Unreasonable Complaints Policy

Version

1.2 Draft

Review Date

December 2019

 Review Cycle

 Biennially 

 Review Due

  December 2021

 Author / Owner

 

Geoff Cherrill - Headteacher 

Winchelsea School is committed to dealing with all complaints in a consistent, fair and impartial manner and to providing a high quality service to those who complain. We will not normally limit the contact complainants have with the school. However, we do not expect our staff to tolerate unacceptable behaviour and will take action to protect staff from such behaviour, including that which is abusive, offensive or threatening. 

Winchelsea School defines unreasonable complainants as those who, because of the frequency or nature of their contacts with the school, hinder our consideration of their or other people’s complaints.

 A complaint may be regarded as unreasonable when the person making the complaint:

  • refuses to articulate their complaint or specify the grounds of a complaint or the outcomes sought by raising the complaint, despite offers of assistance;
  • refuses to co-operate with the complaints investigation process while still wishing their complaint to be resolved;
  • refuses to accept that certain issues are not within the scope of a complaints procedure;
  • insists on the complaint being dealt with in ways which are incompatible with the adopted complaints procedure or with good practice;
  • introduces trivial or irrelevant information which the complainant expects to be taken into account and commented on, or raises large numbers of detailed but unimportant questions, and insists they are fully answered, often immediately and to their own timescales;
  • makes unjustified complaints about staff who are trying to deal with the issues, and seeks to have them replaced;
  • changes the basis of the complaint as the investigation proceeds;
  • repeatedly makes the same complaint (despite previous investigations or responses concluding that the complaint is groundless or has been addressed);
  • refuses to accept the findings of the investigation into that complaint where the school’s complaint procedure has been fully and properly implemented and completed including referral to the Department for Education;
  • seeks an unrealistic outcome, and makes excessive demands on school time by frequent, lengthy, complicated and stressful contact with staff regarding the complaint in person, in writing, by e-mail and by telephone while the complaint is being dealt with.

A complaint may also be considered unreasonable if the person making the complaint does so either face-to-face, by telephone or in writing or electronically:

  • maliciously;
  • aggressively;
  • using threats, intimidation or violence;
  • using abusive, offensive or discriminatory language;
  • knowing it to be false;
  • using falsified information, and
  • publishing unacceptable information in a variety of media such as in social media, other public forums or newspapers.

Complainants should limit the numbers of communications with a school while a complaint is being progressed. It is not helpful if repeated correspondence is sent (either by letter, phone, email or text) as it could delay an outcome being reached. 

Whenever possible, the Headteacher or Chair of Governors will discuss any concerns with the complainant informally before applying an ‘unreasonable’ marking. 

If the behaviour continues, the Headteacher will write to the complainant explaining that their behaviour is considered unreasonable and enclosing a copy of the school’s policy.  Details of the behaviours which are considered unreasonable will be specified and the complainant will be requested to change these. 

 Where complainants excessively contact Winchelsea School causing a significant level of disruption, we may specify methods of communication and limit the number of contacts in a communication plan. This will usually be reviewed after 6 months. 

In response to any serious incident of aggression or violence, we will immediately inform the police and communicate our actions in writing. This may include barring an individual from the school.

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