Dealing with complaints effectively


Acknowledge the complaint

As a board, acknowledge the complaint in writing (as a letter from the board chair) and advise the complainant of the board process for responding to it. Keep a record of the complaint and the board chair’s letter for discussion at the next board meeting.

Note: Complaints do not always go to the board, it depends on the complaints policy. It may be delegated to the principal to do so.


Schedule a board meeting to discuss how to mana

Schedule a board meeting to discuss how the board will manage the complaint, ensuring the public is excluded from the meeting. As a board, decide whether or not to deal with the complaint as a board or to appoint a committee to investigate the complaint and report back to the board with a recommended solution.


Collect evidence and invite the complainant to

Collect evidence on the issues raised in the complaint. Be thorough and unbiased. Invite the complainant to give further information by addressing the board.


As a board or committee, review all evidence and compile a report

The board or committee will need to review all the evidence supporting or refuting the issues raised in the complaint. Do this in confidence. Make recommendations in writing (as a report) on how to respond to the complaint effectively.


Review the report and make a decision

Review the report and make a decision on its recommendations as a board. Again, this should happen in a meeting where the public is excluded.


Announce the board’s decision

Finally, the board will need to announce its decision to the complainant either confidentially or publicly, depending on the nature of the complaint.

Keep in mind that any parties to the complaint may ask the board to reconsider its decision, particularly if new information has come to light, or to produce information relevant to its final decision.

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