The British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries (BBB Group) strive to deliver a fair and positive experience for all individuals engaging with their programmes. As part of this endeavour, BBB is committed to continually reviewing and improving both its offering and the way this offering is delivered. The feedback it receives whether positive or negative, is a primary way that the organisation identifies areas for improvement. For this reason, it is essential that there is a clear and effective process for capturing, responding to and resolving complaints.
The purpose and objectives of this policy are to outline the BBB Group’s approach to handling complaints. This includes what types of complaints are covered by this policy, explains how to submit a complaint and who will be responsible for reviewing complaints. This also informs how individuals can escalate their complaints and explains how complaints data is held.
This Policy has three key objectives, to:
- Provide a clear outline about how any individual who comes into contact with the BBB Group can express their dissatisfaction.
- Explain who should be contacted when submitting a complaint, including how and when an individual can escalate a complaint and the timescales expected for a response.
- Explain BBB’s complaint handling process, including timescales and escalations.
This policy applies to all BBB entities, operations and subsidiaries. This Policy does not apply to the BBB Group’s Delivery Partners & Finance Partner (partners such as banks, lenders, leasing companies that deliver or support funding). Consequently, any complaints or disputes relating to one of BBB’s Delivery Partners should be settled directly with the relevant Delivery Partner.
1.2 Legal & Regulatory Obligations
- The BBB Group is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- The BBB Group will endeavour to adhere to the FCA industry and regulatory requirements and strive to deliver a fair and positive experience for all individuals engaging with the BBB Group.
This Policy applies to all BBB entities, operations and subsidiaries.
This Policy does not apply to the BBB Group’s Delivery Partners or Finance Partners.
If you have any complaints with your Delivery Partner or Finance Partner, you should take this matter up with them directly.
3. Key Requirments
3.1 Submitting a complaint
Depending on what stage of a journey you are at, you may find yourself working directly with one of the BBB Group’s subsidiaries, or with one of our official partners, including both our Delivery Partners and Finance Partners. For this reason and to ensure that every complaint is reviewed by the appropriate team as early as possible, we recommend individuals use the following guidance about who, when and how to submit a complaint:
|Who is the Complaint about?||When to submit a complaint||How to Submit a complaint|
|BBB Group & its subsidiaries (excluding The Start-Up Loans Company & Future Fund).||If you have a complaint regarding service, information or communications provided by BBB Group or any of its subsidiaries (excluding The Start-Up Loans Company and Future Fund), then this complaint should be submitted directly to BBB Customer Relations. Complaints must be submitted within six years after the event which is being complained about.||BBB Customer Relations team:
Phone: 0344 264 2600*
|Future Fund||If you have a complaint regarding service, information or communications relating to Future Fund then this complaint should be submitted directly to Future Fund Support.||Future Fund Support
|The Start-Up Loans Company (SULCO)||If you have a complaint regarding service, information or communications provided by the Start-Up Loans Scheme, then this complaint should be submitted directly to Start-Up Loans Customer Services Team. Complaints must be submitted within six years after the event which is being complained about.||The Contact page on the SULCo website: www.startuploans.co.uk/contact-us/
SULCo Customer Service team:
Phone: 0344 264 2600
Webchat* on the SULCo website
Any official SULCo social media channel: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
*Services available weekdays 9.00am – 6.00pm, excluding bank holidays. **Individuals should expect a reply from a SULCo representative within two working days.
|Delivery Partners of the Start-Up Loans Company|
For a full list of official Start Up Loans Delivery Partners, please visit the Start-Up Loans Scheme website.
If you are unsure who your Delivery Partner is, please contact Start-Up Loans Customer Service team.
|If you have been assigned to one of SULCo’s Delivery Partners then, complaints should be submitted directly to that organisation in the first instance.|
This is likely to apply to any complaints regarding:
• Service or communications received from the Delivery Partner -during the application process for a Start Up Loan
• Mentoring support provided once a Start Up Loan has been received
|Delivery Partner website, phone or email
Delivery Partner official social media channels (where available)
|Finance Partner of the Start-Up Loans Company|
The Enterprise Fund Limited t/a GC Business Finance (GCBF) are our finance partner.
If unsure, you should consult your Loan Agreement or contact Start-Up Loans Customer Service team for guidance.
|If you have already received a Start Up Loan and your complaint relates to loan administration then, where possible, complaints should be submitted directly to the Finance Partner organisation that issued your Loan Agreement. |
This is likely to apply to any complaints regarding:
• Loan repayments
• Direct Debit set up
• Communications received regarding loan administration
|Finance Partner website, phone or email
Finance Partner official social media channels (where available)
|Delivery Partners of BBB Group & its subsidiaries (excluding The Start-Up Loans Company)||BBB, generally, has no involvement in the day to day management of these companies. Consequently, any complaints or disputes should be settled directly with the relevant Delivery Partner in the first instance.|
3.2 Complaints Handling Proceedure
The following process relates to complaints that are submitted pertaining to BBB and/or its subsidiaries and are within the scope of this Policy (see Section 2). Please note that, as referenced in Section 3.1, if you are submitting a complaint to a Delivery Partner or Finance Partner, you should request a copy of their specific Complaints Policy.
