCF Director, or you are dissatisfied with the final response from the Director, you may wish to contact the DCF Vice-Chair of Trustees.  

The Vice-Chair will acknowledge receipt of the letter within ten working days. 

An investigation will be carried out by the Vice-Chair or another member of the Board acting on their behalf. 

The Vice-Chair will send a final response letter within eight weeks of receiving the complaint.  


Details of your complaint will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and the information will remain confidential to staff and trustees within Dorset Community Foundation 

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