Charity Commission seeks to cut cost of complaints investigation

Regulator will revise the complaints procedure in a bid to use its resources more efficiently, says its annual complaints review

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission is examining how it can cut the cost of dealing with complaints about its work, which doubled in 2010/11 compared with the previous year.

In its Customer Service Annual Complaints, Compliments and Feedback Review 2010/11, the regulator said that it was planning to "design and launch a revised complaints procedure which uses our diminishing resources proficiently to meet the needs of complainants".

The report says the number of complaints about the commission’s work from members of the public, charities and others increased from 91 in 2009/10 to 185 in 2010/11. At the same time, the organisation is dealing with cuts that will reduce the commission’s annual budget from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15.

The complaints scheme, which cost £84,000 last year, allows the most serious or complex complaints to be referred to an independent reviewer, where it is alleged that the commission’s actions have led to "significant detriment or injustice".

The scheme was previously overseen by independent complaints reviewer Jodi Berg, but was outsourced to two external organisations, the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution and Complaint Handling and Investigation Associates, in March.

Overall, 18 complainants sought independent review in 2010/11 and 10 cases were concluded, a small increase from the nine cases that were concluded in 2009/10.

The report says that the regulator will continue to examine ways of making its system more cost-effective, and more efficient ways of working will drive down the cost of handling complaints.

"High-quality administration, coupled with the delivery of accurate and timely responses which are resolutely applied at the point that business teams deliver their casework, will help to decrease the resources needed to deal with complaints about our activities," it says.  

A spokeswoman for the regulator said she was unable to provide details on how the complaints procedure might change, because the review was continuing.

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