Complaint Procedure

At the CBA, we believe that our members, every person who works for or with us, volunteers with us or otherwise comes into contact with us should be treated with dignity and respect and feel that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Our expected standards of behaviour are set out in our Code of Conduct. This procedure sets out how we will respond if someone feels that we have not lived up to these standards. It relates to the behaviour of staff, trustees and other volunteers, consultants working for the CBA, service providers and also to CBA members and guests attending our events or accessing our services.

This policy does not cover concerns or complaints raised by staff who should follow our internal procedures set out in the employee handbook.

Raising a concern

If you are not happy with any aspect of your engagement with the Council for British Archaeology, please tell us.

Concerns can often be addressed through speaking to the individual concerned, or by speaking to another member of staff or the Executive Director. We encourage you to raise concerns in this way in the first instance, if you are happy to do so.

Often 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 five working days.

Making a formal complaint

If you are not satisfied with our response to your initial concern or feel it is more appropriate to raise the matter more formally at the outset, please write to the Executive Director. If your complaint is about the Executive Director, please write to the Chair of Trustees. Contact details can be found at the end of this document.

When writing to us with a formal complaint, it is helpful if you can let us have the following information:

  • The nature of what you want to report, whether it is an incident that has happened or whether it is an allegation or suspicion of something that may have happened or is likely to happen
  • Who is involved (if appropriate) and their position in the charity
  • Whether there has been any publicity surrounding the issue
  • Details or copies of documentary evidence in support of your concerns
  • Your name, postal and email address and telephone number and connection (if any) to the CBA

All the information you have should be included at the outset to give us as full a picture as possible and help us decide how to respond.

How we will investigate complaints

Complaints will be handled by someone within the organisation who was not involved in the actions or events which are the subject of the complaint. This would usually be a senior manager or trustee. If it is not possible to identify a manager or trustee, who can act independently, due to the nature of the complaint, we will consider appointing an independent third party from outside the organisation.

We aim to listen to complainants from the outset, to understand the complaint and the outcome they are seeking.

Complaints will be investigated thoroughly and fairly to establish the facts of the case. This includes reviewing all relevant evidence and might include speaking to any individuals complained about as well as the complainant and any third parties involved.

Where possible, we will inform individuals if a complaint has been made about them or actions for which they were responsible. As an organisation, we have a duty of care to individuals complained about as well as to complainants. We will ensure that individuals have an opportunity to respond to the allegations made.

We will respect confidences where it is appropriate and possible to do so. Please be aware, however, that any person may have a right to be told the nature of the evidence upon which a complaint about them is based. Whilst we will take every step to try to ensure that your identity is not revealed without your consent, in some cases the nature of the allegations or evidence may give an indication as to their source. There may also be an obligation to reveal information to relevant authorities in certain circumstances. Where we feel that complaints cannot or should not remain anonymous then we will let you know before taking the matter further.

If complaints are received from an anonymous source, they will be investigated by a member of the senior management team, but will not necessarily go through the formal complaints procedure.

Reaching a decision

We will respond openly to all the substantive points raised by a complainant and explain why the organisation considers those points are justified or not.

We will acknowledge if things have gone wrong and take proportionate action to put things right, including apologising where appropriate.

We will use complaints as an opportunity to improve our practice, and will tell complainants about lessons learnt and any changes made to services, guidance or policy as a result of the complaint.

The CBA will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within a maximum of five working days. A response to the complaint will normally be sent within 20 working days.

If you are not satisfied with the response then you have the right to appeal. The appeal should initially be made to the CBA Executive Director (unless the Executive Director has already dealt with the complaint). If the Executive Director has already handled the complaint or if you are not satisfied with the response then an appeal may be made to the CBA Chair of Trustees c/o the contact details below. The response of the Trustees will be final with regard to internal CBA procedures, but you may be entitled to carry a complaint to the relevant authorities, including the Charity Commission or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and other bodies.

Recording complaints

We will keep a record of the complaints we receive, the outcomes of investigations and the reasons for our decisions.

We will regularly report to the Board of Trustees on the number and nature of complaints received and the outcome of those complaints, including whether they have led to a change in services, policies or procedures.

We will follow our obligations under the Charities (Protection and Social Investments) Act 2016, and include information about any complaints that relate to fundraising in our Annual Report and Accounts.

Contacting us

By email: Neil Redfern, Executive Director: [email protected]

By post: Neil Redfern, Executive Director, Council for British Archaeology, 92 Micklegate, York, Y01 6JX

To contact the Chair of Trustees, please write to Ken Smith at the address above, or email [email protected]

Please mark your letter or email Confidential.

If you need to make a complaint urgently, because the matter is particularly serious, then please contact the CBA Executive Director by telephone, either via the main CBA number (01904 671417), or the CBA Executive Director on 07437180732 (out of office hours).

You can download a copy of the Complaints Procedure here: