Complaints policy & procedure

All feedback is important to us and we want to make it as easy as possible for those who interact with the SoA to raise a concern or to complain, if you need to.

Your feedback helps us to improve our service to members. Any complaint or concern will be treated in confidence by us and we ask you to do the same.

If you have a complaint relating to your interaction with the SoA, please email [email protected] or write to the relevant head of department to let us know the full nature of your complaint as soon as possible. If your complaint relates to bullying or harassment, please read our Dignity and Respect Policy.

In your email/letter to us, please provide:

  • Your name
  • Your SoA ID if you are a current member
  • The full nature of your complaint, as succinctly as possible
  • Any relevant, supporting documents

If you want your complaint to remain anonymous, for instance if you do not wish to be identified to the person you’re complaining about, please make this clear in your email/letter.


All complaints and concerns raised will be taken seriously. We will use the following procedure to ensure that issues are addressed properly and completely.

We aim to deal with complaints efficiently and quickly to avoid any future problems that may arise. In doing this we hope to encourage members and users of SoA services to be open about any problems they may have.

When investigating complaints from members, we will be impartial and will only document the facts, not personal views. We will keep you informed about how long this will take and the next steps.

We will gather all the information regarding your complaint, which may include statements from all parties involved in the complaint, to establish the facts of the case.

We will keep you informed throughout this process and we will try to answer all your questions and concerns as they arise.
We will discuss the complaint objectively in meetings, keeping to the facts and we will use a problem-solving approach.

We will inform you about the outcome of the procedure in writing, ensuring any recommendations are actioned, and we will advise you of any actions taken.

We follow this three-step procedure:

Step one: initial review

There may be a simple explanation for the problem which can be resolved by discussing the issues. In the first instance, complaints will be directed to the relevant responsible person – usually the head of department to which your complaint refers – and they will investigate the issues.

We will review and acknowledge the complaint as quickly as possible (within five working days). We may need to ask further questions to clarify the issues and to ensure we understand the full nature of the complaint. We will make sure the complaint is documented in writing, identifying areas for concern and any third parties.

We will investigate the complaint and try to resolve the issue with a satisfactory resolution within 30 days of receipt of the complaint.

The Chief Executive will be notified about the complaint, although it will be dealt with by the head of department.

If the complaint is about the head of department, another head will investigate the complaint.

We may suggest a phone call or meeting to discuss the issues. Where this does not resolve the complaint, it will be escalated to the Chief Executive.

Step two: referral to the Chief Executive

If you are dissatisfied with the response from the head of department you may – within 30 days of receiving the response – request the matter be referred to the Chief Executive.

In the event of such a request, we will refer the matter to the Chief Executive, and they will notify the Chair of the Management Committee about the complaint.

Within 30 days of you making the request, the Chief Executive will respond, either to endorse the initial response, or to substitute with their own conclusion. The Chief Executive may suggest a phone call or meeting to discuss the issues.

If the complaint is about the Chief Executive, the matter will be handled by the Head of Staff or referred directly to the Management Committee.

Step three: referral to the Management Committee

If you are dissatisfied with the response from the Chief Executive or Head of Staff you may, within 30 days of receiving the response, request the matter be referred to the Chair of the Management Committee.

The Chair of the Management Committee may determine whether to handle this matter on their own or to appoint another individual or sub-committee to consider the matter.

Within 30 days of the request, the Management Committee representative will respond, either endorsing the Chief Executive’s view, or substituting their own conclusion.

If the complaint is about the Chair of the Management Committee, the matter will be handled by another Management Committee member of more than one year’s service.

If the Chair of the Management Committee (or other person handling the case) believes the matter can best be handled by arranging a phone call or meeting, they will propose this option.


If you do not feel the outcome of your complaint is sufficient, or you feel it does not resolve the issue, you will be given the opportunity to appeal in writing to the full Management Committee.

You should explain in writing why you wish to appeal the decision. An appeal will require the case to be brought to a meeting of no fewer than two members of the Management Committee. You may be requested to attend a conference call or meeting with the Management Committee.

After the appeal meeting, you will be made aware of the outcome in writing.

This policy

We hope that all complaints can be addressed in a comfortable manner with an agreed outcome that leaves you satisfied.

If you would like to discuss this policy and procedure, please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 020 3880 2230.

Last updated: March 2022