The following deadlines will be used for cases at the investigation stage of the complaints handling process:
- complaints will be acknowledged in writing within 3 working days
- the College will provide a full response to the complaint as soon as possible but not later than 20 working days from the time that the complaint was received for investigation.
Extension to the timeline
Not all investigations will be able to meet this deadline; for example some complaints are so complex that they will require careful consideration and detailed investigation beyond the 20 working days timeline. Where there are clear and justifiable reasons for extending the timescale, senior management will exercise judgement and will set time limits on any extended investigation, with the agreement of the complainant. If the complainant does not agree to an extension but it is unavoidable and reasonable, then senior management must consider and confirm the extension. In such circumstances, the complainant must be kept updated on the reason for the delay and given a revised timescale for bringing the investigation to a conclusion. It is expected, however, that this will be the exception and that the College will always strive to deliver a definitive response to the complaint within 20 working days.
Where an extension has been agreed, this will be recorded appropriately and the proportion of complaints that exceed the 20 working day-limit will be evident from reported statistics.