- Privacy Notice
- Complaints Handling Policy
- Our Approach
- Our Complaints Officer and Their Role
- How to Make a Complaint
- What Falls Under Our Complaints’ Procedure
- Time Limit for Bringing a Complaint
- Time Scale for Responding to Complaints
- What Does Not Fall Under Our Complaints’ Procedure
- What To Do if We Cannot Resolve Your Complaint
- What To Do If You Are Unhappy With Our Behaviour?
- Equality and Diversity Policy
Reeds Solicitors LLP is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information (collectively referred to as “Reeds”, “we”, “us” or “our”).
This Privacy Notice (“Notice”) sets out how we collect and use personal information about you during and after your relationship with us, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 as incorporated into UK law (“UK GDPR”). This includes whether you become one of our clients or contact us in another way and gives details of what to expect when you interact with Reeds online and how and what happens if we collect personal information through these interactions.
It is important that you read this Notice, together with any other privacy notice we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information. Please note this Notice does not form part of any contract to provide services you may have with us from time to time.
We reserve the right to amend this Notice at any time without notice to you so, if required, please check to ensure that you are referring to the latest version of this Notice. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal data.
Reeds Solicitors LLP of Office 11, Station Field Industrial Estate, Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 1JD (Registered Office) is a “data controller” (ICO Registration No. Z1376090) for the purposes of the UK GDPR. This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you.
If you have any questions or concerns about this Notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact the “Data Protection Officer” at the above address, or alternatively, by email at email@example.com
You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the ICO at https://ico.org.uk/. We would, however, appreciate the chance to deal with your concerns before you approach the ICO so please contact us in the first instance.
We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. Most commonly, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:
- Where we need to carry out the contract we have entered into with you.
- Where we need to comply with a legal obligation.
- Where it is necessary for our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.
We may also use your personal information in the following situations, which are likely to be rare:
- Where we need to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests).
- Where it is needed for official purposes.
Generally, we do not rely on consent as a legal basis for processing your personal data and we may process your personal data without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law. If it becomes necessary to obtain your consent, we will provide you with full details of the information that we would like and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of any contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us and you will be able to withdraw your consent at any time.
When we receive a complaint from a person we create a file which will contain the details of the person complaining and other relevant details (including details of other people) that are relevant to the complaint. We only use this information for the purposes of investigating and responding to the complaint.
We will keep personal information contained in complaint files in line with our retention policy for client files. This means that information relating to a complaint will be retained for six years from closure within our case management system, unless advised otherwise.
We will only disclose personal data to third parties where permitted to do so by law and in the normal course of our business. For example, when acting for you in defending a criminal allegation against you, we might share your personal information with the Crown Prosecution Service if it is in the best interests of you in order to advance your defence, or if you are an employee, we might share your personal information with HMRC in the context of ensuring that your payroll records are correct.
There are times where it will not be realistic to get your express permission in connection with each and every disclosure of this nature. If you have any concerns that any of your data has been incorrectly shared, then this should be raised with us through our standard procedures (i.e.; the Complaints Procedure in respect of clients and the Grievance Procedure in respect of employees etc).
Disclosure of personal information
We will not transfer your personal data outside the European Union without your consent.
You have a right to access the personal data we hold about you. You may ask us to rectify or erase the personal data we hold about you or to restrict the processing we carry out. You can also object to the way we are processing your personal data or request that we transfer it to a third party.
For a full list of your rights and how these can be exercised, please visit www.ico.org.uk/your-data-matters for further details. You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.
If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact us in writing at Data Protection Officer, Reeds Solicitors LLP, 3 Kings Meadow, Ferry Hinksey Road, Oxford, OX2 0DP or alternatively, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any data that you submit using a form on our website or by email (i.e.; your name, email address) will only be held by us for the purpose for which it is needed and for the shortest amount of time required.
For example, if you make an enquiry that we are unable to assist you with, your contact form will be deleted. If your enquiry results in you becoming a client of the firm, then your data will be stored as part of your client record and kept in accordance with the requirements relating to client records (in respect of which you will be advised separately on entering a retainer).
We do not currently have a mailing list for you to subscribe to. In any event, your data will not be disclosed to any third parties without your consent or as otherwise allowed by the relevant data protection legislation and will only be used for responding to your query (or purposes associated with that purpose).
This Notice was last updated on 8th June 2023.
