Charity Governance

This section focuses on the policies and procedures that BLS has developed to meet its legal requirements as a charitable organisation. These policies apply to both BLS members, employees and those elected onto the committee.

Please read the following attachments shown below. If you have any questions or queries please go to the “contact us” page and follow the instructions.

As a Member of the British Lymphology Society I promise to abide by the fundamental values that underpin all the activity of this organisation. They are:

Everything British Lymphology Society does will be able to stand the test of scrutiny by the public, charity regulators, members, stakeholders, funders, Parliament and the courts.

These will be the hallmark of all conduct when dealing with colleagues within BLS and equally when dealing with patients, other individuals and institutions outside it.

British Lymphology Society strives to maintain an atmosphere of openness throughout the organisation to promote confidence of the public, stakeholders, staff, charity regulators and Parliament.

  • I will not break the law or go against charity regulations in any aspect of my role as a BLS member.

  • I will support the constitution.

  • I will abide by organisational policies

I will always strive to act in the best interests of the organisation.

I will declare any conflict of interest, or any circumstances that might be viewed by others as a conflict of interest, as soon as it arises. I will submit to the judgement of the board and do as it requires regarding potential conflicts of interest.

I will not break the law, go against charity regulations or act in disregard of organisational policies in my relationship with fellow staff, volunteers, members, service recipients, contractors or anyone I come into contact with in my role as a BLS member. I will strive to establish respectful, collegial and courteous relationships with all I come into contact with in my role as a member.

  • I will not speak as a member of this organisation to the media or in a public forum without the prior knowledge and approval of the Chair. When prior consent has not been obtained, I will inform the Chair at once when I have spoken as a member of this organisation to the media or in a public forum.

  • When I am speaking as a member of this organisation, my comments will reflect current organisational policy even when these do not agree with my personal views.

  • When speaking as a private citizen I will strive to uphold the reputation of the organisation and those who work in it.

  • I will respect organisational, board and individual confidentiality.

  • I will take an active interest in the organisation’s public image, noting news articles, books, television programmes and the like about the organisation, about similar organisations or about important issues for the organisation.

  • I will not accept substantial gifts or hospitality without prior consent of the Chair.

  • I will use organisational resources responsibly, when authorised, in accordance with procedure.

  • I will strive to attend and contribute to regional meetings.

  • I will engage in debate and voting in meetings according to procedure, maintaining a respectful attitude toward the opinions of others while making my voice heard.

While in practice offering lymphoedema treatment; I undertake to keep my lymphoedema treatment skills, education and practice regularly updated and to ensure that I maintain my membership of any appropriate regulatory authority/body in this regard and not to work beyond the scope of my capability, experience and qualifications without appropriate clinical supervision. I undertake to keep myself informed of developments in best practice in the field. If I have a directory entry; I undertake responsibility to maintain and update my directory entry on 1st April each year on renewal, to ensure that it accurately reflects all my current contact details and qualifications.


  • 01.) Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
  • 02.) Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession
  • 03.) Be able to maintain fitness to practice 4 be able to practise as an autonomousprofessional,
  • 04.) Exercising their own professional judgement
  • 05.) Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice
  • 06.) Be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner
  • 07.) Understand the importance of and be able to maintain confidentiality
  • 08.) Be able to communicate effectively
  • 09.) Be able to work appropriately with others
  • 10.) Be able to maintain records appropriately
  • 11.) Be able to reflect on and review practice
  • 12.) Be able to assure the quality of their practice
  • 13.) Understand the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to their profession
  • 14.) Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice
  • 15.) Understand the need to establish and maintain a safe practice environment

Preservation of your privacy is important to BLS. This statement explains how we protect the personal information you give to us and how we intend to use it. It relates to information you give to us when you use this website or when you contact us by e-mail, telephone, fax or any other method.

