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BFI feedback and complaints procedure

The BFI welcomes feedback from members of the public and representatives of other organisations. Feedback helps the BFI to identify opportunities to make better use of their resources, or to deliver services in a more effective way.

The following procedures cover all BFI activities.

Depending on the area of activity, feedback and complaints will be handled as follows:

Activities and services (non Lottery)

Stage 1

In the first instance, if you are not happy with the service you have received in relation to the BFI’s activities and services, such as film and television heritage, distribution and exhibition, publishing and products, or education and research, please ask the staff on duty to assist you. The staff member will make every effort to resolve your issue.

Stage 2

If you do not receive an adequate response, or it is not clear to whom you should complain, or you wish to provide other feedback, please contact us within two months of the incident using our customer feedback form and your complaint/comments will be directed to the correct department who will endeavour to resolve your issue. You should receive a response to your complaint/comments within 20 working days. It is hoped that complaints can be dealt with as quickly as possible in this way.

Stage 3

If you remain dissatisfied, please write to:

Chief Executive
BFI
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN

Or email director@bfi.org.uk (please put “Complaint” in the subject line to expedite the processing of your complaint). Please provide as much information as you possibly can, including:

  • what happened
  • when it happened
  • who dealt with you
  • what steps you consider appropriate to rectify the issue
  • any further information you consider relevant to the complaint

Please also advise if there is anything the BFI needs to know about how to contact you (for example, if you would like us to reply by text phone or on audio tape).

The Chief Executive will write to you with a decision within 10 working days (or, if more information is required, within 10 working days of you supplying the additional information).

Stage 4

If you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision of the Chief Executive. Please write to:

Chair of the Board of Governors
BFI
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN

Or email chair@bfi.org.uk (please put “Complaint” in the subject line to expedite the processing of your complaint).

Subject to availability, the Chair will write to you with a decision within 10 working days (or, if more information is required, within 10 working days of you supplying the additional information).

Every effort will be made to adhere to the periods outlined above, but please be advised that on occasion they may be exceeded. Should it appear likely that this will be the case you will be notified accordingly.

BFI programmes (Lottery funding)

All organisations that distribute National Lottery funding in England or across the whole of the UK use the following procedure. Please be assured that the BFI welcomes your feedback and the making of a complaint will not affect the level of service you receive from the BFI or prejudice any outstanding funding application.

What can I complain about?

You can complain if you think that:

  • ‘maladministration’ has taken place (for example, if there has been an undue delay, if mistakes have been made, or if there has been a failure to follow the procedures in the application process as set out in the relevant funding guidelines)
  • the BFI has failed to give you access to information or has given you incorrect advice or information
  • you have not been treated politely
  • the BFI has discriminated against you or treated you unfairly

Please note that should your application for funding be refused you may not utilise this procedure to appeal against the decision if the process has been correctly adhered to. In circumstances where the application relates to a creative submission, such as a script, the BFI cannot reassess the script when it has been turned down on the basis of its creative merit.

How to make a complaint

Stage 1

If you are not happy with the service you have received, please contact the staff member with whom you have been dealing as soon as possible and in any event within two months of the incident which forms the basis of the complaint. The staff member will make every effort to resolve your issue.

Within three working days of receiving your complaint the BFI will contact you to acknowledge receipt. You will also be given information on how to contact the person who is dealing with your complaint and when you can expect a response.

In most cases, you will receive a full response to your complaint within 10 working days. Every effort will be made to respond to you within 10 working days, but please be advised that on occasion this period may be exceeded. Should it appear likely that this will be the case you will be notified accordingly.

Stage 2

If you remain dissatisfied, please write to:

Chief Executive
British Film Institute
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN

Please provide the following information:

  • what happened
  • when it happened
  • who dealt with you
  • what steps you consider appropriate to rectify the issue
  • any further information you consider relevant to the complaint

Please also advise if there is anything the BFI needs to know about how to contact you (for example, if you would like us to reply by text phone or on audio tape).

You must initiate stage 2 within four weeks of receiving a response to your complaint under stage 1.

If your complaint relates to the way the BFI has exercised its powers to refuse or manage funding, you can move to stage 3. If your complaint relates to the way the BFI conducts any other aspect its business you will be informed of possible alternatives that may be available to you. In its response to stage 2, the BFI will advise you whether you can utilise stage 3.

Stage 3

If you are not satisfied with response of the Chief Executive you can refer your complaint to the Independent Complaints Reviewer (ICR). Any such referral must be made within three months of receiving a response to stage 2.

The ICR is impartial and will consider evidence from the BFI and the complainant. The ICR is not part of the BFI and its investigations and recommendations are completely independent. You can request that the ICR considers your complaint, alternatively the BFI can make the request on your behalf. The Office of the ICR will contact you within five working days of the receipt of your complaint.

The ICR will determine whether or not to investigate the complaint, and will provide reasons if the complaint is not investigated.

If the ICR investigates your complaint and finds it to be justified, recommendations will be made to the BFI to rectify the matter. The recommendations will be forward looking and preventative in nature. The ICR will report within three months. Recommendations made by the ICR will be implemented by the BFI as soon as is reasonably practicable.

The ICR cannot consider complaints that have not gone through the procedure set out in this document.

Please be advised that the ICR has no power to reverse funding decisions or to make comments or changes to the BFI’s legal responsibilities and policies on awarding grants.

To contact the ICR see ‘Getting in touch’ below.

If you have any comments about our policies, submit these using our customer feedback form.

This procedure may not be used to complain about suspected incidents of fraud. Concerns in this regard should be reported to:

Director of Finance and resources
British Film Institute
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN

Your personal information

The BFI will endeavour to keep all complaints confidential. However, it may be necessary to disclose some information to investigate the issues you have raised. In addition, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the BFI may be required to release information if a request is made for it. Further information on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 can be obtained from the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Equal opportunities

The BFI is committed to equal opportunities and take complaints about discrimination extremely seriously.

Any complaints of this nature are used to inform and review BFI policies and procedures. This practice ensures that the BFI treats everyone fairly.

The BFI may record information about the ethnic background, sex and disability of complainants to further enhance the BFI’s commitment to equal opportunities.

Getting in touch

British Film Institute
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN
Telephone: 020 7255 1444

Other contacts

Office of the Independent Complaints Reviewer
c/o Lottery Forum
7 Holbein Place
London SW1W 8NR
Tel: 020 7591 6038
Textphone: 020 7591 6255
Email: katie.roberts@lotteryforum.org.uk

If you’d like to comment on this Complaints Procedure, please contact: Paul Richardson, BFI, 21 Stephen Street, London W1T 1LN
paul.richardson@bfi.org.uk

  • About the BFI

    The BFI is the UK home of film and television culture, and we support it with Lottery funding, festivals and archiving.

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