Complaints procedure

CIOL views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve its service to members. We will treat complainants equally whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, religion or disability. Our aim is to:

  • provide a fair and easy to use complaints procedure which is accessible to all members
  • ensure the complaints policy is publicised and that members know how to make a complaint
  • ensure that everyone at CIOL knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and within, as far as practicable, the timescales detailed in the complaints procedure
  • make sure that complaints are satisfactorily resolved
  • learn from the complaints we receive to improve our service

Definition of a complaint

CIOL uses the following definition of a 'complaint':

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about a service or lack of service provided by CIOL.


The complaints procedure is not able to deal with the following:

  • An appeal against a decision taken by the CIOL's Membership Committee regarding admission to membership as the Committee's decision in all cases is final
  • An appeal against a decision taken by the Chartered Linguist (CL) Registration Board as these will be dealt with by the CL Appeals Committee, whose decision in all cases is final
  • Anonymous complaints
  • Group complaints
  • Complaints made more than six months from the event on which the complaint is based
  • Complaints about the content of our policies, unless maladministration or misconduct is alleged
  • Complaints considered to be aggressive or abusive


All information regarding the complaint will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence. CIOL will be mindful at all times of data protection legislation.

How to make a complaint

Complaints should be addressed in writing to the Membership Manager, either by email to the Membership Manager or by post to: Membership Manager, Chartered Institute of Linguists, 7th Floor, 167 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2EA.

Complaints should include:

  • name and membership number (if applicable)
  • a description of the problem (including when it happened)
  • supporting documentation as necessary


Complaints will normally be acknowledged within three working days by email and responded to in full within 28 working days. If a response is likely to take longer than this, we will keep you informed of progress, the reason(s) for the delay and the date when you are likely to receive a response.


All complaints received will be reviewed annually by the Head of Membership to identify trends which may indicate a need to take further action such as staff training or procedural review.


This policy is reviewed annually. Last reviewed November 2018.