SARI is committed to providing a quality service and working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our service users, staff, supporters and all other stakeholders, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.

Therefore, we aim to ensure that:

  • Making a complaint is as easy as possible.
  • We deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially.
  • We respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken.
  • We learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedure.

What is a complaint?

For the purpose of this policy defines a complaint as “any expression of dissatisfaction with SARI’s service, staff, volunteer or Trustee that related to SARI and that requires a response.”

Complaints can be made either informally or formally, both of which are explained as follows:

informal complaint

We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly. Our aims are to:

  • Resolve informal concerns quickly;
  • Keep matters low-key;
  • Enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred.

An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved and so any complaint relating to your treatment from a staff member or volunteer, should be raised with the member of staff or volunteer you are unhappy with in the first instance. If concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.

formal complaint

As expressed above, if the issue is not able to be resolved informally, you are encouraged to use the formal process which is set out under the heading titled “SARI formal complaints’ procedure”.

How to make a complaint

Please download and fill out our Complaint Form. When making a complaint include as much relevant information as possible. Please also indicate what action you would like us to take as a result of your complaint. If you are unsure of who to send your complaint to at any stage please email

An explanation will be provided in the rare event a complaint is not opened, for example, if a case does not fit the definition of a formal complaint as stated above or is found to be abusive or vexatious.

who handles complaints?

As per the definition, every member of SARI is and must be accountable to those whom we provide a service for. Table 1 below sets out who will handle a formal complaint in different service areas and at the various stages:

Casework relatedSARI staff member or volunteerStage 1: Supervisor
Stage 2: Assistant Director
Stage 3: Director (Strategic)
Non-casework relatedSARI staff member or volunteerStage 1: Supervisor
Stage 2: Director (Finance & HR)
Stage 3: A nominated Trustee
Governance (our Board of Trustees)SARI TrusteeSubgroup comprising the Chair with two nominated Trustees
Chair of TrusteesSubgroup comprising three nominated Trustees


Complaints received at all stages will be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days of receipt and SARI will endeavor to complete and deliver the investigation result within 20 working days.

SARI’s aim is to resolve all matters within the turnaround time specified, however, inevitably some issues will be more complex and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated. We will always write to you if this is the case.

Once a complaint is found upheld or not at any stage of the process, the individual has 6 weeks to take further action if it is felt the resolution is unsatisfactory or to appeal the judgement. If no action is taken and the case remains dormant after the deadline has elapsed the case will be closed and archived.

SARI’s formal complaints procedure

stage 1

If you have been unable to resolve your complaint informally, then you should write to the staff member’s or volunteer’s supervisor who will handle the complaint. if you are unsure of who to send your complaint to at any stage, please email

The supervisor handling the complaint will review your comments and seek feedback from the staff member and any relevant witnesses concerned and they will write to you to explain the outcome of your complaint.

stage 2

If, at the end of Stage One, you are not satisfied with the response you have received, you can ask for the complaint to be escalated to the next level which is a first appeal stage. You will be required to give a reason as to why you feel unhappy about Stage One.

Depending on the type of the complaint (as defined in Table 1), Stage Two will be managed either by SARI’s Services Manager or the Finance & HR Director, who will review the original complaint, the investigation conducted to date and the response received. They may seek further information from other witnesses and may ask you to attend a meeting to further explain your concerns and what you would like to happen next.

They will then write to you to with their decision about whether the complaint is upheld.

stage 3

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your appeal at Stage Two, you can ask for the matter to be escalated further to Stage 3. You will be required to state why you feel dissatisfied with the process and what you would like to happen next.

Depending on the nature of the complaint, Stage 3 (the final appeal stage) will be considered by SARI’s Strategic Director or by a nominated member of the Board of Trustees. They will review all of the information gathered so far and decide whether to uphold the appeal. Their decision will be final.

if you remain dissatisfied

If the situation cannot be resolved formally through SARI’s complaints procedures, then you have the right to pursue your complaint independently and/or write to the Charity Commission.

what happens if your complaint is upheld?

Where there is evidence that misconduct has occurred, prompt and corrective action will be taken, including training, and/or disciplinary action where appropriate. This will be managed confidentially within SARI.


All complaints are handled in complete confidentiality, however, to process a complaint SARI will need to hold personal data about the complainant, which the individual chooses to provide. It may not be possible to preserve confidentiality in some circumstances, for example, where relevant legislation needs to be applied or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.

All personal details will be handled in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018. Third parties will only be included in the resolution of confidential complaints on a case-by-case basis and with the agreement of the complainant.

For detailed information on how your personal data is safeguarded by SARI please view our privacy policy.

recording and monitoring of complaints

SARI will be responsible for the recording and monitoring of complaints. A record of all complaints is kept in our complaints file in a locked cabinet. The Board of Trustees will be informed of the outcome of all complaints.

As part of SARI’s learning process, the Board of Trustees will analyse and review complaints on a yearly basis to consider any trends in the complaints made and will review the policies and procedures as appropriate.

Our Funding Partners