A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction concerning Merlin Supply Chain Solutions products or services. Merlin Supply Chain Solutions take all complaints extremely seriously and all staff are trained and committed to rectifying any problem as soon as it is brought to their attention.
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions aims to handle complaints in a way which is sympathetic, fair and efficient, which encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, maintains individual privacy and confidentiality and permits useful feedback. It is recognised that a customer who has a complaint dealt with to their complete satisfaction is likely to become a repeat customer.
The complaints process has three stages and it is anticipated that most problems will be resolved in the first two stages. The three stages are:
1. Discussion and advice
2. Informal process
3. Formal process
You may withdraw a complaint or stop the process at any time in stage 1 or 2 and, in stage 3, with the consent of the Reviewer. Personal privacy will be respected.
If you are contemplating making a complaint relating to the Company’s educational or support services, you may wish to contact the Managing Director Andy Frost. He cannot advise you on the merit or otherwise of your complaint or act on your behalf but will guide you through the process and provide procedural advice at each stage. Please note that communication with the Director may be shared within Merlin Supply Chain Solutions to enable your complaint to be handled more effectively.
Stage 1: Discussion and advice
It is very important to voice concerns or to register the nature of a complaint as soon as possible, and to seek informal resolution and conciliation, if possible, as this facilitates early resolution. Raising an issue can often resolve a problem quickly and informally; a complaint (which may, for instance, be founded on a misunderstanding or disagreement) can sometimes simply require a calm, balanced and non-prejudicial discussion between parties, without the need for any further action.
At the earliest stages, a complaint may be resolved quickly and efficiently by simple consultation or discussion with the right person – such as those listed below:
• Tutor / Assessor
• Internal Verifier
Where possible you should raise your concern with the person to whom the complaint refers. The person you contact might be able to solve the problem directly, to intervene, or at least offer suitable advice about how to proceed or where to go for assistance or advice. They may be able to advise about what would constitute an appropriate remedy, and opportunity to consider whether there is indeed a complaint to be addressed. You will then be in a position to decide whether to proceed further, and how.
If, however, you feel that a complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily at the initial, local level or if the problem is of a more serious nature, then you should follow the formal procedures set out below.
Stage 2: Informal process
Before making a complaint under stage 2 of the process, you should have exhausted informal routes, as outlined under stage 1. If informal routes seem not to have been exhausted then the complaint may be referred to informal resolution under stage 1.
To submit a formal complaint, you should contact the Senior Manager in writing to the Head Office address or on the company website, which asks you to explain the nature of, and grounds for, the complaint. The Director will acknowledge the complaint when received. A complaint should normally be made within three months of the occurrence of the matter complained about. If there is a delay you should explain the reason.
If the complaint concerns the Senior Management, you should continue directly to Stage 3 of the complaints’ process.
If the Senior Manager, on inquiry, judges that the complaint appears to be unjustified, misconceived or vexatious, the Senior Management may write to you to invite withdrawal of the complaint. The complaint will proceed only if you respond, in writing, within 10 working days and request the complaint to proceed.
In the event the complaint has not been resolved by informal discussion or does not appear capable of informal resolution, the Senior Manager will proceed to consider the complaint formally in consultation with those concerned in the provision of the service, e.g. the Course Tutor/Assessor, Internal Verifier or Manager. You will be informed at this stage that formal procedures have been initiated.
Where a complaint puts in issue a matter of academic freedom and/or the professional judgement and/or reputation of the person about whom you are complaining s/he will have a right to put their case to the Director.
The Director will provide you with a provisional response in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, and normally within 20 working days of the initiation of the formal procedure. You will be invited to comment on the provisional response in writing within 15 working days or longer, where appropriate.
The Director will review the provisional response in light of any observations made by you, and then provide you with a final written response normally within 15 working days after the date by which you were invited to comment on the provisional response. If the Director upholds the complaint, he will procure so far as possible such remedy as they consider fair and equitable in all the circumstances, which may include:
• A full explanation
• An apology (which is not an admission of liability)
• The matter put right if possible
• If appropriate, disciplinary action may be taken
If you are not satisfied with the outcome, whether the complaint is upheld or not, you may consider whether to pursue the complaint through stage 3.
Stage 3. Formal process
If you decide to pursue your complaint, you should contact the Managing Director in writing to the Head Office address or by completing the Complaints Form on the company website (quoting stage 3) within 20 working days of learning the outcome of the investigations under stage 2.
On receiving a complaint form, the Managing Director will request the Director to provide, normally within 15 working days, a full written report covering all the circumstances leading to the complaint, the investigation and the outcome, a copy of which will be sent to you. The Managing Director will invite you to make representations in writing on the written report within a further 15 working days, or longer where appropriate, and will then appoint a Company Reviewer, with no prior involvement in the case.
The Reviewer will be appointed and will be a senior member of a Merlin Supply Chain. The appointment of a Reviewer is a formal procedure that will normally be completed within 30 working days.
The Reviewer will consider all documents relating to the case, including the report of the Managing Director, your representations and the results of any further enquiries they may make, at their discretion. All documents considered by the Reviewer will be made available to you. If the Reviewer agrees that the matter has been considered fully and appropriately and that there are no grounds for a hearing, you will be informed that your complaint has been dismissed and the reasons for the decision. If, however, it appears that you may have grounds for making a complaint, the Reviewer will arrange a hearing to which you will be invited and you may, if you wish, be accompanied by the Merlin Supply Chain Appeals and Complaints Procedures Advisor or another appropriate person.
Others involved in the case may also be invited to appear before the Reviewer and will be provided with the same documents as you and the Reviewer.
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will assist the Reviewer and will be present throughout the whole proceedings of any hearing and will prepare the draft report.
The Reviewer will issue a report containing findings about the complaint and may make recommendations as to remedies, if any, to be adopted or other action recommended to be taken. If the complaint is dismissed, the Reviewer will provide reasons for their decision. The Reviewer may terminate the proceedings, determine that a complaint is rejected as vexatious or frivolous, or refer the complaint for informal resolution.
Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will communicate the decision of the Reviewer to you, normally within 15 working days of the meeting or hearing.
When the recommendations of the Reviewer are completed, Merlin Supply Chain will send a completion of procedures letter to you.
The decision of the Company Reviewer is final within the Company. All decisions reached by a Company Reviewer will be reported to the Company’s Managing Director.
If you remain dissatisfied following completion of the Company’s formal internal review and complaints procedures and after receiving a ‘completion of procedure letter’, you may appeal the decision in writing within 15 days to the Regulatory Organisation. This will be the final route of escalation within our company. Therefore, if you remain unhappy after following our own internal complaints procedure and your complaint refers to services you have received relating to your course and achieving your qualification, then please contact the relative regulartory organisation.
A representative of Merlin Supply Chain Solutions will be able to offer you guidance on the appropriate regulator in each instance and provide contact details.
Write to: Merlin Supply Chain Solutions, Kingsway House, Kettering Venture Park, Kettering Parkway, Kettering, NN15 6XU
Version 2.0 / Control date 18 Feb 2022 / Policy Author Stuart McDonagh / Review date Feb 2023