We always want to give you the best possible service. However, we acknowledge that sometimes things can go wrong. So, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service provided to you then you should inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. We aim to deal with any complaints promptly, fairly, openly and effectively.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the individual who is working on your case, or their supervisor, to discuss any concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. However, if you would like to make a formal complaint then our full complaints handling procedure is set out below.
Your complaint will be allocated to the Complaints Officer who has responsibility for the office and the area of law that your complaint relates to. If you contact us at email@example.com we will be able to confirm the name of the relevant person who would be allocated to handle your complaint. In the event that your complaint relates to the person that would normally be allocated to handle your complaint, we will appoint one of our other Complaints Officers to deal with your complaint.
In performing the role, the Complaints Officer will ensure that:-
- all formal complaints are properly recorded centrally and investigated within the relevant time scales
- complaints are investigated promptly, fairly and free of charge
- appropriate redress is offered and any unsatisfactory procedures are corrected where required
- the procedure is tailored in response to the needs of our individual clients, especially those who are vulnerable.
In conducting an investigation into any complaint, the Complaints Officer will ensure that:-
- the complaint is reviewed with any staff member involved;
- the cause any problems of which the client has complained is identified
- the extent of any validity of a complaint is determined; and
- a decision is made as to how the complaint should be resolv
Our Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) has overall responsibility for the operation of this procedure. There will be an annual review of all complaints to verify that this complaints’ procedure is working effectively and to consider whether any changes are required to our complaints’ handling procedures.
A complaint can be made by letter, telephone call, e-mail or in the course of a face-to-face conversation. However, in order to help us distinguish between any initial expression of concern that can be resolved informally, as opposed to something that you wish us to deal with as a formal complaint, we will ask you to put such a complaint in writing where possible. This will also enable us to be clear as to what the scope of the complaint is and put any concerns that you have raised to the relevant parties in the conduct of our investigation. Our preferred method is for you to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not able to put your complaint in writing, this does not prevent you from making a formal complaint. However, we will seek to discuss with you and confirm that your complaint is a formal complaint to be dealt with under our complaints procedure and also to agree the scope of the complaint.
You are entitled to make a complaint about an act or omission that relates to the services that we provide you during the conduct of your case. For example, this could relate to concerns such as:-
- Frustration with perceived lack of progress in a case;
- Concerns about delays in returning telephone calls, responding to correspondence;
- Dissatisfaction with the way a case is being handled;
- An allegation of discrimination;
However, issues of a very minor nature, for example, not returning a single non-urgent telephone call until the following day will not be recorded as a complaint – unless there is evidence of such a minor incident being part of a wider pattern.
We will only accept a complaint for investigation under this Complaints’ Procedure if the complaint is notified to us within one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about or within one year from when you should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint.
The following are our target times for dealing with various stages of the complaints process. We will endeavour to comply with these time scales when dealing with any complaint, but we will notify you if we are not able to for any reason.
|Acknowledge the complaint in writing and send a copy of the complaints’ procedure (if required)||Within 7 days
|If the complaints handling manager needs more information from you, request for you to provide further information in writing or (if necessary) over by telephone or at a meeting||+ 2 working days|
|If there has been any telephone conversation or meeting, confirm the scope of the investigation to be carried out in writing||+ 3 working days|
|Investigate the issues||+ 3 weeks|
|Review and close the complaint||Within 8 weeks of receiving the complaint|
Sometimes a complaint is submitted which is not a complaint which relates to the services provided that can be resolved under our complaints’ procedure, but is an assertion which amounts to an allegation of professional negligence. All our staff are required to refer any concerns which might arise to an allegation of professional negligence to the Complaints Officer, who will consider any complaints that potentially fall into this category and will decide, in conjunction with the firm’s professional indemnity insurers as to whether a response should be provided under the terms of this complaints’ procedure. If it is decided that your matter cannot be addressed under our complaints’ procedure, you will be advised of the need to seek independent legal advice in relation to your concerns and to submit them to us formally in a letter of claim as required by the Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence Claims – a copy of which can be found at https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/protocol/prot_neg
If we are not able to resolve your complaint, then you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint from us.
Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your having received a final written response from us about your complaint. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within one year of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring; or within one year from when you should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint.
If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, the contact details are:-
- Website:- www.legalombudsman.org.uk
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333 (between 9.00 to 17.00)
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
In addition to the complaints’ procedure outlined above, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and they can assist if you want to raise concerns about certain aspects of behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. The contact details for the SRA are:-
- Website: https://www.sra.org.uk/
- Telephone: 0370 606 2555
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
We are committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within our policies, practices and procedures. This applies to our professional dealings with clients and others.
