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Published: 30 Oct 2020

Complaints Handling Procedure

How to get in touch if you have any concerns or complaints about our work

John Muir Trust Complaints Handling Procedure

The John Muir Trust is committed to carrying out activities to as high a standard as possible. We adhere to and commit to numerous industry standards including the fundraising code of practice and are signed up to the fundraising guarantee overseen by the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel.

We value all feedback and will use the substance of a complaint to resolve any issues identified and also to learn lessons and help improve our overall performance.

If you feel that something has gone wrong or if you are dissatisfied with the actions or activities of the Trust, then please tell us. This document describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint. There are two possible stages, the informal and the formal. Our expectation is that as a first step you should contact us to see if we can resolve any issue informally. A formal complaint should be submitted in writing (you can use the John Muir Trust formal complaint form at the bottom of this web page), should informal resolution fail or be deemed inappropriate.

What is a Complaint?

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about the Trust’s action(s) or lack of action(s), behaviour, way of dealing with people or about the standard of work carried out by the Trust or on its behalf. If you consider that the law might be being broken, then you should also contact your local police force or other relevant regulating authority.

What can I complain about?

You can complain about things like: 

  • delays in the Trust responding to your enquiries and requests
  • failure by the Trust to carry out its responsibilities
  • the Trust’s quality of service
  • the Trust’s policies and procedures
  • treatment by or attitude of a member of John Muir Trust staff, trustee or a directly employed contractor
  • failure by the Trust to follow proper procedures

What can’t I complain about?

There are some things that we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure.  These include:

  • issues that are not the Trust’s responsibility
  • issues already under legal action or other on-going attempts at resolution
  • issues that have already been considered and a decision made, whereby the matter is more an appeal than a complaint, unless the complaint is about the failure of the Trust to follow proper appeals procedures
  • matters where the Trust has already considered a complaint but the on-going pattern of complaints is considered vexatious
  • Actions and communications that are consistent with our mission, aims and objectives as laid out in the Trust’s strategies, as approved by Trustees, unless action was undertaken in such a way that would cause harm or be out with the Trust’s accepted standards or values.

If we can we will give you information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our actions (although in this case, the complainant will need to endorse that they are acting someone else’s behalf and with their authority).

Please note that if a solicitor handles a complaint on your behalf, the John Muir Trust may need to seek legal advice and act on it out with this complaint procedure. We will not meet your legal costs for pursuing a complaint.

How do I complain?

Informal Resolution

If you are not happy with the action(s) of a Trust employee or trustee, or if you are unhappy about the way in which the Trust acts or is acting, please speak to the relevant member of staff, line-manager, head of department or a director in the first instance. We will always make sure that the relevant member(s) of staff are made aware of the complaint and given an opportunity to provide comment. It is often best to speak to the responsible person directly and this is usually the quickest approach to clear up misunderstandings and allow apologies to be made and accepted or a course of remedial action agreed without triggering a more formal process. If you feel that it is difficult or inappropriate to speak to the member of staff, then speak to the staff member's line-manager (contact information can be provided by calling the Trust’s main telephone number). If this proves unsuccessful, or the nature of the complaint means this is inappropriate, then move onto the more formal stage.

Formal Resolution

If you are not sure whether or not you have grounds for a formal complaint, you can make contact in person at our office, by phone, in writing or by email at which stage we can discuss and record that there is an intended formal complaint. If the complaint can be resolved on the spot to your satisfaction, there will be no need to move to a formal complaints procedure but the complaint and its resolution will still be recorded. You should make a formal complaint in writing. We have a formal complaint form that you can choose whether or not to use.

On occasion we will be able to give you a response straight away. When the matter is more complicated we will give you at least an initial response within ten working days.

When complaining, it is essential that you tell us:

  • your full name and contact details (as the complainant and your full name and contact details if you are the complainants representative: in the latter case, it will be necessary to have them agree that you act on their behalf)
  • a statement of the complaint
  • what you feel has gone wrong
  • what action by the John Muir Trust you feel would resolve the matter

What happens when I have formally complained?

We will tell you who is dealing with your complaint. 

Our Formal Complaint Procedure has two stages:

Stage 1: front-line resolution

We aim to resolve all complaints as quickly as we can.  This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong and the immediate action to be taken to resolve the problem. We will give our decision at Stage 1 in ten working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If we can’t resolve your complaint at this stage, or within ten working days, we will explain why and tell you what we intend to do.

Stage 2: Investigation

Stage 2 deals with three types of situations, where a complaint:

  • has not been resolved informally and or not resolved at Stage 1
  • is complex in nature and is immediately apparent that detailed investigation is required
  • involves members of senior management and/or directors

When using Stage 2 we will:

  • where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
  • provide a further response within twenty working days

What if I am still dissatisfied?

If having gone through our complaints procedure you are still dissatisfied you could contact the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau, a solicitor and/or contact the Office the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

How long do I have to make a complaint?

Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of the event that you want to complain about. The earlier we receive a complaint the more likely we can investigate and resolve any matter. If you find out that you have reason to complain more than six months after the event, you should raise this with us as soon as possible. We will consider all complaints out with this time recognising that in exceptional circumstances, and recognising there may be a reason why the time limit should not apply, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit.

Making and Handling complaints

We will treat all complaints seriously. We will assess complaints fairly, consistently and respectfully and ask that you act similarly towards us.

Formal complainants form

The Formal Complaints Form is available for download at the bottom of this web page.

Keeping of records and general data protection regulations

Please be aware that if your complaint is about the way we handle your data, or information that we hold about you, in the first instance you should contact the Trust’s Data Protection Officer in accordance with the Trust’s privacy policy which is in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations and available on our website.

Regardless of the outcome of a complaint, any paperwork will be retained by the John Muir Trust in accordance the General Data Protection Regulations.

Contact details

You can contact us by post: John Muir Trust
Tower House, Station Road, Pitlochry, PH16 5AN

By telephone: 01796 470080
Or by email: