Amida Trust Complaints Procedure
The Amida Trust strives to work to the very highest standards of professionalism. However, there may be occasions when you feel dissatisfied with the service you have received from us, or from one of our affiliates, or those who are associated with our work.
The Amida Trust and its Trustees view any complaint as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that has made the complaint.
Our policy is to:
- provide a fair complaints procedure that 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 that our Trustees and affiliates know what to do if a complaint is received;
- make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a fair, transparent and timely way;
- make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired;
- gather information which helps us to improve what we do in the future.
This document describes the complaints procedure that applies to the Amida Trust. It also applies to the Amida Order and Bright Earth Temple, who are referred to in this document as our “affiliates”.
The difference between a concern and a complaint
A concern may be defined as “an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for which reassurances are sought”. A complaint may be defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction however made, whether justified or not, about actions taken or a lack of action”. Concerns and complaints may arise about the workings of the Amida Trust and its affiliates. In this document, concerns and complaints are referred to as “complaints”.
It is in everyone’s interest that complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. Many issues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of this complaints procedure. However, the Amida Trust recognises that there are occasions when people would like to raise their concerns formally.
Who can complain?
Any person or organisation that has a legitimate interest in the operations of the Amida Trust and its affiliates can complain. You, or someone acting with your written consent, can make a complaint about the actions or decisions of the Amida Trust or its affiliates. Complaints can also be made about the actions or decisions of someone acting on behalf of the Amida Trust and its affiliates that affect you as a member, for example a Buddhist teacher or group leader. A complaint can be made in writing, by email or letter. They may also be made by a third party acting on behalf of a complainant, as long as they have appropriate consent to do so.
We will not normally investigate anonymous complaints. If anonymous complaints are made, the Local and/or Amida Trust Complaints Officer will determine whether the complaint warrants an investigation.
What is the time limit for making a complaint?
You should normally complain within three months of the event(s) concerned, or within three months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about.
Your complaint will be acknowledged within five working days and we expect to respond more fully within ten working days.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively. During the investigation, we will inform only those who need to know about the complaint, and follow all relevant data protection requirements.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Amida Trust.
This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.
In appropriate cases we may suggest the involvement of a trusted third party to help resolve any disagreement.
If your complaint is regarding a safeguarding issue, we ask you to follow a different procedure to that documented below. For further information, please see this page.
Stages of the Complaints Procedure
The three stages of our complaints procedure are described below.
Stage 1: Although unusual, a complaint is most likely to result from an interaction with one of the Amida Trust’s affiliates. This is because our affiliates provide services to the community, and are directly involved with community members and the general public on a day-to-day basis.
Therefore, in the first instance, you should contact the Local Complaints Officer at the Amida Trust affiliate where you wish to complain. Their details are given below.
Affiliate: Bright Earth Temple
- Local Complaints Officer: Satya Robyn
- Email: email@example.com
- Address: Local Complaints Officer, Bright Earth Buddhist Temple, 34 Worcester Road, Malvern WR14 4AA
It is likely that the vast majority of complaints will be resolved at this stage by the Local Complaints Officer.
If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction in Stage 1, or is of a personal nature involving the Local Complaints Officer, or if it refers to the Amida Trust, please move directly to Stage 2.
Stage 2: If you are not satisfied with the response from the Local Complaints Officer at Stage 1, or you have been referred directly from Stage 1, you should contact the Amida Trust Complaints Officer. Their details are given below.
- Amida Trust Complaints Officer: John Croxon
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: Amida Trust Complaints Officer, Bright Earth Buddhist Temple, 34 Worcester Road, Malvern WR14 4AA
If you are not satisfied with the response from the Amida Trust Complaints Officer at Stage 2, or if your complaint is of a personal nature involving the Amida Trust Complaints Officer, please move directly to Stage 3.
Stage 3: If you are not satisfied with the response from Stage 2 and wish to appeal, or you have been referred directly from Stage 2, you should raise your complaint with the Chair of Trustees. The Chair will review the situation, taking into account all the information received and any previous action taken by the Amida Trust and its affiliates, consult other Trustees, and make a considered response as soon as reasonably practicable but within twenty working days from the commencement of this stage. In most cases, Stage 3 will be regarded as an appeal, and the decision of the Chair and Trustees at this stage will be final.
Amida Trust Chair of Trustees:
- Name: Mark Lodge
- Email: email@example.com
- Address: Chair of Trustees, Bright Earth Buddhist Temple, 34 Worcester Road, Malvern WR14 4AA
Withdrawal of a Complaint
If a complainant wants to withdraw their complaint, we will ask them to confirm this in writing.
Roles and Responsibilities
The complainant will receive a more effective response to the complaint if they:
- explain the complaint in full as early as possible;
- co-operate with Amida Trust in seeking a solution to the complaint;
- respond promptly to requests for information, meetings or in agreeing the details of the complaint;
- ask for assistance as needed;
- treat all those involved in the complaint with respect;
- refrain from publicising the details of their complaint (for example, on social media) and respect the confidentiality of everyone involved in the complaints procedure.
Local Complaints Officer and Amida Trust Complaints Officer
The Complaints Officer should:
- identify and report potential conflicts of interest that may arise following the receipt of a complaint;
- ensure that the complainant is fully updated at each stage of the procedure;
- liaise with different people, including the Trustees, as appropriate to ensure the smooth running of the complaints procedure;
- be aware of issues regarding the sharing of third party information and the need for additional support (this may be needed when making a complaint involves a child or vulnerable adult);
- keep emails and/or written records;
- inform the complainant of the outcome, in writing and within the timescales previously specified;
- at the same time, inform the Trustees of the outcome of the investigation (the complaint and its progress and/or resolution will be raised as an item at the next meeting of the Trustees).
Chair of Trustees
The Chair of Trustees is responsible for complaints that are not satisfactorily resolved in the first two stages of the complaints procedure. They may decide to contact a third-party to mediate if this is deemed necessary, or involve other parties to assist with or undertake the investigation, for example if the Amida Trust Complaints Officer or Chair of Trustees is the subject of a complaint.