Charities: Complaints

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 25th January 2010.

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Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the number and percentage of charities which do not have established complaints procedures in the latest year for which figures are available.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Minister of State (Third Sector), Cabinet Office, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Third Sector)

I have asked the chief executive of the Charity Commission to reply:

Letter from Andrew Hind, dated January 2010:

As the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your written Parliamentary Question on the number and percentage of charities which do not have established complaints procedures in the latest year for which figures are available (312340).

The Commission does not hold this information on charities centrally and there is no requirement for them to report to us regularly on it. However, in 2005 we conducted a survey, the results of which were published in our report, "Cause for Complaint? How charities manage complaints about their services". This found that, of the 1,129 charities surveyed, 69% of charities did not have a complaints procedure. The figure ranged from 38% among very large charities (those with an annual income of over £1 million) to 86% among small charities (those with an income of £10,000 or less). Further details are below.

Does your organisation have a complaints procedure?
Percentage
Total Small Medium Large Very large
Yes 30 12 38 59 62
No 69 86 61 40 38
No answer 1 2 1 1 -

We commissioned a postal survey of a random sample of 3,000 registered charities, weighted across four income bands. The postal survey achieved a 38% response rate, which is high for surveys of this nature. In total, 1,129 completed forms were returned for analysis. This allows a confidence interval exceeding +/- 3%, which is industry standard. The full publication can be viewed on the Charity Commission website:

www.charity-commission.gov.uk/publications/rs11annexs.asp

We certainly encourage charities to establish complaints procedures as a matter of good practice, but have not repeated this piece of research. I have arranged for a copy of the report to be placed in the Library of the House.

I hope this is helpful.

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