Branch Complaints Procedure

What is the complaints procedure for and what does it cover?

This procedure covers our process for handling complaints about our services, or our staff or volunteers. Complaints may come from supporters, volunteers, other agencies and organisations or members of the public.

Data protection legislation requires us to only process complaints that come from people who have had direct contact with RSPCA Cornwall Branch. It prevents us from corresponding with third parties about complaints. This means that we cannot help you if you would like to complain on behalf of a family member, friend or someone else, unless you have Power of Attorney.

The complaints procedure is not set up to handle welfare concerns about a particular animal or other general welfare matters such as farm animal transport or slaughter. Complaints concerning animal welfare or cruelty should be made to the national RSPCA Helpline on 0300 1234 999.

How do I make a complaint?

  • In person: An appointment can be made to discuss a complaint with the Duty Manager. Please ‘phone to arrange this.
  • In writing: You can write to the Branch Development Manager or Chairman of the Trustees at the Venton Centre, or email

Your feedback is very important and we are committed to learning from comments we receive. If you need to complain, we know it is very important that you can do so easily and that you will be responded to politely and, when appropriate, with a promise of action.

To ensure that your complaint can be dealt with quickly and efficiently you should provide the following Information:

  • Your full name
  • Postal address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Any contact details that are different from the above
  • Full details of the complaint including relevant dates
  • Whether you have a relationship with us, eg as a volunteer, supporter, former member of staff
  • If you have any evidence to support your complaint, eg photos, letters, emails, names of witnesses or other paperwork.

RSPCA Branches are separately registered charities operating under the national Society’s policies and guidelines. Complaints about branches made to the national RSPCA are forwarded to the Regional Manager responsible, who will allocate an appropriate person to conduct an investigation. This will usually be a manager or another representative within the Branch.

What happens to the information I provide?

We have comprehensive data protection policies and any personal data you provide in connection with a complaint will not be given to any other organisation. Please see our privacy notice for more information.

What happens to my complaint?

  • In person: Our manager will do all they can to discuss your concerns and resolve the matter as soon as possible.
  • In writing: Every written complaint received is acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt.

How quickly will RSPCA Cornwall Branch reply?

After acknowledging a complaint, we aim to reply in full to all complaints within 25 working days from the acknowledgement. If the complaint is complex or requires further investigation that cannot be completed within 25 days, we will contact you again to explain the situation.

How do I know if my complaint will be treated fairly?

We appreciate honest feedback as it helps us to learn and develop as a charity. We investigate all complaints thoroughly to see what we can learn from them and where we can improve our relationship with the public. Our investigation and response to complaints will be fair and without bias. A full explanation and an apology (when appropriate) will be included in our reply.

What happens to complaints about staff or volunteers?

We expect our staff and volunteers to be professional and courteous at all times so we take complaints about poor conduct very seriously. Any complaints or concerns regarding a member of staff or volunteer are passed to their manager for investigation.

Please be aware that if the matter falls under our employee/employer confidentiality agreement or our volunteer policy, we may not be able to inform you of the outcome, but will still send you a reply when the investigation has been completed.

If I am still not satisfied, what else can I do?

If you are not happy with the way we have answered your complaint, please contact us again and let us know why you were dissatisfied. We will arrange for the matter to be reviewed by the charity’s Trustees and will write to you again. If you are still unhappy, you may wish to appeal with details of your complaint to the Charity Commission, the regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales. The Commission has a section on its website about how to complain about a specific charity –

When won’t you respond to my complaint?

  • If by ‘phone or in person: Our staff are trained to remain polite at all times. If you use abusive language or an aggressive tone, they may terminate the call, walk away from you or seek assistance from another staff member. It is unlikely in these circumstances that your complaint will be investigated.
  • If in writing: If a written complaint contains abusive language or is aggressive in tone, we will reply but will advise you in our response that this is unacceptable.

Furthermore, we may terminate correspondence about a specific complaint where it is clear that despite our best efforts, we are unlikely to satisfy you. If you write to us again about a different issue, it will be treated as a new complaint.

The decision to terminate correspondence will only be made by a senior manager after making sure that the matter has been investigated thoroughly and in line with our procedures. We will always tell you when we are terminating a complaint and give the reasons we are doing this.

Complaints will also only be considered if they are received within 3 months of the time when you were first aware of the situation. We do not handle complaints that date back further than this.

Data protection legislation requires us to only process complaints that come from people who have had direct contact with the RSPCA. It prevents us from corresponding with third parties about complaints. This means that we cannot help you if you wish to complain on behalf of a family member, friend or someone else, unless you have Power of Attorney

Does anyone take notice of complaints?

The Charity’s Board of Trustees monitor complaints in order to identify any patterns arising.

Complaints about Inspectors or Animal Collection Officers

RSPCA Inspectors and ACOs are employed by the National RSPCA and have no connection to Cornwall Branch or the Venton Centre.