When BBB receives an individual’s complaint, pertaining to BBB and/or its subsidiaries, it will endeavour to address the matter immediately, effectively, and in a fair and reasonable manner.
If a resolution cannot be reached within three working days, we will send you a written acknowledgement. This written acknowledgement will:
- Acknowledge that a complaint has been submitted;
- Advise you that the Complaints Manager is reviewing the matter;
- Inform you that the matter will be investigated and that a Final Response will be provided in writing within eight weeks of the complaint being received (although BBB aims to resolve all matters sooner than this where possible).
From this point forward, the Complaints Manager will assume responsibility for ensuring your complaint is resolved within eight weeks. The Complaints Manager will ensure that the complaint is investigated by the appropriate individuals within this timescale.
Once the matter has been investigated and BBB Customer Relations has made a decision regarding the complaint, you will receive a written Final Response from the Customer Relations Manager.
This Final Response will be provided to you and will:
- Acknowledge all of the concerns within the original complaint;
- Outline the findings of the investigation;
- Clarify whether the complaint was ‘upheld’ or ‘not upheld’;
- Outline the proposed resolution (if applicable);
- Inform you that if you are not satisfied with the Final Response, you have the right to escalate the matter. You must do this within six months of receiving your Final Response.
In exceptional circumstances, the Complaints Manager may not be able to provide you with a Final Response within eight weeks. In these instances, a holding communication will be sent to you in writing.
This holding communication will:
- Inform you of the delay;
- Outline the reasons for the delay;
- Provide an expected response time for sending the Final Response.
In the unfortunate event that you remain dissatisfied with the final outcome of your response provided by us you have the right to escalate your complaint.
If complainants are not satisfied with the response to their complaint, they may ask for the complaint to be reviewed by the BBB Complaints Appeal Panel. This must be requested in writing and no longer than six months after receipt of your final outcome.
This panel will be composed of at least two of BBB’s Senior Leadership Team, together with a representative of BBB’s Risk & Compliance team, who have no direct involvement with the issue(s) under review.
The complainant will be invited to submit any further written submissions to be reviewed by the panel.
The review should normally take place within thirty working days of receipt of the request. If this is not possible, the complainant will be informed of the review date.
The panel can:
- dismiss the complaint in whole or in part;
- uphold the complaint in whole or in part;
- decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint;
The complainant will be notified of the panel’s decision in writing 5 working days after the review has been completed.
Please note, if you have made a complaint directly to one of BBB’s Delivery Partners or Finance Partner, and they are regulated by the FCA, you have the right to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). You should be aware that that FOS will refer the matter back to the relevant party to resolve if you have not engaged with that party in the first instance. Further information in respect of the services available from FOS are available from the FOS website.
If the Delivery Partner is not regulated by the FCA you can refer the complaint to Customer Relations for review.
4. Definition of Terms
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) defines a complaint as:
‘Any expression of dissatisfaction, whether oral or written, and whether justified or not, from or on behalf of a Complainant about the firm’s provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service’.
The BBB Group and its subsidiaries work with a network of Delivery Partner organisations that deliver or support funding to Start Ups or Small and Medium sized Enterprises.
Successful Start Up Loan applications are passed to SUL’s Finance Partner, The Enterprise Fund Limited t/a GC Business Finance, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Enterprise Fund Limited t/a GC Business Finance will administer the loan agreement and funds to successful applicants and will be the primary point of contact for matters relating to loan administration, loan status and repayment arrangements.
5. Further Information
Complaints records are kept on file for a three-year period in line with the FCA requirements and the BBB Group will co‐operate with any official investigations or requests for information, as required by the relevant authorities.
The BBB Group will not reimburse any fees, expenses or costs involved in raising a complaint. Nothing in this policy should be interpreted to restrict any rights of redress a Complainant has in law.
The BBB Group reserves the right to take any appropriate action to protect itself from any unfounded, malicious or vexatious allegations or complaints.
Untrue allegations could lead to legal action for defamation. This policy does not confer any contractual rights and the BBB Group reserves the right to update this policy and its key terms at any time.
The BBB Group will always respect data confidentiality and any comments complainants make about the BBB Group, its Delivery partners or Finance Partners, and will be dealt with in accordance with current Data Protection legislation.
The British Business Banks Privacy Notice is available on our website.