Complaints Policy

Policy Statement

This policy provides a means for those with complaints to have them heard, ensures that we investigate and resolve complaints efficiently, consistently and fairly and is designed to foster positive relations between those parties involved in a complaint.

Penshaw View Training welcomes feedback as a means to understand the customer experience and improve, and this includes constructive criticism, made through client questionnaire surveys, assessments or in discussion with staff; we use this vital information towards raising service levels.

We aim to ensure that the great majority of issues can be settled amicably at the first, informal stage in the procedure and work hard to ensure that where experience falls short of our high expectations, we are swift and effective in resolving it, and thus reducing/averting complaints requiring the formal process.

We will respond promptly to verbal and written complaints and will also expect clients to keep to an agreed timetable for pursuing a complaint.

It must be noted that this document is not for use with appeals in relation to assessment decisions which should follow the Appeals Against Assessment Decisions Procedure.


A Client in this procedure means any student, employer or other service user or stakeholder.


Issues that we cannot address under this policy are:

  • Anonymous complaints
  • Complaints about things that are outside of our responsibility
  • Liability claims or litigation issues
  • Complaints regarding assessment decisions, which should be directed to our Appeals Against Assessment Decisions Procedure
  • Complaints about the outcome of a process, where the process has been followed accurately
  • Complaints regarding an admission decision
  • Complaints relating to matters more than 6 months previously
  • Complaints lodged by a third party, aside from parents/carers/guardians of those aged 14-17 or with difficulties/disabilities that require someone aged 18+ to require advocacy and support, or the employer of an employee undertaking employer contracted work-related learning of any form.

1. First Stage (Informal Complaint)

1.1 A Client should initially discuss their complaint with their trainer (in the case of a learner) or to a manager for other individuals. If the Client is unwilling or unable to approach the member of staff (e.g., because the focus of the complaint is their primary contact), the Client should raise the matter with a member of the management team.

1.2 The object of this First Stage is to resolve problems quickly and simply with the minimum of formality. The member of staff first approached or the Manager, will discuss the matter with the complainant and will seek to agree a mutually satisfactory outcome, undertaking key actions, as necessary, to ensure the matter is resolved to mutual satisfaction.

2. Second Stage (Formal Complaint)

2.1 If the outcome of the Stage 1 process is not satisfactory and the complaint is not resolved, the Second Stage can be followed, and the complaint should be made in writing to the Senior Operations Director. If the complaint is in relation to the Senior Operations Director, the complaint should be addressed to the Managing Director.

2.2 The Senior Operations Director will fully investigate the complaint. The investigation may include:
• Interviewing the complainant, those that are the subject of the complaint and/or witnesses as appropriate
• Reviewing work/other relevant information
• Other relevant activity that will be effective in informing the investigation

2.3 If the Senior Operations Director comes to the conclusion that the complaint has been fairly settled at an earlier stage, or that the complaint is trivial, or wholly lacking in merit or substance, he/she may dismiss the complaint, and advise the complainant of the reasons for the decision.

2.4. If the Senior Operations Director comes to the conclusion that there is substance in the complaint, the Managing Director will seek to resolve the complaint, in discussion with the relevant Manager or member of staff.

2.5 The Senior Operations Director will respond to letters of complaint within two weeks, with as full a response as possible, or a timeframe for a full response, where the investigation requires more time to be completed fully and fairly.

3. Third Stage (Appeal)

3.1 If the client remains dissatisfied following notification of the outcome of the complaint under Stage 2, they may, within 10 working days of the date of written notification of the outcome, appeal in writing under Stage 3, on one or both of the following grounds given in paragraph 3.2.

3.2 The grounds for appeal are that:
• We did not follow the correct procedure in dealing with the complaint under Stage 1 or 2 of the Complaints Procedure, or
• new material information is available which was not previously reasonably available.

3.3 The appeal must be in writing and should be by post or delivery by hand to Penshaw View Training, Unit H1, Business & Innovation Centre, Sunderland, SR5 2TA and addressed to Chris Breckon.

3.4 A written acknowledgement of receipt of the request for an appeal will be provided to the Client normally within two working days of its receipt.

3.5 The Managing Director will consider any request for appeal and determine whether the request discloses grounds for appeal, unless:
• the complaint relates to him/her
• s/he was the Investigating Officer under stage 2
• or s/he is unavailable,
in which case another senior manager will be appointed.

Where in his/her opinion grounds are disclosed, the Client will be notified of this, normally within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal request by PVT, and invited to submit in writing any further information in support of the appeal normally within 10 working days of that invitation. If s/he considers that grounds are not disclosed, the Client will be notified of this normally within 10 working days following the conclusion of the appeal investigation.

3.6 The Managing Director will undertake a thorough investigation of the appeal which may include interviewing those involved and undertaking a review of evidence.

3.7 The Client will receive written notification of the outcome of the appeal (with reasons) normally within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal request.

3.8 The outcome of the appeal under Stage 3 is final and exhausts this Complaints Procedure. If the client is a Further Education student and remain dissatisfied following the outcome of the appeal, s/he may complain to the ESFA. Details are as follows:

Complaints Team, Skills Funding Agency, Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT

or email [email protected]

or complete the online enquiry team at:

The Client can submit his/her complaint to the Awarding Organisation who s/he is registered with. Penshaw View Training will provide contact details at the induction stage of the learner’s qualification.

The Client can also refer his/her complaint to Penshaw View Training appeals procedure if it refers to assessment.

4. Harassment

Any allegation that an employee is harassing or discriminating against a Client will be dealt with in accordance with the disciplinary arrangements provided under the terms of the Penshaw View Training Policy.

5. Disciplinary Action

There shall be no disciplinary or other adverse implications for a Client who makes a complaint or allegation providing the Client acts in good faith, within the law, and not vexatious, or with malice, and in accordance with established procedures including those above. Victimisation of a complainant and deterring anyone from making a proper complaint is a serious disciplinary offence.

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