“Have your say” report

| April 4, 2017

The Board received a number of reports that postings to the Have Your Say (HYS) web page were not being answered and tasked the Chair with investigating the position. The key findings are set out below.

Complaints Policy

The HYS web page states that all posts will be answered by either the General Manager (GM) or a Board member. However, there is no formal link from HYS to the main RSGB complaints policy, or vice versa.

Action – The Board has agreed that the complaints policy will be revised to encompass HYS and that the complaints policy will be updated to ensure its consistent application.

Receipt of Postings

The HYS web page is set up so that all postings are sent as an email to a specific HYS email account, which is owned by the GM. The GM either answers postings or passes them on to the relevant Board member for investigation and action. Once the GM is satisfied that the posting has been addressed the post is ticked off in the email account.

In order to test the system a number of test messages were sent via the HYS web page from a number of email systems. Not all were received by the General Manager. The IT manager advised that there appeared to be a system problem and HYS was migrated to a different system. Test messages were sent via the revamped HYS web page and all were received correctly.

It is possible that some postings sent via the old system never arrived and were not, therefore, answered. Test messages were not trapped as spam so we have no way of knowing how many complaints failed to arrive, if any. The technical problem has now been fixed.

Action – The Board has agreed that regular test messages will be sent from time to time until full confidence is restored in the HYS web page.

Tracking of Postings

All postings that had been received since October 2016 were examined to see what action had been taken. These postings were seen to be a mixture of statements, opinions, questions and expressions of disappointment. Some were clearly seeking a response, whereas others appeared to be members simply getting things off the chest.

The GM was able to demonstrate how he marks each posting as ‘actioned’ and that most had received responses direct from his own RSGB email account. In some cases where there was no email response shown the GM knew that he, or a Board member, had responded via a telephone conversation.  In other cases there was evidence to show that the question had been sent to, and acknowledged by, a Board member for action. Only in one case was it unclear that the action promised by the Board member had taken place. This highlighted a weakness in the closing of complaints/questions.

Action – The Board has agreed that all HYS postings will be tracked formally through to conclusion using the Board’s existing action tracking system.


In conclusion, a technical problem was identified that could account for any potential lack of answers to HYS postings; they were never received and could not, therefore, be answered.

The Board has agreed to update the complaints policy to place HYS on a more formal footing and to implement some process improvements to ensure that every HYS posting that is received is tracked through to conclusion.

The Board would like to thank those who drew their attention to this issue and trust that the actions taken will show that they listen and act when matters are made known.

Category: RSGB Notices