Complaints and appeals

Complaints

The LOtC Quality Badge complaints procedure is a 3 stage process, depending on the nature and originator of the complaint.

Complaints regarding LOtC Quality Badge Holders

The procedure for complaints about LOtC Quality Badge Holders is intended to address issues regarding provider compliance with the LOtC Quality Badge, Quality Indicators and Code of Practice only. Where a complaint is considered to fall outside of these parameters it will not be escalated beyond the initial contact with the CLOtC / Awarding Body.
The complaint may be resolved at any of the following stages:

Stage one

Firstly, the user must complain to the provider directly. Written evidence of the complaint and the response will be required if the complaint is escalated to stage 2.

If the complaint is not resolved once the provider’s own complaints procedure is exhausted the issue should be escalated to stage 2.

Stage two

The user should send the nature of the complaint and the evidence of the response, along with details of the resolution sought, to:

Route 1: the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) Quality Badge Development Manager

Route 2:  their Local Authority Outdoor Education Adviser (or equivalent) or the Quality Badge Development Manager where no Outdoor Education Adviser (or equivalent) exists.

If the user is unsure as to which route the provider took to achieve the LOtC Quality Badge, they should contact the CLOtC helpline for assistance. Then:

For Route 1:

The Quality Badge Development Manager will investigate the issue and make a judgement on the complaint, notifying all interested parties of the decision in writing.

For Route 2:

The Outdoor Education Adviser or the Quality Badge Development Manager will discuss the matter with the OEAP Sector Liaison Coordinators. They will decide whether to further resolve the issue with the complainant or the provider, or to involve the Awarding Body in the dispute.

If the issue is resolved prior to the involvement of the Awarding Body, the case should be filed and presented as part of the annual review process. The OEAP Sector Liaison Coordinator or Quality Badge Development Manager will also inform the Awarding Body of the complaint and outcome.

If the OEAP Sector Liaison Coordinator or Quality Badge Development Manager decides that the Awarding Body must be involved in the dispute, that Awarding Body’s complaints procedures must then be followed.

If the Quality Badge Development Manager or Awarding Body finds that a provider has not offered the service as described in their self assessment and/or has acted against the principles of the Code of Practice they have the power to:

  • Issue a notice to improve for a period of three months, after which time the provider will receive an assessment visit at their own cost. If the assessment visit finds that the complaint has not been satisfactorily addressed the LOtC Quality Badge will be removed.
  • Remove the provider’s LOtC Quality Badge. The provider will be able to reapply for the LOtCQuality Badge after a period of 12 months. For Route 1 providers the registration fee for this reapplication will be £385.

The action taken will depend upon the seriousness of the complaint and whether it is upheld. The provider has the opportunity to appeal the decision, at which time the complaint will be escalated to stage 3. The Quality Badge Manager or Awarding Body will provide the appeals form promptly on demand.

Stage three

Where a complaint is not resolved at stage 2, or a provider appeals the action taken at that stage, the matter will be escalated to the LOtC Quality Badge Committee.

The Quality Badge Development Manager or Awarding Body will provide all relevant information concerning the matter to the LOtC Quality Badge Committee. The Committee meets approximately 3 times per year, and it may be necessary to wait until the next meeting before a decision can be taken. The user and provider will be kept informed of progress.

When the LOtC Quality Badge Committee has reached its decision all interested parties will be informed in writing by the Quality Badge Development Manager or Awarding Body.

Complaints from LOtC Quality Badge Holders or Applicants

Complaints regarding CLOtC / Route 1 Process
Route 1 LOtC Quality Badge holders or applicants who have a complaint about the process or about CLOtC or CLOtC staff should initially complain directly to the Quality Badge Development Manager.

Should the complaint not be resolved at this level the LOtC Quality Badge holder/applicant has the right to escalate the matter to the Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. The Quality Badge Development Manager will provide details of how to do so promptly on request.

Should the LOtC Quality Badge holder/applicant not be satisfied by escalation to the Chief Executive they have the right to take the matter to the LOtC Quality Badge Committee, as at stage 3 above.

Complaints regarding a Route 2 Awarding Body / Route 2 Process
LOtC Quality Badge holders/applicants who have a complaint about their Awarding Body should initially complain directly to them.

Should the complaint not be resolved at this level the LOtC Quality Badge holder/applicant has the right to escalate the matter to the Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. The Awarding Body will provide details of how to do so promptly on request.

Should the LOtC Quality Badge holder/applicant not be satisfied by escalation to the Chief Executive they have the right to take the matter to the LOtC Quality Badge Committee, as at stage 3 above.

Appeals

Where the LOtC Quality Badge Committee or Awarding Body has made the decision not to award a LOtC Quality Badge, or to withdraw or not renew an existing award, the provider will have the right to appeal against this decision.

The initial appeal should be made to the Quality Badge Development Manager or Awarding Body. Awarding Bodies each have their own appeals processes (which may include the option for independent arbitration) and these should be used in the first instance.

If the appeal is not resolved at this stage the appeal will be passed to the LOtC Quality Badge Committee for a decision. The Quality Badge Development Manager or Awarding Body will supply the provider with the appeals form promptly on demand. The Committee meets approximately 3 times per year, and it may be necessary to wait until the next meeting before a decision can be taken. The user and provider will be kept informed of progress.

The LOtC Quality Badge Committee has the right to engage an independent arbitrator to assist in proceedings.

Complaints and appeals can be sent in the first instance to:
The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
Head Office
Montford Bridge
Shewsbury
Shropshire
SY4 1HW
qualitybadge@lotc.org.uk