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In this policy:


Our Definitions:

  • “The 401 Foundation” or “we”, “our” means The 401 Foundation.

  • The 401 Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (1175605), as well as a registered company limited by guarantee in England and Wales (10688031). Our registered office address is The 401 Foundation, 9 Biscay Drive, Portishead, North Somerset, BS20 7GY

  • “Website” means any website under the ownership or control of The 401 Foundation from which a link has been created to these terms and conditions and all related domain and microsites;

  • “Material” means all of the information, data, text, graphics, links, or computer code or other material published on, contained or available on the Website; and

  • “Privacy Policy” means our Privacy Policy.




This policy applies to The 401 Foundation and any subsidiary company under its control. 


The 401 Foundation is a charity that aims to build a brighter, more compassionate future where everyone can easily access the mental health support they need.

The 401 Foundation works hard to provide an efficient and effective service to all. However, we recognise that there may be occasions where we fall short of expectations and individuals may not be completely satisfied.


We believe that all individuals should have the opportunity to provide feedback on whether our standards have been met and all feedback, both positive and negative, should be acknowledged. Should this feedback be negative, and an individual is dissatisfied, we have a complaints process which we follow to enable us to put things right.


This policy applies to all stakeholders who wish to make a complaint about any of The 401 Foundation’s services or activities.



The purpose of this policy is to ensure that: 


  • Making a complaint is as easy as possible;

  • We deal with complaints promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially;

  • We respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken;

  • Complaints are resolved satisfactorily at the lowest possible level of formality;

  • We learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints procedure.


Informal Complaints:


If you have a complaint you should speak to the volunteer, member of staff or manager who has responsibility for the work in the first instance. They are best placed to resolve most problems. However, they will direct you to another organisation, department or process if the complaint cannot be dealt with by The 401 Foundation under this policy (for example in the case of safeguarding issues) or does not fall within the 401 Foundation’s remit.


In any communication with our team, please provide the details of your complaint, any supporting information, the consequence of this complaint and what action or response you feel would help to resolve the situation. Our volunteers and staff will work with you to understand why you are dissatisfied and, if possible, act to resolve the matter immediately without need for a formal process to be initiated. If you are still not satisfied with the response, or feel that the issue should be brought to the attention of The 401 Foundation then please raise a formal written complaint, as detailed below.


In order to ensure that complaints are dealt with properly, we will not usually accept complaints that are made more than 12 months after the event being complained about or brought to your attention. 


Formal Complaints Procedure:


Stage 1:


  • In the first instance, formal complaints are submitted in writing by email to Shaun Tymon, Chair of Trustees -

  • The Chair of Trustees will then appoint an Investigating Officer from within the Board whose role it is to investigate the complaint and communicate their findings to the complainant.

  • A formal complaint will always be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt and we aim to respond to you in full within 20 working days.


Stage 2:


  • If you are not satisfied with the response to the complaint having followed the procedure above, then you can write to The 401 Foundation Chief Executive and Founder, Ben Smith -, and ask for your complaint and the response to be reviewed.

  • You will need to outline why you are dissatisfied with the initial response.

  • You can expect the Chief Executive to acknowledge your request within 5 working days of receipt and they will arrange for the complaint to be reviewed by a member of the Board of Trustees who is neither the subject of the complaint nor have been involved with handling the complaint. This will involve a full independent review of the handling of the complaint and all associated evidence.

  • The outcome of the review will be communicated within 20 working days, and the decision of the Board will be final.




The 401 Foundation aim is to resolve all matters as quickly as possible. However, inevitably some issues will be more complex and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated and reviewed. Consequently, timescales given for handling and responding to complaints are indicative. If a matter requires more detailed investigation, you will receive an interim response describing what is being done to deal with the matter, and when a full reply can be expected and from whom.


Communication with the complainant:

It may be necessary to contact complainants during our investigations to enable us to bring the complaint to an amicable resolution. Where most appropriate, this will be done in writing via email, allowing for a record of the contact to be established. If it is more appropriate for that communication to be done verbally face-to-face, virtually or by telephone we will always formalise any verbal contact in writing following an outcome or action being agreed.


Vexatious and Persistent Complaints:


If a complaint is considered vexatious and/or persistent, we may bring the communication to a close.


  • We define a  vexatious complaint as, a complaint instituted without sufficient grounds and serving only to cause annoyance to the receiver of the complaint; an oppressive complaint (with unjust severity); or otherwise an abuse of the procedures for dealing with complaints or conduct matters. 

  • We define a persistent complaint as, a complaint that is substantially the same as a previous complaint (whether made by or on behalf of the same or a different complainant); contains no fresh allegations which significantly affect the account of the previous complaint; no fresh evidence, being evidence, which was not reasonably available at the time the previous complaint was made, is tendered in support of it. 




Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both The 401 Foundation and the complainant maintain confidentiality. If exceptional circumstances dictate that confidentiality cannot be maintained, then the complainant will always be advised of the situation.


Monitoring and review: 


The 401 Foundation is committed to continuous improvement and will record and monitor complaints to enable a continual review of its processes and procedures. 


This policy will be reviewed annually, last review date was March 2023.


Contact us:

  • If you have any questions regarding this policy you can email us at

  • If you would rather send us a letter, please send for attention of The 401 Foundation, 9 Biscay Drive, Portishead, North Somerset, BS20 7GY

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