Our complaints policy

Find out how to contact us with a complaint, and what to expect when you do.

We're committed to providing high quality services. And we want them to achieve the highest standards, no matter what the service is or where it takes place. But we realise that sometimes we’ll get things wrong. Or that not everyone will agree with what we do. One of the ways we can continue to improve is by listening and responding to feedback.

We receive many comments that are suggestions, or expressions of satisfaction or points of disagreement. These are opportunities for organisational learning, and a record is normally kept. While we'll acknowledge comments, a response is not part of the formal process covered by this policy.

This policy applies to individuals and organisations from outside the MS Society wishing to complain about:

  • the performance of our services
  • their experience as a supporter
  • our fundraising activities
  • the suitability of our campaigns
  • our policies and procedures
  • the conduct of employees, volunteers, contractors and third parties working with or representing us.

We have separate policies and procedures for issues or concerns about someone’s experience or activities as an employee. These can also apply to volunteers, contractors or agency workers and for contractual disputes.

We'll advise you if a different policy or procedure is appropriate instead of this policy. We might also choose to apply one of those other policies or procedures if we believe it’s more appropriate.

We're committed to ensuring we prove high quality services. And a supporter experience that meet the needs and expectations of everyone affected by MS, and other stakeholders. We want to make sure we're maintaining our high standards. So if something’s gone wrong, we want to know so we can stop it happening again.

We want to make sure everyone feels confident to make a complaint if they have concerns. Or if they feel we've not met expectations or standards expected of us. We also want everyone to know we’ll take their concerns seriously and respond in a timely and appropriate manner.

The principles of this policy are to make sure:

  • This policy and our complaints process are transparent and easily available on our website or, if requested, through other channels.
  • Ways of contacting us are accessible and as easy as possible. We’ll make reasonable adjustments needed to submit a complaint, or to give responses in other formats.
  • We always respond when people contact us. Where concerns are raised, or a complaint submitted, we investigate thoroughly, fairly and within a reasonable timeframe, in line with this policy.
  • We communicate quickly and politely to complaints. And people raising concerns or complaints are treated with respect, courtesy and fairness. We expect our staff and volunteers to be treated in the same manner.
  • We learn from complaints and use findings to improve our services, activities and processes.

If we’re unsure if a communication is a complaint, we’ll work to confirm this with you. If the communication or comment is made anonymously, we might not be able to treat it as a complaint under this policy. And this means we might not be able to give a response.

We won’t tolerate threatening, abusive or unreasonable behaviour by any complainant. These situations are rare. But we’ll tell the individual their behaviour is not acceptable if it happens. If they continue to behave in an unacceptable manner we'll end communication with them immediately. And we may not look any further at their original complaint.

If the behaviour is so extreme it threatens the immediate safety and welfare of our staff or volunteers, we'll consider other options. For example, reporting the matter to the police or taking legal action. In such cases, we may not give the complainant warning of that action.

It's usually best to contact the person who's providing the service as they're best placed to respond to complaints. This could be at local or national level. We'd aim to resolve the issue or problem directly with the team it applies to. They'll often be able to put things right very quickly and simply.

If you don't know who to contact or don’t feel comfortable raising it in the way suggested, please phone us on 0300 500 8084. You can also send an email to [email protected] or write to Supporter Care at:

Supporter Care

MS Society

8 City North Place


N4 3FU

When submitting a complaint, please state clearly and briefly:

  • a brief summary of what happened

  • when and where it happened

  • who was involved;

  • what outcome you'd like to see

  • your name and details of the best way to contact you

Complaints made through social media or our digital channels will be managed in the same way as complaints received by email, letter or phone. If these are public and a simple response can be given, we'll do this publicly. We might ask you to contact us directly for more information on the issues raised.

We reserve the right to remove a public post and respond to you directly if a public complaint is about an individual. Or if it’s sensitive in nature, or includes abusive or threatening language.

Data Protection: When someone submits a complaint, we'll process any personal data collected in line with our Data Protection Policy. We’ll hold data collected from the point the person makes a complaint. This is held securely and only processed to help deal with the complaint, and for related compliance and legal purposes. Data used for reporting on complaints will be made anonymous.

Complaints will be passed onto the most appropriate person to respond. This will happen if a complaint hasn’t been resolved with the team involved. Or it's of a level of complexity or seriousness where a more detailed investigation is needed.

We'll contact you within seven days to let you know we've got your complaint. And we’ll give you the name of the person who'll be responding in more detail. That person might need to contact you for more information. We'll usually get back to you using the same method you used to contact us.

We'll reply to your complaint as soon as possible. We aim to gather any more information we need and to reply to you within 21 days. If this isn’t possible, we’ll let you know when you'll get a full reply by.

All complaints will be treated with an appropriate degree of confidentiality. We’ll only share information with the staff and volunteers needed to help us understand what’s happened.

You can ask for our reply to be reviewed. This can be done if you think the matter hasn’t been resolved. You can ask for this within 6 months of getting your reply by contacting our governance team at [email protected] or by writing to:

Head of Governance

MS Society 

Carriage House

8 City North Place

London N4 3FU

You should include information on the original complaint submitted and the reasons why you’re not happy with our reply. Your comments will then be passed to a senior manager (who’s not been involved in the issue before). And they’ll look at the issue further.

We’ll let you know in writing within seven days who that person is and when they'll reply to you. You'll get their response in writing. And this’ll answer your comments with findings and recommendations within a further 21 days.

This is the final stage of our response.

An annual report is submitted to the Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. This summarises the anonymised complaints we get in the year.

You’re entitled to refer your complaint to an external regulator if you want to. Contact information for the charity regulators in each nation of the UK are below. You can also find the Fundraising Regulator and the Information Commissioner’s Office details below. In most cases the external regulator will expect you to have contacted us first. And to have followed this process to try to resolve the issue.

Charity Commission for England and Wales

PO Box 1227


L69 3UG

0845 3000218

Charity Commission for England and Wales website

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

2nd Floor, Quadrant House 

9 Riverside Drive 



01382 220446

[email protected]

Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator website

Fundraising Regulator

2nd Floor CAN Mezzanine Building

49-51 East Road

London, N1 6AH

0300 999 3407

Fundraising Regulator website

Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel

c/o The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

2nd Floor, Quadrant House

9 Riverside Drive

Dundee, DD1 4NY

0808 164 2520

[email protected]

Scottish Regulatory Adjudication Panel website

ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office)

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




0303 123 1113

[email protected]

ICO website

Responding to a complaint is generally a straightforward process. But, sometimes, people chase their complaints in a way that interferes with the investigation or causes significant resource issues for us. For example, by submitting multiple complaints and requests on the same issue (unreasonably persistent). Or by making complaints without reason with the intention of causing distress, harm or harassment (vexatious).

If you’re continuing to contact us with your complaint because it’s not been considered in full then we must address this. This is usually through the review process.

We may need to consider if the complaint is now unreasonably persistent or vexatious. This may happen if you continue with your complaint, but the matter has been fully considered and communicated to you.

These complaints will be flagged with the Head of Governance and Executive Office. They’ll consider if a complaint is vexatious or unreasonably persistent discussing it with the Chief Executive and/or another appropriate Executive Director. If this happens, they’ll let you know their reasons in writing, and the action to be taken. 

The Chief Executive or Executive Director may want to agree boundaries and appropriate behaviours with you before the complaint is investigated further. If these aren’t met it may result in the decision to decline all further contact. If they decide to end contact, you’ll get a letter explaining their reasons.