The Encephalitis Society aims to provide all its stakeholders (individuals who use the Society’s services, but also other people, groups and organisations that interact with the Society) with the best possible service at all times. We believe we achieve this most of the time and strictly adhere to our values. If we get it right, please let us know.

The Encephalitis Society recognises that from time to time there may be an occasion when a user feels that the service provided has fallen short of what may reasonably have been expected. As the feelings and perceptions of stakeholders are greatly valued by the Encephalitis Society, should a user have a complaint we would like to be informed. We take complaints very seriously and we treat them as an opportunity to develop. This is why we are always very grateful to hear from people who are willing to take the time to help us improve.

Aim of this Policy

This policy is to help the Encephalitis Society staff and Trustee team process complaints in ways that are consistent and fair.


The Encephalitis Society defines a complaint as “an expression of discontent by a person or persons receiving a service from the charity that cannot be immediately resolved at point of delivery, and about which the complainant desires a follow-up action is taken and a response provided”.

Fundraising complaints are further defined as "an expression of dissatisfaction at any aspect of the Encephalitis Society’s fundraising activities including administrative practices or procedures and acts carried out by third party suppliers".

Internal Complaints

• Complaints from employees should be directed via the Society’s Grievance Procedure.
• Complaints from Trustees should, in the first instance, be directed to the Chair of the Board and where this is not appropriate to the Vice-Chair.

Stakeholder User Procedure

If you are a user and you have a complaint, please take the following action:
1. Firstly, we would encourage you to raise the details of your dissatisfaction in person, by telephone or in writing, as soon as possible with the member of staff/volunteer concerned (if there is one) or any other Encephalitis Society Staff. It is hoped that a mutually agreeable solution can be reached at this point and the matter can be put right.

However, if the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, you should:
2. Raise the details of your complaint in person, by telephone or in writing, as soon as possible with the Director of Services.
The Director of Services will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, in writing, within 7 days.
The Director of Services will undertake to investigate the circumstances surrounding your complaint. You can expect a written response to your complaint within 14 days from the date your complaint was originally acknowledged.

3. If you remain dissatisfied you may contact the Chief Executive with the outcome of your complaint, which will be acknowledged and acted upon within 14 days.

4. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you have the right to raise your complaint in person, by telephone or in writing to the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the address below.

You are welcome and we encourage if necessary for you to have support during this process, such as an advocate or representative.

Occasionally we may receive complaints that do not relate directly to activities undertaken by the Encephalitis Society or that we are not in a position to comment on. We have limited resources, and we must use these in the best way possible. This may mean not engaging in-depth with this particular complaint, in particular with the following examples:
• When someone unreasonably pursues a complaint that we have already responded to. They will be given escalation points, but we may choose not to reply again, we will always inform you of our decision to do this.
• When a complainant is being obviously abusive, prejudiced or offensive in their manner.
• When a complainant is harassing a staff member.
• When a complaint is incoherent or illegible.
• When complaints are made anonymously. However, we will investigate the complaint and use the information to improve in any way that we can.

In some circumstances complainants will be processed through our Abusive, Persistent or Vexatious Complainants Policy and Procedure.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The Chief Executive will be responsible for informing the Board of Trustees of the number and nature of any complaints and their outcomes. This should be done at each meeting of the Board of Trustees (approx. 4 times per year).

Contact Details

You can contact us in whichever way is most convenient to you.
The Encephalitis Society

32 Castlegate ; Malton 
YO17 7DT

Telephone: +44 (0) 1653 692583
Email: [email protected]


Who Else Can Help?

We really hope that we are able to resolve your complaint in a professional and transparent way and to your satisfaction.

The Encephalitis Society is a member of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) and is committed to the highest standards in fundraising practice. If your complaint is to do with fundraising and you feel that it has been unresolved by us then the FRSB can investigate your complaint. You must contact them within two months of receiving your response from us.
Fundraising Standards Board:  Brushfield Street; London E1 6AA Tel: 0845 402 5442 65; [email protected] 

Alternatively, if your complaint is related to legal issues and the governing of the Society and you do not feel completely satisfied by our response then you can contact The Charity Commission at the address below.

The Charity Commission

PO Box 1227 Liverpool L69 3UG
0845 3000 218