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Complaints Policy

Complaints policy; for partners and other external stakeholders

Completion date: May 2022

Review date: May 2024

Policy Statement  

In fulfilling its mission, World Jewish Relief upholds its values and highest standards of professional and personal conduct.

We are deeply influenced by both our heritage and our commitment to the Jewish values of: Tzedakah (Justice), Hesed (Loving kindness), Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Welcoming the Stranger. These Jewish values complement the importance we attribute to the following principles: Partnership and Collaboration, Integrity, Action and Excellence and Humility.

These values and principles are at the heart of our Code of Conduct and expected behaviours and the recognition that partnerships are at the heart of our work and fundamental to ensuring we jointly transform the lives of people we support. Our programmes are delivered through our global network of local partners rooted in their own communities; we support partners to deliver their services, providing accompaniment, capacity development and strategic oversight. We are committed to building effective partnerships through which we respect and uphold the dignity of the participants we support.

We recognise that sometimes our values, and requirements on conduct, may not be upheld to the standard expected. If this is the case, we want and need to be informed. We welcome the information as an essential way to try and put things right and to improve our quality and effectiveness of our work. World Jewish Relief is committed to ensuring the confidentiality, transparency and accessibility of our Complaints Policy and procedures for all those working in organisations we partner with.

Who is this Policy for?  

We welcome complaints from any individual, group of individuals, or organisation who wants to complain about World Jewish Relief’s representatives or activities or the representatives or activities of a partner organisation World Jewish Relief works with. As we only work through partners to deliver programmes we recognise complaints from people and communities about programme/project activities and/or our representatives are likely to be submitted to our partners directly and managed through their own organisational processes. The primary purpose of this policy is therefore to ensure that partners have the ability to complain.

We also welcome complaints from individuals on behalf of another person, if they have been asked to do so for reasons such as a fear of repercussions, safety concerns or language barriers.

We recognise there may be some circumstances where individuals have good reasons for anonymity (for example fear of retaliation) so we also accept anonymous complaints. If a complaint is raised anonymously it is especially important that detailed information is provided as it may not be possible to pursue cases that lack enough information. It may not be possible to provide updates for anonymous complaints.

Definitions and Scope

Our Representatives, for the purposes of this policy, include employed staff, volunteers, consultants and any other person who is asked or authorised to carry out work for, or represent, World Jewish Relief.

Feedback is information shared about any aspect of a person’s experience with World Jewish Relief or an organisation with whom World Jewish Relief works. It can be positive, negative or neutral. It can encompass compliments, comments, suggestions, and concerns. Please email our Director of International Progammes and Partnerships at stacey@worldjewishrelief.org with this feedback.  In addition to this we aim to proactively ensure participant feedback is captured within individual projects as a way for people to share their experiences of our work on an ongoing basis.

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction that needs further investigation and a considered response. It is the need for investigation and response that makes a complaint distinct from other types of feedback and can cause some types of feedback, for example a concern, to become a complaint.

This policy only covers complaints. Whilst World Jewish Relief welcomes other types of feedback as important as per the above, but this policy focuses on guidance for managing complaints / expressions of dissatisfaction that require further investigation and a considered response. If you prefer a situation to be managed informally, we will try to take a flexible approach wherever possible. In these scenarios we will make a professional judgement based on the information shared and, as far as possible, with the involvement of the person sharing the information. Any type of feedback that suggests a serious breach of our code of conduct by our representatives, would have to be investigated, respecting confidentiality and the safety of any individuals concerned.

Table 1 lists example scenarios individuals can complain about. Table 2 lists scenarios that would not be considered as a complaint. These lists are not exhaustive.  Complaints about World Jewish Relief staff members are only accepted if the complaints concern these staff members in their capacity as staff members. This includes any time when staff visit partners, including outside of normal working hours. However, World Jewish Relief will not be liable in any way for conduct or behaviour by its staff committed outside of their working duties and responsibilities including during the course of their private lives or otherwise.

