Make a complaint against us
We hope that you are never dissatisfied with our service, but we view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future – as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation involved. Should you need to complain, we want you to know that we will take your dissatisfaction seriously, make it easy for you to let us know about it, and keep you updated as it goes through our clear, documented process and procedure.
If you have a complaint about any aspect of our service you can contact us in one of the following ways:
- By telephone: 0345 257 0018
- From our website:www.accscheme.com/contact-us
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or by letter to The Complaints Manager, Age Check Certification Scheme, Unit 321B, Broadstone Mill, Broadstone Road, Stockport, SK5 7DL.
We find that most issues can be resolved quickly and informally, but if not, or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, your complaint will enter our process to ensure that you are treated fairly and reasonably.
The Scheme regards:
- A complaint against the service as being any expression of dissatisfaction by any person with the service provided by the Scheme, its Conformity Assessment Body, any staff or contractors or any of the systems or process involved, excluding any decision or determination of a Certification Officer;
- A complaint against a certified client or applicant as being any expression of dissatisfaction by any person about the conduct or behaviour of a Scheme Client specifically related to either the scope of certification of that Client or the potential to bring the Scheme into disrepute
- An appeal as being against any decision or determination made by a Certification Officer. Information about appeals can be found on our Appeals Page.
NOTE: Decisions made or positions adopted by auditors or technical evaluators are not subject to appeal until after they have been reviewed and a decision is made by a Certification Officer, but the behaviour or conduct of auditors or technical evaluators can give rise to a complaint against the service.
Complaints against the service
Complaints will be dealt with in accordance with the documented complaints process of the Scheme.
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate. However, if this is not possible, the complaint should then be reviewed and approved by person(s) not involved in the certification activities related to the complaint.
All complaints will be acknowledged in writing by the person handling the complaint within a maximum of two weeks, and will say who is dealing with the complaint and when complainant can expect a reply. A definitive reply should be provided within four weeks. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report will be provided to the complainant with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
Where appropriate the person handling the complaint should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
If the complainant is of the view that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved, they can appeal the outcome and request that the complaint is reviewed at Chief Officer level. The Chief Officer concerned should provide confirmation of the escalation of the complaint, who is dealing with it and when the Complainant can expect a reply, within two weeks, and a formal response within a maximum of four weeks.
The determination of a Chief Officer may be reviewed by an Independent Mediator if the complainant remains dissatisfied. The Scheme will facilitate this process and the Mediator will be appointed by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. The Scheme will pay 50% of the cost of an Independent Mediator. In its absolute discretion, the Scheme may pay the other 50% of the cost of an Independent Mediator where a Chief Officer determines that:
- The complaint is not frivolous or vexatious
- The complainant is a private individual, and
- The complaint raises an important point for consideration by an Independent Mediator
To make a complaint, just get in touch by any of the means on our Contact Us page.
All Scheme Clients are required to maintain their own effective consumer or public complaints procedure. Where a complaint is received by ACCS, the complainant will initially be directed to deal with the Scheme Client in the first instance. If this does not resolve the complaint, ACCS may provide an independent assessment of the complaint using its Complaints Procedure. Failure of the member to implement any corrective actions because of the complaint may result in suspension or withdrawal of certification.
A record of all complaints made against a Scheme Client is kept and tracked.
A Chief Officer of the Scheme may decide it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution. Irrespective of this, the complainant has the right to challenge the decision by referral to an independent mediator as set out above.