  • Information collected from you will only be used to process your requests and to provide you with information relating to BLS activities or services.
  • We may collect your name, e-mail address, job title, telephone numbers and information regarding your lymphoedema service.
  • We may also collect questions, queries and feedback left on our web-site or by other means of communication.
  • We will include your name and place of work and supplied email address in a delegate list at the BLS Annual Conference which is available to all conference delegates and commercial sponsors, unless you request us not to.
  • We maintain a list of Conference delegates which will include your name, e-mail address and place of work.
  • We may include any photographs taken of you for the purpose of any BLS Activity in our News and Views Newsletter or on our website, unless you request us not to.

  • We will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the information you share with us is secure and not subject to loss, mis-use or alteration.
  • If your personal data is required by law, we have a legal obligation to provide it but we will not disclose information for any other reason without telling you.
  • We will not pass your details on to other websites.
  • We will aim to keep our systems and communications free of viruses and other harmful effects, but we cannot bear responsibility for all communications being virus free.
  • is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website.Cookies are widely used in order to make websites work more efficiently and some cookies are essential for website to operate.
  • Cookies will not be used by the BLS website if they are not considered necessary.
  • This privacy policy may be updated from time to time
  • If you wish to change, update or remove any information from our website or database, then please e-mail us at
  • Links to other websites and web pages are not covered by this privacy statement
Title: BLS Privacy Statement    
Author(s) Mary Woods    
Ownership: British Lymphology Society    
Approval by: BLS Executive Committee Approval date:  
Operational Date: 1 May 2015 Next Review: 1 May 2017
Version No. 0.1 Supercedes  
Links to other policies Professional Registration Group policies    
(This box to be removed prior to issue).

This helps to identify where changes have been made to a document and ensure that authors / reviewers are using the most recent version.

  • The first draft should be versioned as 0.1 with subsequent versions 0.2, 0.3 etc. When formally approved it will be issued as 1.0.
  • Reviews will then be versioned 1.0.2, 1.0.3. Following second formal review the document will be issued as version 1.1
  • If major changes are made to the document then it will be issued as version 2.0.
Date Version Author Comments
16.4.15 0.1 16.4.15 Mary Woods
This procedure is not intended to replace the statutory regulatory body’s procedures of BLS members which are the first specified route for all complaints about a BLS member.    

The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) supports patients and their carers wishing to pursue a complaint about their NHS treatment or care. Patients can also contact the Lymphoedema Support Network (LSN) BLS can supply details of expert medico-legal advisers if required.  

Complaints about an NHS service should be made to the provider, or to the commissioner of that service (CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group).  If all, or part of the service or care they have received is commissioned by NHS England, they may also complain to NHS England Customer Contact Centre where NHS England will work with CCG’s to resolve the complaint.  NHS England can be contacted by email state: For the attention of the complaints team in the subject line – or by telephone: 0300 311 22 33(Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, excluding English Bank Holidays)  
In England, all Health and Social Care Providers (large or small) are required by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to have a complaints procedure. Their website is: In Northern Ireland, please refer to “The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority”, which is the independent health and social care regulator, their website is:>

The Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC) has a procedure for raising a concern about a professional on their register and they are UK-wide.Their telephone number is 0800 328 4218 and

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has a procedure for the public, patients or organisations across the UK to raise a concern about a professional on their register. Their website is:

MLDUK has a Complaints and Professional Conduct Policy for complaints received about the organisation or one of its members. Their website
Any expression of dissatisfaction or adverse comments about BLS either verbal or written should be considered a concern, or a potential complaint and be investigated. This may be:
  • Verbal (in person or over the telephone – 01452 790178)
  • Via email (
  • About any member of BLS, including employees and the Board of Trustees
  • About the service provided by the charity
  • Informal – e.g. shared with a Trustee
  • Via a BLS member or employee advocating on behalf of a third party complainant

In some circumstances, the complaint may be serious enough to require investigation by the Charity Commission. This includes concerns that BLS is;
  • Not doing what it claims to do
  • Using money inappropriately
  • Being used for personal profit or gain
  • Involved in illegal activity

Fundraising complaints can be forwarded to the Fundraising Standards Board. This includes concerns about the way donations are asked for or how fundraisers have behaved.

