Compliments and Complaints Policy

Sense International welcomes compliments and complaints from anybody connected to us, wherever they are in the world.

We are committed to celebrating when we do something well; but when issues arise, we will work hard to manage these fairly and effectively.  While we always want to get it right first time, we recognise that complaints can be valuable in strengthening accountability and improving the quality of our work.

Complaints may relate to a wide range of issues. In most cases, the procedure set out below will be used to address these complaints; however, in some circumstances, we may make reference to other Sense International policies and procedures when responding to your complaint.

The principles of our Compliments and Complaints Policy

Sense International will:

We discourage anonymous complaints as this makes it difficult to investigate thoroughly, and impossible to respond to the person making the complaint; however, we will investigate anonymous complaints as far as we can.

We cannot usually deal with complaints made later than 12 months after the event has occurred. In some circumstances, we will consider a complaint outside that time period if you can give a good reason for not bringing it to our attention earlier and if, in our view, it is still possible to investigate the complaint effectively and fairly.

We will not be able to deal with a complaint which is judged to be vexatious, or subject to current investigation by any regulatory body or other legal authorities in the UK or in other countries.

Making a complaint

If you have a compliment or complaint, we want to hear from you as soon as possible. It will be helpful if you inform a member of Sense International staff, or partner staff, directly or in writing. You can find contact details for all of our offices here.

In order to resolve a complaint, we will need you to provide some information:

If you have tried to resolve your complaint by contacting a member of staff locally, but remain dissatisfied with the outcome, or if your complaint is of a serious nature, we ask you to contact us using the following details:

Telephone: +44 7973 445635 (UK and overseas)

+44 121 415 6752 (UK and overseas)

0800 731 9008 (Freephone – UK only)


Address:      Sense International, 101 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9LG

Our response

We are committed to addressing issues in a fair and transparent fashion, and seeking adequate resolution as quickly as possible.

Informal complaints

If you make a complaint and it is possible to resolve the issue quickly and informally, then we will do so. We will look into the cause of your complaint and if something has gone wrong, offer you an explanation together with an apology, and tell you what action we are going to take. We aim to address informal complaints within five working days.

Formal complaints

We will formally acknowledge any complaint within five working days. Where you complain in person or using the telephone, we will provide a written copy of your complaint. This is to ensure that we have understood the nature of your complaint.

We will give you the name of the Manager or Investigating Officer who will be looking into your complaint, and an outline of how your complaint will be handled.

We aim to complete the process of looking into your complaint and respond to you within 20 working days. If a complex investigation is necessary, it may take longer than this. We will contact you to explain any delay as far as we can, and will keep you updated, as appropriate.

All cases which involve only an internal investigation will be completed within six months at the latest; however, in a very small number of cases which involve external authorities, this may not be possible. We will try to keep you updated as far as possible.

If a complaint is upheld, the matter will be put right and future preventative action will be identified and implemented. You will be notified of the actions taken unless confidentiality and data protection requirements prevent this.

If you are still dissatisfied

If you remain dissatisfied with our response, you should tell us this. Your complaint will then be reviewed by another Manager or Investigating Officer, who will examine the processes that have led to the previous response. You will be told of their decision within a maximum of another 20 working days.

If you continue to feel dissatisfied following the conclusion of this internal review process, you may wish to register your complaint with a relevant regulatory body.

Regulatory bodies in the UK

Sense International is registered with the UK Charity Commission. If you have a serious complaint about the organisation, and you remain dissatisfied after the internal review, you can contact the UK Charity Commission directly.

If your complaint relates to fundraising practices or a fundraising advert, and you remain dissatisfied after the internal review, you can contact the UK Fundraising Regulator or Advertising Standards Authority.

If your complaint concerns a Sense International shop in England, and you remain dissatisfied after the internal review, you can contact Trading Standards England.

Regulatory bodies in other countries

As Sense International operates globally, in some circumstances it may be more appropriate to refer unresolved complaints to a relevant authority in the country of operation. Your local Sense International office will be able to provide further information.

Monitoring and learning

All compliments and complaints are monitored by the Director in the country of operation, and centrally by the Sense Complaints Officer and the Director of Sense International in the UK. Compliments and complaints relating to fundraising are monitored centrally by the Fundraising Department in the UK.

As an organisation that promotes collaborative learning as part of a commitment to delivering quality programmes, we will share key lessons learned with teams across the Sense International family.


If this policy is not written in your first language, or you require an accessible version, please speak to a member of Sense International staff or contact us. We will either arrange for the document to be translated or tell you what it means, using a telephone interpreter if necessary.

For further information, or to request a copy of the full Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure, please contact us.