Practical Guidance for Handling Verbal complaints.

  • Remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation.
  • Listen – allow the person to talk about the complaint in their own words.
  • Sometimes a person just wants to “let off steam”.
  • Don’t debate the facts in the first instance, especially if the person is angry.
  • Show an interest in what is being said.
  • Obtain details about the complaint before any personal details.
  • Ask for clarification wherever necessary.
  • Show that you have understood the complaint by reflecting back what you have noted down.
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings (even if you feel that they are being
  • unreasonable) – you can do this without making a comment on the complaint itself or making any admission of fault on behalf of the organisation or the turner concerned e.g “I understand that this situation is frustrating for you”.
  • If you feel that an apology is deserved for something that was the responsibility of a Registered Professional Turner, then apologise.
  • Ask the person what they would like done to resolve the issue.
  • Be clear about what you can do, how long it will take and what it will involve.
  • Don’t promise things you can’t deliver.
  • Give clear and valid reasons why requests cannot be met.
  • Make sure that the person understands what they have been told.
  • Wherever appropriate, inform the person about the available avenues of review or appeal.
  • If the complaint is by telephone offer to call the complainant back.
  • Make a note of the complainant’s telephone number and contact details.
  • Try to obtain a time convenient to the complainant for future telephone calls.
  • Refer the complainant to the RPT complaints procedure.
  • Report details of the complaint to the Chairman or Vice-Chairman ASAP.

Written complaints should be forwarded to the Chairman or Vice-Chairman

The Register of Professional Turners Complaints procedure

The Register of Professional Turners views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to address matters for the person that has made the complaint.
Our policy is:
• To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint.
• To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint.
• To make sure everyone at the Register of Professional Turners knows what to do if a complaint is received.
• To ensure that all complaints are investigated in a timely and professional manner.
• To attempt to resolve all complaints and repair any relationships where possible.
• To gather information that helps us to improve our service to members and their customers.
• To try to ensure that a satisfactory outcome is achieved for all parties concerned.

Definition of a complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of the Register of Professional Turners.

Where complaints come from

Complaints may come from individual members or member’s customers and may encompass woodturning clubs or groups, students or those that have attended a demonstration, members of the public, gallery owners or suppliers. They may also come from any person that has a legitimate interest in the RPT. A complaint can be received verbally, by telephone, by email or in writing. (See Appendix 1. Practical guidance for handling verbal complaints.)


All complaints information will be handled sensitively, informing only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.


Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the RPT management committee.

The Register of Professional Turners Complaints procedure publicised contact details for complaints: Written complaints may be sent to:

RPT Secretary
c/o The Turner’s Clerk
The Worshipful Company of Turners
Saddlers’ House
44 Gutter Lane

Verbal complaints may be made by telephone to +44 (020) 7236 3605 or in person to any member of the RPT committee.

Receiving complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have.
Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded.
The person who receives a phone call or in person complaint should:
•Write down the facts of the complaint
•Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number
•Note down the relationship of the complainant to the RPT or RPT member (for example: client, member)
• Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
• Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
•Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by Email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.

Resolving Complaints

Stage One

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.

Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to a member of the committee within one week.
On receiving the complaint the committee member should record it in writing and bring it to the attention of the Chairman. If it has not already been resolved, the Chairman will delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond. The person that is the subject of a complaint should respond within 2 weeks of being informed unless personal circumstances dictate otherwise.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within one week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and should include an estimate of when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.

Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant could describe the action taken to investigate the complaint and must include the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

Stage two

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage one, they can request that the complaint is reviewed by the full committee. At this stage, depending on the seriousness of the complaint it will be dealt with either at the next full committee meeting or at a specially convened meeting.

The request for a committee level review will be acknowledged within one week of receiving it. The acknowledgement will state how the complaint is being dealt with and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The committee will then review all of the facts of the case and speak with the person about which the complaint has been made. If the complaint is about a specific person, they should be given the opportunity and the time to respond.

Ideally complaints should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible for whatever reason a progress report should be sent with an indication of when completion could be expected. On completion a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant could describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

The decision at this stage will be final with no course for appeal.

Variation of the Complaints procedure

The Board may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about any committee member should not have that committee member present or leading a stage two review.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints will be reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.


This policy was written on 8th September 2016 and accepted into the RPT Constitution on 23rd November 2016 it should be reviewed after twelve months to ensure it is still fit for purpose and thereafter every three years.

Disciplinary Policy

1. Purpose and scope

1.1. It is essential that professional standards of conduct and performance are maintained to protect the good name of the RPT and its members and to aid in its smooth running. It is also designed to protect the wellbeing of those to whom we supply turned products and those who we teach or who attend our demonstrations. It is intended to ensure fair and equitable treatment of members where there are instances of misconduct, where an individual’s professional conduct appears to fall below an acceptable level.
1.2. All members are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner consistent with the effective and efficient operation of the organisation and should recognise and uphold high standards of conduct and performance in their dealings with each other, suppliers, customers and members of the public who access their services. The Disciplinary Policy and the Procedures laid out apply to all members, irrespective of length of service or seniority.
1.3. The RPT management committee retains the discretion to vary the procedure accordingly in respect of formal warnings up to and including removal from the Register if the conduct matter is decided to be sufficiently serious to require immediate formal action.
1.4. Members are required to adhere to these policies as they are in the best interests of the RPT and its members. The RPT management committee reserves the right to amend these policies from time to time as the need arises
1.5. At all times the best interests of the Register of Professional Turners will be the primary concern.

