Schools, other settings and trusts have indicated to HFL that complaints are a growing concern as they increase in complexity and volume.  Effective complaint management takes time and can become overwhelming and unmanageable for schools.

In response to feedback from schools HFL is offering a new service run by an experienced complaints professional to support staff and governors with complaints with both self-service tools and bespoke support. 

  • Complaints toolkit

  • Complaint plans

  • Complaint reviews

  • Independent investigations

  • Panel preparation

  • Process flowcharts

  • Process reviews

  • Webinars

Complaints Toolkit

As part of the new service offer, a low-cost Complaints Toolkit has been created to enable schools, settings and trusts to effectively manage school-based complaints.  The Toolkit will be reviewed annually, with helpdesk support available throughout the year and a termly webinar being released.  It has been designed to save school staff and governors time in dealing with concerns and complaints and trying to manage complainants’ expectations by giving suggestions and examples.  The Toolkit provides step-by-step guidance on the complaints process from start to finish, complete with timescales, a suite of suggested responses, essential do’s and don’ts and a summary of the process.

To pre-order your toolkit, or to receive a reminder when it is launched, please complete the expression of interest form. 


Complaint plans

Schools, settings and trusts can request assistance in planning how to deal with a complaint.  This includes helping them to establish whether the complaint can be accepted or not, breaking it down into more manageable parts, and identifying how to actually investigate the complaint, including deciding who to interview as part of the investigation and what policies and procedures are relevant to the situation.


Complaint reviews

When a complaint has been investigated by a member of school staff or a governor, a Complaint Review involves checking that the school’s complaints policy and procedure has been followed and that the investigation has addressed the issues at the heart of the complaint.   If it hasn’t, support and guidance is given to ensure that the investigation is completed to the required standard.  Assistance is also given with the complaint response if this has not yet been completed.


Independent investigations

Independent Investigations can be requested where a situation has reached a stalemate and an external view is needed.  The Independent Investigator will offer to meet with both the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) on behalf of the school and they will request access to all of the documentation relevant to the complaint.  They will then produce a report setting out their findings and any recommendations arising for the commissioning school to consider in accordance with its complaints process.


Panel preparation

Meeting with school staff and governors to help them get ready for a panel hearing of a complaint at the second formal stage of the school’s complaints process.  This involves talking through what the hearing process entails, points of good practice to focus on, as well as things to avoid and answering any questions they may have.  These sessions are particularly useful for staff and governors who may not have attended a panel for a long time and for people who have never been to one.


Process reviews

Schools, settings and trusts can request a review of their published complaints policy by a complaints professional who will check that it complies with the relevant legislation and statutory guidance.  They will also provide feedback and make suggestions, for example on how the policy could be improved further or made clearer.  


Process flowcharts

Drawn up by a complaints professional to map out the key points and actions within each stage of the complaints process so that essential information is available at a glance.



In addition to the termly webinar that will be released as part of the Complaints Toolkit, schools, settings and trusts will be able to request bespoke webinars delivered by a complaints professional.  They can be delivered live with the opportunity for asking questions, etc, or pre-recorded for staff and governors to watch at their convenience. 


Find out more

If you’d like to know more about how our experienced complaints professional can help support you please email


Contact us today to find out how we can help you.