Table 1: Example of scenarios people can complain about

  • Situations that threaten the safety, security or well-being of individuals
  • Fraud, theft, bribes, any corrupt practices.
  • Exploitation of people and communities, staff or our representatives in any form.
  • Falsification of expense reports.
  • Unwanted, inappropriate or disrespectful sexual advances or harassment. (See our safeguarding policy)
  • Bias, rigging, collusion or other unfair practices in procurement procedures
  • Bullying, perceived threats, intimidation, favouritism, or belittlement.
  • Actual or perceived “conflicts of interest” in World Jewish Relief’s decision making.
  • Hostility to individuals due to race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other characteristic protected by law.
  • Theft or diversion of aid or resources
  • Corrupt or biased decisions to include or exclude people and communities.
  • Lax or inadequate monitoring of World Jewish Relief or partner performance or effectiveness.
  • Abuse of power or position in the delivery of programmes and projects.
  • Concern from a participant, stakeholder or staff member about the quality of services we or our partners have provided.
  • Inappropriate disclosure of confidential information.
  • Any other actions that may harm individuals or discredit World Jewish Relief’s reputation.
  • Concern about the conduct and behaviour of staff or volunteers or those representing World Jewish Relief when visiting partners or participants & communities we are supporting (See our Code of Conduct)

Table 2: A complaint is not:

  • A general query about World Jewish Relief’s work or requests for information
  • A request to amend records, for example, to correct an address
  • Information shared with us about matters unrelated to World Jewish Relief Related to Programme Support Agreement or other contractual disputes
  • Requests for support or to partner with World Jewish Relief

Policy Commitments

In welcoming and addressing complaints, World Jewish Relief commits to:


  • Work with partners to ensure they have suitable complaint mechanisms in place
  • Welcome and accept all complaints, take them seriously and, and manage them in a timely, fair and appropriate manner.
  • Ensure our complaints handling process is documented and in place and covers complaints about the delivery of our work, sexual exploitation and abuse, and other abuses of power.
  • Communicate how our mechanism can be accessed and the scope of issues it can address.
  • Report complaints to the relevant regulatory bodies and donors as required.
  • Refer any complaints that do not fall within the scope of our organisation to a relevant party in a manner consistent with good practice. For example, any complaints that indicate a possible criminal offence has been committed, must be referred to the statutory authorities responsible for investigating such matters, when it is safe to do so.

Transparency & Accessibility

  • Ensure the partners, people and communities we work with are provided with appropriate information about our organisation, the principles we adhere to, how we expect our representatives to behave, the programmes being implemented and what they intend to deliver.
  • Ensure the people and communities we work with are aware of the expected behaviour of our representatives, including organisational commitments made on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • Ensure communication is in languages, formats and media that are easily understood, respectful and culturally appropriate for different members of the community, especially vulnerable and marginalised groups.

Confidentiality & Safety

  • Manage complaints in a manner that prioritises the safety of the person raising the complaint and those affected at all stages.
  • Ensure information related to the complaint is only shared on a need-to-know basis among those directly handling or overseeing the complaint. As a general rule, names or personal details of alleged survivors, perpetrators, complainants or others involved will not be shared. If it is necessary to disclose information to 3rd parties this is decided on a case-by-case basis and, as far as possible, with the agreement of the person who has raised the complaint, except in cases of criminal activity.

Quality & Learning

  • Review and adapt or revise practices in light of analysis of complaints received and ongoing conversations with World Jewish Relief
  • Pay particular attention to inclusivity by considering the gender, age and diversity of those raising complaints.
  • Use analysis of anonymised complaints information as part of continuous improvement process.

Our Commitments to Partners  

World Jewish Relief only works through partners to deliver programmes.  Therefore, complaints from people and communities about programme/project activities and/or our representatives are likely to be submitted to our partners directly and managed through their own organisational processes.  As complaints from communities are more likely to be received and managed by our partners, although World Jewish Relief is open to people and communities contacting us as a way escalate complaints if needed, World Jewish Relief must be satisfied that the values and standards of personal and professional conduct of our partners align with our own, and that their organisational processes to receive and manage complaints align with our policy commitments. To help ensure this, World Jewish Relief will work with partners to ensure:

  • that partners have their own organisational processes to manage complaints
  • that World Jewish Relief monitor partner performance in relation to complaints handling
  • where required, World Jewish Relief will support partners to develop proportionate and appropriate Complaints Handling Mechanisms
  • that partners will advise World Jewish Relief of all serious complaints related to our funded projects or programmes, or about World Jewish Relief, our representatives, within 7 days (this includes but is not limited to allegations of serious misconduct e.g. fraud, corruption, theft, sexual exploitation and abuse of children or adults, and other abuses of power)
  • that partners will inform World Jewish Relief of proposals to resolve serious complaints, an expected timeframe, when the complaint has been finalised or if a resolution cannot be found
  • that partners accept World Jewish Relief may need to follow-up on specific complaints and provide support.
  • that complaints that do not fall within the scope of the partner organisation are referred to a relevant authority or organisation as appropriate.

How to Raise a Complaint with World Jewish Relief  

The best way for anyone wishing to complain or report a concern is to email complaints@worldjewishrelief.org or call us on +4420 8736 1250. Complaints can be submitted in any language.

It is helpful if you share your name and contact details as well as the detail of the complaint/concern (date, times, location(s)) and your relationship to World Jewish Relief. This allows those responding to be in contact if additional information is needed, and to keep individuals updated where appropriate. It can also help us ensure that individuals do not experience any negative consequences for raising a complaint/concern in good faith.

The complaints in the first instance will go to the Director of International Programmes and Partnerships who will deal with the complaint with sensitivity and thoroughness. Ideally, complaints should be made no later than 6 months from the date the individual became aware of the incident. However, we recognise that the circumstances of some complaints might make it difficult for individuals to come forward and therefore World Jewish Relief will investigate all sensitive cases without time limit.

How we respond to complaints

We manage complaints in accordance with the relevant internal policies and procedures. All procedures commit us to:

  • Acknowledge complaints as soon as is practically possible.
  • Provide the person raising the complaint with a contact point within the organisation and an outline of next steps.
  • Investigate all complaints in a manner appropriate to the content of the complaint, avoiding unnecessary delays.
  • Keep the person updated of progress and resolution, unless: – the situation means we must respect the privacy of individuals who may be affected
    • they have expressly indicated a preference not to receive a response
    • the complaint has been made anonymously and this is not possible
  • Complaints of malpractice will be investigated by the appropriate Senior Leader / Director unless the complaint is against the Director or is in any way related to the actions of the Director. In such cases, the complaint should be passed to World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive for referral.
  • In the case of a complaint, which is any way connected with but not against the Director, the Chief Executive will nominate a Senior Manager to act as the alternative investigating officer.
  • Complaints against the Chief Executive should be passed to the Chair of World Jewish Relief who will nominate an appropriate investigating officer

Due to the varied nature of these sorts of complaints, which may involve internal investigators and / or the police, it is not possible to lay down precise timescales for such investigations. The investigating officer should ensure that the investigations are undertaken as quickly as possible without affecting the quality and depth of those investigations.

The investigating officer, should as soon as practically possible, send a written acknowledgement of the concern to the complainant and thereafter report back to them in writing the outcome of the investigation and on the action that is proposed. If the investigation is a prolonged one, the investigating officer should keep the complainant informed, in writing, as to the progress of the investigation and as to when it is likely to be concluded.

Referral: We will report any complaints involving criminal activity to the relevant authorities responsible for further investigation, when safe to do so.

Onward Reporting: We report statistics and individual serious complaints to the relevant regulatory bodies, Trustee Board and donors as required.

Appealing a complaint decision  

If the complainant is not satisfied that their concern is being properly dealt with by the investigating officer, they have the right to raise it in confidence with the Chief Executive, Paul Anticoni. This can be done via as a new complaint, or in writing, by letter or e-mail, to the following address: email: paul@worldjewishrelief.org, address World Jewish Relief, 54 Crewys Road, NW2 2AD, phone +44 (0)208 736 1251.

After an Appeal

After the internal appeal, there is no further internal process. Individuals may however still contact our UK Regulator, The Charity Commission. Outside the UK, we will notify the complainant if there is an external procedure, but in any event, individuals may contact the UK Charity Commission following the procedures on their website www.gov.uk/complain-about-charity.