The COLP is responsible for implementing and monitoring our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy. The COLP undertakes a review of this policy annually to verify it is in effective operation and ensures that appropriate action is taken in relation to any non-compliance identified under this policy or barriers to equal opportunities.
We treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect regardless of:
- sex (including marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity and paternity);
- sexual orientation (including civil partnership status);
- race or racial group (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins);
- religion or belief;
- caring responsibilities; or
We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the firm and its staff do not unlawfully discriminate under:
- the Equality Act 2010;
- the Employment Rights Act 1996;
- the Human Rights Act 1998;
- the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000;
- the Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000;
- the Work and Families Act 2006;
- the Civil Partnership Act 2004;and
- any other relevant legislation in force from time to time relating to discrimination in employment and the provision of goods, facilities or services
We are committed to meeting the diverse needs of clients. We take all steps to promote equal opportunities in relation to access to the legal services that we provide, taking account of the diversity of the communities that we serve, in order to ensure that, subject to funding constraints, our services are accessible to all clients.
We will take steps to identify the needs of clients in the community and develop plans and procedures setting out how we will meet clients’ needs and for ensuring the services which we provide are accessible to all. In particular, we will take into account the needs of clients with disabilities and clients who are unable to communicate effectively in English. We will consider whether particular groups are predominant within our client base and, where possible, will ensure that their needs are met.
We do not unlawfully discriminate in dealings with experts and third parties. All experts and third parties are instructed from a register of experts and have been assessed by the firm as being capable of meeting both our and our clients’ requirements. Experts and third parties are instructed because they satisfy our selection criteria.
We treat all job applicants equally and fairly and do not unlawfully discriminate against them. We do this by ensuring that we operate an open and fair recruitment process, using selection criteria which does not discriminate, and make decisions based on individual qualities and personal merit. Promotion within the firm including into the partnership/directorship is made solely on merit. We will provide training in equal opportunities to managers and others likely to be involved in recruitment or other decision making where equal opportunities issues are likely to arise.
Candidates for employment or promotion will be assessed objectively against the requirements for the job, taking into account any reasonable adjustments that may be required for candidates with a disability. Disability and personal or home commitments will not form the basis of employment decisions, unless we are unable to accommodate the applicant’s needs for business reasons.
We consider all employees to be equal and create a working environment which is free from unlawful discrimination. This applies equally to voluntary positions and anyone undertaking work experience with us. This will, for example, include arrangements for employment & partnership/directorship, recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, conditions of service, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, dress code, work allocation and any other employment related activities.
All staff are informed of this policy as part of their induction and during annual equality, diversity and inclusion update training. All staff are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of this policy and the specific outcomes within Chapter 2 of the SRA Code of Conduct and are responsible for ensuring compliance with them when undertaking their jobs or representing our firm.
We treat all complaints of unlawful discrimination made by any of our staff, clients, barristers, experts or other third parties seriously and will take action where appropriate. All complaints are investigated in accordance with our grievance or complaints procedure and the complainant will be informed of the outcome. We also monitor the number and outcome of complaints of discrimination.
Where acts of unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation and/or failure to comply with this policy by any member of staff are identified, we will ensure that our Disciplinary Procedure is followed and this may result in disciplinary proceedings being instigated.
We collate, monitor and record, at least annually, equality & diversity data existing staff including partners/directors on the basis of gender, age, disability, ethnic groups, religion/beliefs, sexual orientation, educational background and carer responsibilities. This information is collated in the form of a confidential survey, which is optional, however all employees are encouraged to complete the survey. We process this data securely and in line with the requirements for processing special category personal data in the GDPR. Employees are also asked to comment on how they consider the policy to work in practice within the firm.
We provide equality, diversity and inclusion information to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as required in relation to staff and clients under the terms of the LAA Contracts.
We identify equality, diversity and inclusion training needs as and when appropriate, and address them as part of our overall learning and development plan. This includes the provision of annual update equality, diversity and inclusion training. Our equality, diversity and inclusion training and communication objectives are reviewed at least annually.
It is unlawful to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers caused by disability. It is our duty to make reasonable adjustments including the removal, adaptation or alteration of physical features, if the physical features make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people, this includes making adjustments to standard working practices.
if you have any queries, please contact us by email at email@example.com