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Complaints Policy and Process

If you are dissatisfied with a service that UK Coaching has provided or feel we have treated you unfairly with a decision taken, you may wish to make a complaint. This document sets out our policy and procedures for dealing with the different types of grievance we may receive, explains how you can raise a complaint, and lets you know what you can expect from us if you do so.

Version: 1.0 | Author: Head of Operations | Date Modified: July 2022 | Next Reviewed: June 2023

Section One: General information about complaints made to UK Coaching

Our Values

UK Coaching’s organisational values are: We Collaborate, We Coach, We Care and We Champion Innovation. As such, we set high expectations when it comes to the standard of service we provide to our customers and stakeholders. We also regularly review our standards in light of feedback from a wide variety of interested parties; including our partners, funders, customers, regulators, our people, and, of course, coaches.

We are confident of providing a high-quality service and would be disappointed if there were occasions where you felt this was not the case. It is important, therefore, that should you feel you have encountered a level of service or a response from us that is below your expectations, you raise any concerns you may have with us immediately so that we may address them without delay and consider the implementation of appropriate changes.

Our Guiding Principles

We are committed to resolving complaints effectively and without unnecessary delay. Wherever possible and where appropriate we will try to resolve any matters informally but, if we can’t, we will provide a clear escalation route that is fair and impartial.

If we have got something wrong, we will apologise and take prompt action to put the matter right. If we can resolve your matter by clarifying our position or explaining our decision-making process, we will do so.

  • You will not be disadvantaged in your future dealings with us as a result of your contact.
  • We will respect your privacy at all times and ensure that your matter is treated confidentially.


This policy and associated processes apply to the activities of UK Coaching and UK Coaching Solutions, its employed staff and anybody who is contracted to work for us.

UK Coaching is the lead agency for coaching in the UK. We are here to support people to deliver great coaching and to support those organisations who recruit, support and deploy coaches.

Please note, this UK Coaching-focused policy does not include any activities involving our Awarding Organisation (AO) 1st4sport Qualifications.

If you are unhappy about the way an examination or assessment was conducted, or you suspect malpractice or maladministration may have occurred, please visit www.1st4sportqualifications.com.

Types of complaints we can help with

  • If you feel we have provided poor customer service or treated you unfairly in relation to one of our products or services, or that product or service has failed to meet your expectations, see Products and Services.
  • If you wish to raise a concern or complaint about a member of our team or wider contracted workforce, see People.
  • If you wish to raise a safeguarding concern, complaint or disclosure, see Safeguarding.
  • If you wish to raise a concern around data privacy or protection in relation to information we hold about you, see Privacy or Data Protection.
  • If you feel we have made an incorrect decision over the result of an award we have issued, see Awards.
  • If you disagree with a decision taken around a programme we are responsible for delivering, see Programmes.

Complaints we can't help with

Generally speaking, we will not be able to consider your complaint if:

  • You wish to make it anonymously.
  • You make it via an unofficial or unsupported channel.
  • Your complaint is about an organisation that we work in partnership with, unless your complaint is relating to a safeguarding concern.
  • Your complaint is about a general coach who has no affiliation to UK Coaching, unless your complaint is relating to a safeguarding concern.

Our process

Complaints can be made to us in writing or, depending on the nature of your grievance, sometimes verbally.

We ask you to set out the reasons for your dissatisfaction or concern clearly along with details of the person you dealt with, provide copies of any background information you consider relevant and outline any action you think we could take to resolve the matter.

Complaints should always be made within 20 working days of the incident giving rise to your concern. We may, at our discretion, consider complaints raised after 20 working days if there has been an understandable reason for the delay.

If you make a complaint, we will ask you to provide your name and contact details; we will only use this information for the purposes of handling your complaint and will not disclose it to anyone else without your consent.

We may need to contact other parties (without disclosing your identity) in order to properly investigate your complaint. If you do not wish us to do so you must tell us, although we reserve the right to refer serious matters to relevant enforcement authorities at any time.

We will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days and provide you with contact details for the member of staff looking into the matter.

We will aim to provide a response as quickly as possible and within 20 working days, but if we need longer to consider your complaint we will explain why and tell you when you can expect to receive a response.

If, at any stage, you are unclear about how to make a complaint or feel you need further advice, you should contact our Chief Operating Officer:

Chief Operating Officer

UK Coaching

2 City Walk


LS11 9AR

Email: [email protected].

Section Two: Our procedures

Products and Services

Our Customer Care team is on hand to take your call or deal with your email enquiry. Our lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.00pm
  • Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm
  • Closed weekends

This team can help with any complaints around what we classify as products and services, which are generally available to purchase via ukcoaching.org. Typical examples are our coach education workshops, eLearning, membership and insurance products.

