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Complaints procedure

BirdLife International takes pride in the organisation and the work that we do but accepts that there may be times when we do not meet our own high standards. We take complaints very seriously and view them as an opportunity to improve for the future.  We are always very grateful to hear from people who are willing to, constructively, take the time to help us improve.

Our Policy is to:

  • To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
  • To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
  • To make sure everyone at BirdLife knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
  • To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are maintained or repaired
  • To gather information which helps us to improve what we do

NB. This policy relates to third parties. Employees should register complaints to HR in line with our Grievance policy.

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of BirdLife International. Please note, there are certain matters, due to confidentiality, that we may not be in a position to respond to but we will inform you in our response if this is the case.

Complaints Procedure

How to contact us?

Contact can be made via email [email protected], via the online form here or via telephone: +44 (0)1223 277 318

Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm BST. Outside of these hours you can always leave us a message and a contact number and someone will return your call.

Or you can write to the Chief Operations Officer at:

BirdLife International
The David Attenborough Building | Pembroke Street | Cambridge | CB2 3QZ | UK

Please include your name, address and contact telephone number in your email or letter so that we can get back in touch with you easily.  Please advise if you are acting for yourself or on behalf of others.  Please note that during COVID-19, our response to written complaints may be delayed.

Response time

We endeavour to respond fully and conclusively to all complaints within ten working days. However, you will receive an acknowledgement of your complaint within the first 5 days of receipt. Wherever possible we will deal with it more quickly, if we think it will take longer we will let you know.

You can contact us in whichever way is most convenient to you and we will respond to you via the same method unless instructed otherwise.

In more complex situations where an immediate response is not possible, we will investigate the matter and get back to you as quickly as we can. We will record your complaint and between us we can agree on the best way and time to get back in contact with you.

Our Process

We will work to resolve the complaint, correct mistakes and address concerns in an appropriate way. Please feel free when contacting us about a complaint, to let us know how you think it could be resolved. We want to reach the best possible outcome and two heads are better than one.

We will always treat you with courtesy and respect, listen to what you say, keep you informed about our progress, provide you with a prompt response and inform you when we consider the matter closed.  Please see below if you want to escalate your complaint further.

From time to time we receive complaints that we are not in a position to comment on, for example, confidential matters, including but not limited to established internal matters or ongoing issues. We are a charity with limited resources and we must use these in the best way possible and it may mean not engaging in lengthy debates on issues that are not appropriate.

The Council may choose to vary the procedure for good reason, avoid a conflict of interest.

There may be rare occasions when we chose not to respond to a complaint at all. These include:

  • When a complaint is about something that BirdLife has no direct connection to. We may choose to reply to clear our name but we are not obliged to.
  • When someone unreasonably pursues a complaint that we have already responded to. They will be given escalation points but we may choose not to reply again, we will always inform you of our decision to do this.
  • When a complainant is being obviously abusive, prejudiced or offensive in their manner.
  • When a complainant is harassing a staff member.
  • When a complaint is incoherent or illegible.
  • When a complaint has clearly been sent to us and numerous other organisations as part of a bulk mailing or email. In this instance we can chose whether it is necessary for us to reply or not.
  • BirdLife International cannot respond to complaints made anonymously. However, we will investigate the complaint and use the information to improve in any way that we can.
  • When a complaint is undertaken in bad faith, frivolous or vexatious in nature

Escalation options

We really hope that our staff are able to resolve your complaint in an honest, open and satisfactory way. However if after contacting us you are still unhappy then you can write, either by letter or email, directly to our CEO. If the matter is still unresolved, you can escalate to our Chair of Trustees.

Please outline the details of the complaint, why you have not been satisfied with our response up to now and what you would like us to do to put things right.

BirdLife International

BirdLife International is committed to the highest standards in fundraising practice. If your complaint is to do with fundraising and you feel that it has been unresolved by us then the Fundraising Regulator can investigate your complaint.

You can contact them by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300 999 3407 (Mon to Fri, 09.30 am – 4.30 pm).
Alternatively, you can contact them by sending a letter to Fundraising Regulator, 2nd Floor, CAN Mezzanine, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH.

Alternatively, if your complaint is related to another area of our work and you do not feel completely satisfied by our response then you can contact The Charity Commission at the address below.

The Charity Commission
102 Petty France, Westminster, London SW1H 9AJ 0845 3000 218

Our Commitment to you

We treat all comments and complaints seriously. We are happy to acknowledge the mistakes that we have made, sincerely apologise for them and then try to prevent them from happening again in the future. Thank you for helping us to be a stronger organization.

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