Complaints Procedure

Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation (ELHF) is committed to providing an excellent service to NHS Lothian and the community, working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. We have developed a complaints policy and procedure that explains our approach to receiving complaints.

Our Aim

ELHF aims to resolve complaints quickly fairly and effectively. One of the ways in which we can improve the services that we provide is by listening and responding to the views of our community and stakeholders and, in particular, responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.

We aim to ensure that

  • Making a complaint is as easy as possible
  • We treat every complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response
  • We deal with each complaint promptly, politely and when appropriate confidentially
    We will respond in the correct way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology or information on any action
  • We will learn from complaints and use them to improve the services that we offer
    We review periodically our complaints policy and procedures

ELHF recognises that many concerns raised will be informal, and we aim to deal with these quickly. In the first instance we would expect any complaint to be raised directly with a member of staff at ELHF.  If concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure must be followed.


A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with our services’ or activities whether justified or not; with the Charity itself, with a staff member or with a Trustee, that relates to ELHF and that requires a formal response.


ELHF complaint procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction

The Edinburgh and Lothian’s Health Foundation’s responsibility will be to

  • Acknowledge the formal complaint in writing
  • Respond within the stated period of time
  • Deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint
  • Take appropriate action as required

The complainant’s responsibility is to

  • Raise their concerns promptly and directly with the person concerned and if their concerns cannot be resolved satisfactorily informally then to follow the formal complaints procedure as detailed
  • Explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date
  • Allow ELHF a reasonable amount of time to deal with the matter as detailed in the formal complaints procedure
  • Recognise that some circumstances may be beyond ELHF’s control

Monitoring and Reporting
The ELHF Trustees will receive an anonymised report of complaints made and their resolution. Where required, complaints will be escalated to the Trustees for review and recommendation.

Principles of the Complaints Policy

The ELHF complaints policy is based on a three stage process (as detailed in the Complaints Procedure. The Complaints Policy will apply to all services that the ELHF provides.

If at any time during the investigation of a complaints matters arise that warrant investigation under disciplinary proceedings, or through a criminal investigation, the complaints procedure will be suspended until those investigations are concluded. Similarly the complaints procedure will be suspended if a complainant is seeking legal redress.

Where a complaint is against a member of staff they should be informed of the receipt of a stage 1 formal complaint. A complete record of the entire process will be kept.  A copy of all reports, transcripts of interviews and other relevant information will be made available to the Trustees involved in any investigation.

The Chair of the Trustees will be responsible for managing any complaints that are escalated to Stage 2. As with stage 1 of the procedure a complete record of the process will be maintained.

ELHF may, at any stage of the formal complaints procedure, review a complaint and give a decision, without formal investigation, where a member of the Trustees deems the complaint to be deliberately repetitive or vexatious. Examples of such complaints being unsubstantiated to repetitive complaints against an individual or service, or where a complaint has previously been investigated and appropriate action taken.

When appealing against a previous decision the complainant will be asked to state why they are dissatisfied with how their complaint was handled.

Policy Review

This policy was last updated in August 2019 and will be updated as law, regulations or guidance change.  It will be reviewed in its entirety no later than August 2022.


Complaints Procedure

Informal Complaint

Where practical a resolution will be sought at the time the informal complaint is raised. Such complaints will require little or no investigation and can be handled by those individuals directly involved in dealing with the charity business.

Where deemed necessary the individual dealing with the complaint may contact the Foundation Director for advice and or ask for the complaint to be referred to the manager. This still forms part of the local resolution stage.

Where a complainant remains dissatisfied with the response they have received or do not wish for their complaint to be handled in this way, then the complainant should be asked to make a formal complaint.

We will accept informal complaints in various ways such as, verbal / telephone call, email and in writing. We wish to make the process as easy and transparent as possible for the complainant.


Formal Complaints

The formal complaints procedure should only be followed if the complaint cannot be resolved informally or if the complaint is more appropriately addressed through a formal complaints process.

Stage 1

We are happy to receive complaints via the most convenient method of communication the complainant wishes to use e.g. face to face discussion, telephone, email or formal letter.

The main contact details for all stage 1 formal complaints are to be addressed for the attention of:

Foundation Director
Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation
Waverley Gate
2-4 Waterloo Place

0131 465 5850

In all examples the complainant should identify exactly what their complaint is and also state what they consider would help in resolving the issue

In all instances the complainant will receive an acknowledgement of the complaint within 3 working days of receipt and a response to the complaint within 5 working days (this may be longer in complicated cases but we will inform you of any delay)

The written response will also notify the complainant that they have 28 days in which to ask for the complaint and response to be reviewed (~Stage2); if they are dissatisfied with the response they have received

Occasionally ELHF may decide to move straight to Stage 2 of the complaints process if it is felt that the resolution may take longer or the complaint is more complicated.


Stage 2

If you are dissatisfied with the Stage 1 response to your complaint then you can write to the Chair of the Trustees stating the reason why you are dissatisfied with the outcome and ask for your complaint and the response to be given further consideration.

You can expect your request to be acknowledged within 3 working days of the receipt, describing the process the complaint investigation will follow.

A stage 2 complaint will be co-ordinated by a Trustee of ELHF or other delegated senior member, who will respond within 20 working days with a full written response giving details of any right of appeal.

ELHF’s aim is to resolve all matters as quickly as possible, however, if a matter requires more detailed investigation, you will receive an interim response describing what is being done to deal with the matter, and when a full reply can be expected and from whom.

Your complaint should be addressed to the

Chair of the Trustees
Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation
Waverley Gate
2-4 Waterloo Place


Stage 3 – Complaint to regulatory body

If a complainant remains unhappy with ELHF’s response to their complaint they have the option to refer it to the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel, for fundraising complaints or for other complaints to the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR).

Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation is an operating name of the Lothian Health Board Endowment Fund, Scottish Charity Number SC007342

Regulatory bodies will receive the complaint, assess if there has been a breach and make recommendations as necessary.


Support Organisations

There are a number of support organisations who will help and give advice to individuals that do not feel confident or require support in presenting their complaint for example, Lothian advocacy.


All complaints received will be managed confidentially throughout the entire process.