Complaints Policy and Procedure


The Mustard Tree Foundation’s ethos is rooted in our Christian faith and motivates us to show compassion, integrity and professional excellence. We strive to serve and empower the marginalised and overlooked in our society, meeting the needs of communities and individuals.  We do this by working in partnership to identify unmet needs and develop practical solutions and open up opportunities for change.  It is important that all employees and volunteers, conduct themselves in a way consistent with our ethos and values.


This procedure will be used to investigate and resolve any complaints against The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading), or against an employee or volunteer of the charity.


Any person who makes a complaint against The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading), or an employee or volunteer of the charity will be treated with courtesy and in accordance with The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading) Equality and Equal Opportunities Policy.

All complaints made by clients will be taken seriously, given due consideration and dealt with in a timely manner.  


  1. All aspects of any complaint will be dealt with in a confidential manner. 
  2. The complainant and the person complained against will be kept aware of the extent and detail of any information divulged to the other, which will be on a need-to-know basis.   
  3. The maintenance of the file and administration of the procedure in connection with a complaint will be the responsibility of a named individual, normally a Project Manager or Central Services Manager.
  4. The complainant and the person complained against will be given the name and position of the MTF Manager, and be informed that they will be responsible for the conduct of the complaint proceedings.  

Initial Procedure:    

  1. Any complaint made on the telephone or in person should be reported to the relevant MTF Manager at the earliest opportunity, and a note of the date and person receiving the complaint should be made on the Client record.
  2. If a complaint is made against the CEO of MTF, the Chair of Trustees should be contacted – Mr Mick Penson,
  3. The MTF Manager will contact the complainant to discuss the nature of the complaint and to see if it can be resolved informally. The response should aim to satisfy the complainant that his/her concerns have been taken seriously and also refer to any remedial action that is to be taken.
  4. If the complainant wishes to pursue the complaint formally, the MTF Manager will send them a copy of the Complaints Procedure and advise them that they should send a formal, written statement laying out the matters which give rise to the complaint.   
  5. If the complainant declines to pursue the complaint the date of the conversation and nature of the complaint will be recorded by the MTF Manager, and the person complained against will be informed. 
  6. Internal disciplinary procedures may be put into effect if considered necessary. 
  7. Any written complaint received from a client regarding the work of any project of The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading) should be passed to the relevant MTF Manager as soon as possible, usually within a week of receipt.  A formal record will be made.

Formal Procedure – Stage One:

  1. When a written complaint is received, the relevant MTF Manager will write a letter acknowledging receipt normally within seven days.  The person complained against will be informed of the complaint and a meeting will be arranged with the MTF Manager to discuss the complaint.  The CEO of The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading) will be informed that a formal complaint has been made.
  2. A second letter will be sent to the client advising them that discussion has taken place with the person complained against, and offering an opportunity for a formal discussion of the complaint with the MTF Manager.  This meeting should take place normally no more than four weeks after receipt of the written complaint.   
  3. The complainant will have the right to be accompanied at the meeting by one other person of their choice but that person will not actively participate in the meeting. 
  4. If the complaint is resolved at the meeting, the person complained against, and CEO of The Mustard Tree Foundation will receive written confirmation that the matter is resolved.   
  5. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, they will be asked to give a written statement to this effect to the MTF Manager, and the complaint will move to Stage 2.  

Formal Procedure – Stage Two:

The purpose of this stage is to review the conduct of the complaint; to ensure that procedure has been followed correctly; to provide the client with an opportunity to contest the decision of the MTF Manager; & to arrive at a final ruling for the resolution of the complaint. 

  1. The MTF Manager will inform the CEO of The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading) of the continuing complaint. The CEO will inform the Chair of Trustees, and will write to the client and person complained against advising them that the procedure has moved to Stage Two. 
  2. The Chair of Trustees will convene a panel comprising a Trustee, an MTF Manager (not from the project involved in the complaint) and a person external to the Service, with relevant experience, agreed by the relevant MTF Manager and the client.  A meeting date will be set for the meeting to take place, within six weeks of the decision to move to Stage Two. 
  3. The panel will be provided with all relevant paperwork prior to the date of the meeting.  The client, person complained against, and the relevant MTF Manager will be given the opportunity to attend and may be questioned by the panel.  The client and person complained against can be joined by one person of their choice but that person may not actively participate.
  4. The findings of the panel, in the form of a written report, will be conveyed to the Chair of Trustees, the relevant MTF Manager, the client and person complained against.  In the event of the client being dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage Two, the Chair of Trustees will inform the complainant that The Mustard Tree Foundation (Reading) has exhausted its internal complaints procedure and that they may refer their complaint to external sources. The complainant can also contact the Charity Commission if they have any serious concerns regarding the Charity.

Note: At the discretion of the relevant MTF Manager, all client work of the person complained against may be suspended during investigations.