2. Principles

2.1. The procedure is designed to establish the facts quickly and to deal with any disciplinary issues in a timely manner. No disciplinary action will be taken until the matter has been fully investigated.
2.2. Where an allegation of misconduct has been made or a member appears to be behaving in a manner likely to call the RPT into disrepute, the management committee’s first step will be to establish the facts as quickly as possible. The extent of the investigation required will vary according to the particular circumstances, but may involve discussion at a committee meeting or an investigatory meeting with the member who is the subject of a complaint. The RPT complaints procedure should be carried out in the event of a complaint. During this investigation the RPT reserves the right to request the member concerned to cease the actions that caused the instigation of the investigation.
2.3. At the earliest opportunity the member concerned will be informed of the complaint and will be given the opportunity to state their case to the investigating officer, which will normally be a committee member.
2.4. No penalties shall be inflicted without recourse to a full committee meeting.
2.5. Members have the right to appeal against any disciplinary decision.

3. The Procedure

3.1. Informal disciplinary procedure
In all instances the first step is for the RPT to contact the person(s) concerned and investigate the complaint or misconduct that has been reported. In most cases an oral warning should suffice to stop the repetition of this type of misconduct. An informal warning can be given at this point.

3.2. Formal disciplinary procedure

Stage 1 – Formal Verbal Warning
If a member behaves in a manner that could bring the RPT into disrepute or if a sufficient number of unsatisfactory feedback forms have been received a formal verbal warning will be issued. This should take the form of a telephone call or face to face conversation. In the event that poor feedback forms have been received the member is to be offered the opportunity to attend a training course to bring his/her skills up to the required level. If, however, the seriousness of the breach of discipline is deemed to be harmful to the Register of Professional Turners it may be justifiable to move directly to a formal or even a final written warning.
Stage 2 – Formal Written Warning
A formal written warning would normally be issued when the misconduct or level of complaint is more serious but falls short of serious misconduct. A formal written warning may be issued if a formal verbal warning has not corrected the misconduct or professional attitude has not improved. In some cases, the RPT may consider it appropriate to issue a second formal written warning such as following a re-occurrence of the original behaviour.
Stage 3 – Final Written Warning
Depending on the seriousness of the misconduct this is the next stage after a first or second written warning. A final written warning may also be given in the first instance depending on the seriousness of the misconduct. In this final written warning the member should be informed that any repetition of disreputable behaviour that is likely to injure the reputation of the RPT or its members will result in the removal of the member from the Register. A member has the right of appeal at each of these stages.

Stage 4-removal from the Register

Depending on the seriousness of the misconduct, stages 1-3 may be omitted and removal from the register will be the final sanction. Removal from the register must only be taken following a full meeting of the committee and must be fully minuted along with any supporting statements. The member in question must be informed that this action is being taken and told the reasons why. The member must be given an opportunity to appeal before any disciplinary action is taken.
On removal, the member must be informed not only that he or she is being removed but that they must cease immediately to describe themselves in writing, on the internet, on their smock or in any other way as a member of the RPT.
3.3 Gross misconduct
If after an investigation has been carried out and a disciplinary meeting has been held the RPT considers that a member has committed an offence of gross misconduct the normal consequence will be removal from the register. The member in question must be given an opportunity to appeal.
Gross misconduct will be classed as a failure of fundamental conduct: – indecent or offensive behaviour; theft or attempted theft; wilful damage to property; fraud or cheating and any conduct that has the potential to cause serious reputational harm or public harm to the Register of Professional Turners or its members. This list should not be considered exhaustive.

4. Appeals

4.1 A member who wishes to appeal against any disciplinary decision must do so in writing to the Chairman of the RPT or his/her deputy within ten days of the disciplinary decision being confirmed to them in writing, stating the grounds upon which they intend to appeal.
4.2 Once notice of a member’s appeal has been received the RPT will, within five working days, give the member written notice of a date, time and place of the appeal meeting.
4.3 The decision of the appeal chairperson will be given to the member in writing within five working days of the appeal meeting but will not be given at the appeal meeting. The chairperson’s decision is final and there is no further right of appeal.

5 .Serving Committee members

In the event that a serving committee member has to undergo disciplinary process he/she is to step down from the committee until such times as the process has been completed. The member can re-join the committee at the discretion of the management committee except in the case of gross misconduct.

6. Conduct of disciplinary meetings

Committee members attending disciplinary meetings should take great care to remember that no matter the outcome of a disciplinary meeting the member in question will still need to earn a living from turning. Removal from the Register is not to be taken lightly as this action could result in an adverse effect on the member’s earning potential and their ability to recruit new customers. Removal from the Register should only be taken as a last resort.
6.1 At all stages of disciplinary procedure actions taken and decisions made must be recorded in writing and may be used as a reference for future disciplinary meetings.

7. Review

This policy was written on 16th September 2016 and accepted into the RPT Constitution on 23rd November 2016 it should be reviewed after twelve months to ensure it is still fit for purpose and thereafter every three years.

8. References

RPT complaints procedure