You can call us on 0113 274 4802 or email [email protected] where our team will endeavour to:

  • Respond to all enquiries we receive (by telephone or email) promptly.
  • Do our best to resolve any matters you raise immediately, or within as short a period of time as possible.
  • Ensure we deal with you in a respectful, friendly and supportive way at all times.
  • Listen to and respond positively to your feedback.

Step 1 (Informal)

The initial aim for all grievances should be to try to resolve any problem informally at the earliest opportunity. This may include the complainant speaking to the person who dealt with you from the outset if you feel comfortable doing so.

If the complaint directly relates to a service provided by UK Coaching, the complainant should request contact with the Senior Customer Care Manager in the first instance, to see if an informal resolution can be found prior to raising a formal complaint.

Step 2 (Formal Complaint)

If this is not possible, or if you are not satisfied with the help provided, please send a written communication to us with the following details to [email protected], using the words ‘Product/Service Complaint’ in the subject line.

Details required:

  • your full name and contact details (including a daytime telephone number and email address);
  • a full description of your complaint (including the subject matter plus dates, times and any reference numbers if known);
  • names of the people you have dealt with so far, and copies of any documents or letters connected with the complaint.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, a complaint should normally be made within 20 working days of the event or purchase you are complaining about.

Step 3

The complaint details and evidence are evaluated, and an investigation is conducted by the relevant Senior Customer Care manager. Acknowledgement will be sent to you within 2 working days of receipt.

Step 4

On completion of any investigation, a response will be made to you by the Senior Customer Care Manager, and any recommendations and remedial actions identified and taken where appropriate.


If you are not satisfied with our response to your formal complaint, you should write to the Chief Operating Officer requesting a further review of the matter.

The Chief Operating Officer may delegate the task of responding to your complaint to another member of the Senior Management or Executive Team.

The Chief Operating Officer (or delegated colleague) will review the facts, consider any information you have provided to us, and also review our prior handling of your complaint before writing to you to tell you the outcome and explain any action that we propose to take.

Our refund and cancellation policies can be found in our Terms and Conditions, which relate to all our products and services.

We would strongly encourage you to read and understand these before logging either an informal or a formal complaint.


We treat safeguarding very seriously. Our Safeguarding and Protecting Children (SPC) workshops and resources meet the key safeguarding learning needs of coaches and other sport’s staff and volunteers. The NSPCC and its Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) fully support the work we do, which aims to help organisations and individuals act to ensure that current and future generations have the best experience of sport and physical activity.

We believe that it is imperative that anyone involved in physical activity/sports’ provision for children and young people is alert to:

  • Possible indicators of abuse and neglect.
  • Risks that individual or potential abusers may pose to children.
  • Understanding what action(s) they should take, should concerns arise.

Therefore, we have published a separate Safeguarding Policy that equips all members of our staff and contracted workforce with the ability to properly handle any concern that is reported to the organisation via the channels available to the public via our website, during our courses via our tutor network, and via our Customer Care team via direct telephone calls into the organisation. This policy has been written in line with the 2018 statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children.’ 

View the Safeguarding Policy for details on how to raise a safeguarding concern.


We always strive to do the right thing, we take responsibility for our actions, we consider the implications of our actions on others, and we will challenge unethical and non-inclusive practices and behaviours linked to our organisational values.

We have a Staff Code of Conduct that contains guidance for employees on the standard of behaviour that we expect and explains procedures that will be followed should these not be met.

As an Inclusive Employer, Mindful Employer and rated a ‘Very Good’ company to work for by Best Companies, these policies and procedures are in place to ensure that all staff maintain reasonable standards of conduct, performance and attendance to contribute to the smooth running of the organisation. To maintain acceptable standards of behaviour, we will deal with issues relating to bullying and harassment, including racial and sexual harassment, under this policy.

All offers of employment are subject to receipt of references that we find to be satisfactory. All employees are asked to undertake a DBS check and their continued employment will be reviewed on the basis of the report.

We also deploy a contracted workforce of tutors or assessors to deliver some of our products and services. Every member of the contracted workforce is required to obtain and provide UK Coaching and its subsidiaries with an up-to-date DBS certificate.

Applicants to the workforce are required to complete a tutor criteria form. The form seeks explicit information about their training and experience. The workforce is selected on their suitability to meet the job specification requirements and responsibilities. Applicants will receive confirmation of their application/interview in writing. If the outcome is positive, arrangements are made for induction and any relevant training. New members of the contracted workforce are then required to agree, in writing, to abide by the UK Coaching policies and procedures.

As part of the recruitment and renewal of services for our contracted workforce, we undergo thorough due diligence checks to ensure everything is in place. These checks include having a DBS check, holding appropriate insurance, relevant qualifications, and confirmation of regular Continuous Professional Development (CPD) activities.

We expect exemplary conduct from our all of staff and contracted workforce. If you have any concerns about the conduct of one of our direct employees or our contracted workforce, you should request a call back from our People & Culture team by emailing [email protected].

