Document Title  Complaints Policy
  Version  2.3
  Status  Final
  Reviewed  January 2018
  Author  SMT
Review detailsJanuary 2021
Next review dateJanuary 2022

The policy has undergone an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) confirming that there are no negative consequences in the case of this policy.

Education + Training Skills (ETS) treats all complaints, whether they are from apprentices/learners, parents, employers or any other source with the highest priority.  All complaints are monitored reviewed, evaluated and acted on with the aim to continual improve our service.

ETS is committed to providing a quality Customer Service and achieving the highest standards of service possible; one way we can do this is by listening to and responding to our customers.


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that complaints are dealt with in an appropriate manner. The complaints policy and procedure are accessible to all. It is provided in hard-copy to apprentices and other learners and employers at the commencement of each apprenticeship or course of training and publicised on the ETS Website. All complaints are handled in a fair, consistent and timely way. This policy allows for all stakeholders and apprentices and other learners to log a formal or informal complaint should they perceive that they have a grievance.


Our Senior Management Team is responsible for this process, ensuring that it complies with ESFA Funding Rules and awarding Organisation specifications. It is reviewed annually, or as and when Funding Rules, Specifications or the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) are revised. The Quality Improvement and Performances Manager oversees the management of the process and stakeholders involved.

Scope & Definition

Provision of apprenticeships and accredited courses is regulated by the ESFA and Awarding Organisations respectively and if publically funded inspected by Ofsted. Our complaints procedure aligns to the requirements outlined within their applicable funding and performance rules, contract requirements, and inspection frameworks. All apprentices, prospective apprentices, other learners, employers, parents (where applicable) and local partners will be made aware of the complaint procedure. The process is embedded into our apprentice induction, within employer contracting and published on our website. All complaints are dealt with appropriate discretion and sensitively.

A complaint is defined as; ‘an oral or written expression of dissatisfaction.’ The person making the complaint may not necessarily refer to it as being a “complaint”, but it will still be treated as such where the above definition applies.

  • Complaints concerning assessment practice will be dealt with through our appeals procedure which is aligned to ESFA and awarding organisation requirements.
  • Complaints from contracted partners will be dealt with along alongside contracting terms.

Complaints can be raised informally (e.g. in day-to-day conversation with staff), which should be dealt with immediately to prevent any escalation of dissatisfaction. However, where this is not always possible, our escalation process will look to resolve complaints to a satisfactory outcome.

All employers, apprentices and other learners will be encouraged to refer complaints and disputes to the first point of contact, although they have the option to refer complaints to any other member of staff if they should so choose. Complaints can be received in several ways. It is therefore important to know the correct way to deal with a complaint to ensure satisfactory resolution.

For apprenticeships; apprentices, prospective apprentices and employers will also be made aware of the Apprenticeship Help Desk service, including the email address and phone number, should they wish to access any independent and impartial advice about apprenticeship entitlements and obligations.

Complaints can be made by contacting ETS via one of the following options:

  • Call: 01392 445444 and ask for the Quality Improvement and performance Manager
  • E-mail: (FAO: The Quality Improvement and Performance Manager)
  • Write to: Complaints, Education + Training Skills, ETS House, Emperor Way, Exeter Business Park, Exeter, Devon. EX1 3QS.
  • Speak directly with your Training Facilitator who will escalate the complaint as necessary

Whenever front line staff receive a complaint, you should forward the complaint to the Co-ordinator with responsibility for the area of the complaint; the complaint must be recorded in the complaints log.

All complaints must be responded to immediately.  If an in-depth response or report is required then an acknowledgement must be sent; within 5 working days for a written communication or 48 hours for a verbal or email complaint.  A full response must be sent within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint.

The complaints log must be updated and outcomes recorded at each stage.

The complaints log must be forwarded to the General Manager at the end of each month for analysis and final sign off.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, then they are to be directed to the General Manager who will complete a further investigation and respond within 5 working days.

If the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome, then the complaint is to be referred to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the complaint to be reviewed. The CEO will carry out a further investigation and respond within 10 working days.

This will be the final stage of escalation within ETS.  Therefore, if the complainant remains unhappy after following our own internal complaints procedure and their complaint refers to services they have received relating to their apprenticeship or course and achieving their qualification, then they can contact the ESFA, associated Awarding Organisation or End Point Assessment Organisation directly.  The complainant will be provided with the contact details of the relevant point of contact within the organisation.

Should a complainant address their complaint to the ESFA, associated Awarding Organisation or End Point Assessment Organisation and remain unhappy with the outcome, they may then raise their complaint to the relevant qualification/standards regulator.  A representative of either the ESFA, Awarding Organisation, End Point Assessment Organisation or ETS will be able to offer guidance on the appropriate qualification regulator in each instance and provide contact details.

Richard Jenkins