Edinburgh Horror Festival [EHF] Complaints Policy and Procedure

    • The EHF strives to be an inclusive organisation, and providing quality events throughout the year, as well as the primary event in October.

    • We will take seriously any complaint that is brought to us, and in this document highlight the process and what you can expect should you raise a complaint.

    • Anyone engaging with our events, and the process of creating them, can raise a complaint – whether that be audiences, partners, venue staff, acts, performers, clients etc

    • This policy is available to anyone who requests it. The copy will be available primarily as a digital document, but printed copies are available upon request.

    • We will keep a record of all complaints raised and how they are dealt with.

    • A digital copy of this policy will be made a part of the Participants Handbook which is provided each year to those bringing shows to the EHF.

    • A reference to its existence will be placed within printed and digital programmes so that audiences are aware of the policy.

 

  1. What is the purpose of this document

    • To ensure people are aware of how to make a complaint, and what the procedure will be upon that complaint being submitted.

    • To set out a time frame during which the complaint will be dealt with.

    • A way to record complaints so that we can improve our organisation for all.

    • To assure people that we will listen to all complaints and take them seriously.

    • To assure people that we will investigate properly and that they will be informed of our conclusions and any further action we are to take if necessary.

 

    • What is a complaint?

      • A statement of frustration, dissatisfaction, or offence – justified or otherwise.

      • The statement should relate directly to the activities of the EHF including behaviour and actions of acts, participants, audiences, venues, partners our events.

    • What is not a complaint?

      • A statement not related to the activity of the EHF itself.

      • Subjective opinions on shows you have seen on our bill.

      • Complaints regarding acts, venues, participants relating to activity that is not part of the EHF.

        1. Where there is a safeguarding issue related to venues, participants, or acts this should be raised separately, in relation to our Vulnerable Persons Policy.

    • Is a concern a complaint?

      • A concern is not a complaint but may develop into a complaint should it not be addressed.Concerns should be raised immediately with EHF staff in person or via a message to our email or social media.

      • A concern is a belief that actions, or behaviours left unchecked could give rise to a complaint.

      • The EHF board may decide that the severity of a concern warrants it being investigated fully as if it were a complaint.

      • If you are dissatisfied with our response to a concern you may raise that issue as a complaint as set out in this document.

    • A person may make a complaint if the EHF has itself, or allowed it’s associates to provide discriminatory service, unfair service, unacceptable quality of service or failed to act in a proper way.

 

Complaints procedure

  1. The EHF aims to resolve complaints quickly – the exact time frame for this will be dependent on when a complaint is raised and the nature of the complaint. 

  2. The procedure is as follows:

    • Step One: Making a complaint officially to the EHF Board

    • Step Two: The Board investigates the complaint

    • Step Three: The Board informs the complainant of the findings and decision

    • Step Four: The complainant may appeal the decision

    • Step Five: Secondary investigation and confirmation of findings

    • Step Six: Final decision

 

  1. Step One: Making a complaint

    • The complaint must be made in writing.It should be made via our official email [complaints@edinburghhorrorfestival.co.uk] or by physical mail to: Edinburgh Horror Festival, C/o The Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, Edinburg, EH1 1LG

    • Where a complainant is unable, due to disability, to write the complaint themselves, they may engage a third person to compose the complaint, as long as the relationship is made clear and it is clearly stated the complainant agrees with the composition.

    • The complaint should include the complainant's name and address. An email address should also be included where applicable.If the complainant remains anonymous this limits the board in what it can do.

    • The complaint should include the date, time, and location of the complaint.

    • The complaint should include the person and / or event the complaint relates to.If the name of the exact person is unknown, give as much detail about that person as possible.

    • The complaint should include the nature of the complaint, the details of what happened, why the complainant is making the complaint, and if applicable, what the complainant would like to see as an outcome [we do not guarantee that the desired outcome of the complainant will match the board's findings and conclusions even if a complaint is upheld].

    • Within 24 hours of receipt of a digital complaint, and within 5 working days of a physical complaint, the complainant will have their communication acknowledged and the investigation will begin.

  2. Step two: Investigation

    • Where the complaint does not directly relate to a member of the board, the board will itself begin the investigation.

    • Where the complaint does involve a member of the board, that person will not be involved in the investigation beyond being interview as part of the investigation.

    • The complaint will be investigated fully – this may involve interviewing people present, reviewing footage if it exists, reviewing written communication [in line with Data Protection legislation].

    • The person investigating will be a member of the board.

  3. Step three: Outcome

    • If a complaint is upheld, an apology will be offered in writing along with details of any action to be taken.If the initial complaint was anonymous, the outcome will be logged along with any action to be taken.

    • Investigations will take a variable amount of time depending on when the complaint is made and how complex it is.We aim to resolve complaints within six weeks of receipt of the complaint. At busier times of the year- such as during the planning and implementation of the main Festival itself, this time may be extended.

    • If the complainant is unsatisfied with the findings, they may appeal the findings.

    • If the conclusion of the investigation suggests an illegal act has occurred, we will refer the incident to the police.

  4. Step Four & Five: Appeals

    • If the complainant remains unsatisfied, they may request a review. This should be requested in the same manner as raising a complaint.

    • The complaint will be re-investigated by a different board member or team.

    • If deemed necessary, a non-organising trustee or trustees will verify the findings.

      • A non-organising trustee is someone not on the organising committee which consists of the Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and Administrator.

    • The conclusion will either uphold the board's initial findings or will uphold the complaint. If the latter, an apology will be issued in writing along with details of any action taken.

    • If the appeal upholds the board's findings, there is no further right of appeal and the complaint and related outcome is final.

    • If the complainant is still unsatisfied, they could approach either a solicitor, Citizens Advice or the charity commission to see if there are further actions that can be taken. This should be done within one month of the receipt of the appeal.

 

  1. Data protection, GDPR, and privacy

    • The EHF will require to retain your personal information provided for the purpose of the investigation. The information will be held securely and not shared with any third party excepting:

    • Though we will strive to keep details of the complainant anonymous when investigating, this may not always be possible depending on the nature of the complaint. It may be necessary to provide some information to others whilst investigating – but this will only be done if the investigation can not proceed otherwise. You understand and agree that where necessary, we may share usually confidential information with third parties if it is essential to conducting an investigation. This may include the person about whom the complaint is made.

    • Confidential information will not be shared publicly.

    • All confidential information relating to the complaint and complainant will be destroyed in November of the following year.

 

    • Where the complainant believes an illegal act has occurred, they are advised to report the incident to the police as well as, or instead of, submitting a complaint.

    • Malicious and unfounded complaints may be referred to the police if the board believes they breach relevant communication or harassment laws.

    • Complaints that are simply a dislike of events, people or venues may be dismissed without investigation.

    • Complaints that are critique or concern may not warrant a full investigation.

    • Some complaints, due to their nature, may not require a full investigation and can be addressed quicker.

    • Complaints related solely to venues, where the EHF is not involved at that time, should be directed to the venue itself and not the EHF.

    • Complaints related solely to shows and acts, where the EHF is not involved at that time, should be directed to the relevant act or production company and not the EHF.

    • Complaints related solely to third party events, organisations, or people, where the EHF is not involved at that time, should be directed to the relevant party and not the EHF.