Privacy or data protection

We're committed to keeping your information safe and putting you in control. We care about being fair and treating your data with care because we are committed to doing the right thing.

So, when it comes to the way we communicate with you and handle your data, we want nothing to come as a surprise to you. 

We believe information about you, belongs to you, full stop. We are custodians of your data, and we will always respect your privacy.

Our privacy policy will help you understand the things we do and the long-term commitment we've made to make our privacy promise a reality.

View our Privacy Policy for details on how to raise a privacy or data protection concern or complaint.


We host or organise events such as the UK Coaching Awards aimed at celebrating the success of or raising the profile of coaching.

In general, potential winners have been nominated by a third party as part of a nomination process. We subsequently contact nominees and request they complete a validation form that contains the following set of requirements:

  • I confirm that I have read in full and adhere to the UK Coaching Code of Practice for Sports Coaches.
  • I have never had a claim brought or threatened against me in connection with my coaching role.
  • I have never been expelled by a governing body of sport or other relevant organisation, nor had my employment suspended and/or terminated by my employer.
  • I confirm that I am not currently suspended or under investigation by any National Governing Body, Governing Body, Regulatory Authority or independent third party.
  • I understand that if I am awarded as a winner or selected as a participant and subsequently either (i) a claim is threatened and/or brought against me in connection with my coaching role; (ii) I am expelled by a governing body of sport or other such relevant organisation; and/or (iii) my employment is terminated and/or suspended by my employer, then I may be stripped of my award.

If you believe that a decision we have made around one of our awards is incorrect and you wish to make a complaint, please send a written communication directly to our events team via [email protected].

Details required:

  • your full name and contact details (including a daytime telephone number and email address);
  • a full description of your complaint (including the subject matter plus dates, times and any reference numbers if known);
  • names of the people you have dealt with so far, and copies of any documents or letters connected with the complaint.


As the lead agency for coaching in the UK, we deliver coach development programmes directly to individuals or via selected partners.

These programmes should not be confused with our coach education workshops that are covered under Products and Services.

*The series of programmes support coaches working across the Talent and Performance stages of the athlete development pathway, preparing them to develop their current coaching practice and future coaching perspective and generally carry names such as ‘Focus’, ‘Horizon’, ‘Elevate’ and ‘Evolve’.

In general, nominees have been put forward by a third party to participate and we subsequently contact nominees and request they complete a validation form mirroring that above relating to our Awards.

On occasion, the popularity of these programmes can lead to oversubscription and our Coaching Delivery Unit will skills match participants to places based on the individual requirements of the programme.

If you believe that a decision we have made is incorrect, or you wish to raise a concern around the delivery of one of our programmes, please send a written communication directly to our People & Culture team via [email protected].

Details required:

  • your full name and contact details (including a daytime telephone number and email address);
  • a full description of your complaint (including the subject matter plus dates, times and any reference numbers if known);
  • names of the people you have dealt with so far, and copies of any documents or letters connected with the complaint.

Section Three: What we expect from you in return

We understand that if you have a complaint, you are likely to feel passionate about it. We also understand that you may feel angry, frustrated or upset by the circumstances that led to your complaint and that this may cause you to act in a way that is out of character. However, we expect you to be polite and courteous to our staff at all times. We will not accept aggressive, threatening, or abusive behaviour.

Unreasonable complaints are complaints that, because of the nature of the contact or frequency with which the complaint is pursued, hinder our ability to properly consider the matters at hand or place unwarranted demands on staff time. Unreasonable complaints may be justified grievances pursued in inappropriate ways, or they may be complaints that appear to have no substance, or that have already been fully investigated or responded to.

If we deem a complaint unreasonable, we will take action that is proportionate to the nature and frequency of the complainant’s contact with UK Coaching. The decision to apply measures to manage unreasonable complaints will be taken by the Chief Operating Officer and the complainant will be informed of the measures in writing.

Examples of unreasonably persistent complainant behaviour include but are not limited to:

  • The introduction of trivial or irrelevant new information and expecting it to be taken into account and commented on, or raising large numbers of detailed but unimportant questions and insisting they are all fully answered.
  • Adoption of a ‘scattergun’ approach: pursuing a complaint with one department and, at the same time, with other departments within the organisation.
  • Making excessive demands on the time and resources of staff while the complaint is being investigated e.g., excessive telephoning or sending e-mails to numerous staff, writing lengthy complex letters every few days and expecting immediate responses.
  • Submission of repeat complaints, after the complaints process has been completed, essentially about the same issue but with additions/variations that the complainant insists make these ‘new’ complaints which he/she wants to be put through the full complaints procedure.
  • Refusal to accept the decision reached on the complaint, repeatedly arguing the point and complaining about the decision.