Advertising complaints can be forwarded to the Advertising Standard Authority. This includes concerns about advertising campaigns considered offensive, deceptive or inaccurate.
  • It enables BLS to demonstrate we focus on user’s needs
  • It demonstrates BLS is responsible and accountable to the public
  • It demonstrates BLS have an open, fair and honest approach
  • It minimises adverse effects of problems escalating
  • It helps BLS measure and improve the quality of our services
  • It enhances BLS’s reputation by fostering a caring approach
  • It empowers members to have more influence over the charity and the way it operates
  • It underpins BLS’s commitment to the code of conduct
This procedure is not intended to cover complaints from employees, who should use BLS’s Discipline and Grievance policies covered in the BLS staff handbook.

Complaints can come from:
  • Members (including reciprocal and corporate)
  • Donors
  • Statutory professional regulatory bodies
The BLS Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for the BLS Complaints Procedure
The BLS Committee will assign one Trustee to offer support/mentoring to any member who is the subject of a complaint.

The BLS member who is subject to the complaint is entitled to representation by a third party of their choice to act as their advocate.

In the event that the complaint is about an employee,, the BLS Chair should assign one trustee to offer support/mentoring to that employee.

In the event that the complaint is about a Trustee, the BLS Committee will follow the same procedure but the Trustee complained about will not be included in the decision-making process further than that of an ordinary member.

Confidentiality: All complaint information will be handled sensitively, ensuring that confidentiality is maintained at all times and following any relevant data protection issues.
Complainants can request support from:
  • A BLS member outside the Board of Trustees, including reciprocal and/or corporate partners
  • Independent bodies such as the National Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • The Charity Commission
Take appropriate, prompt and proportionate action to acknowledge, hear and aim to resolve the complaint using the 3 stage process outlined.

Make changes to their practices if it is considered in the best interest of the majority of BLS members or the charity as a whole and does not conflict with the governing document (the constitution)

Stop the complaint if it has become unhelpful to the complainant and BLS. This will always be a last resort and only be initiated once the BLS complaints procedure has been fully exhausted, In this situation the BLS Chair will write a letter to end the complaint and will include the option for the complainant to refer the matter to the NCVO – National Council of Voluntary Organisations and/or The Charity Commission.)

Retain the right to withdraw membership of the BLS according to the BLS’s governing document, the constitution Section (8) (ii) which states; “The Executive Committee shall have the right for good and sufficient reason to terminate the membership of any individual or member organisation, provided that the individual concerned or the appointed representative of the member organisation concerned shall have the right to be heard by the Executive Committee, accompanied by a friend or colleague, before a final decision is made.” The BLS Executive Committee consider “good and sufficient reason” to be any breach of the conditions cited in the BLS Members Code of Conduct.
Become involved in external litigation; unless required by a court of law to do so

Manage complaints that are covered by and should be addressed to the member’s regulatory body.

Share details of the complaint with third parties, with the exception of standard disclosures such as: Child Protection Issues, issues that relate to criminal activity, or any other statutory obligations under the law which will be referred to the relevant authorities.
The BLS Operations Manager will maintain a confidential electronic record of complaints in the BLS Central Office to include:
  • The facts of the complaint
  • The complainant’s name, address, telephone number and email address
  • The relationship of the complainant to BLS
  • The complaint in the complainant’s own words. (BLS policy is to invite this in all cases; to ensure fairness and accuracy)
  • The complainant’s proposal for what would be a satisfactory resolution from their point of view (BLS policy is to invite this in all cases; to mitigate escalation)
  • Details of all action taken to resolve the complaint

All correspondence (verbal and electronic) and all action taken to resolve the complaint will be recorded.

Responsibility for the acknowledgement of all complaints will be added to the job description of BLS employees and Trustees.

BLS Trustees will be expected to familiarise themselves with the Complaints Procedure as part of the BLS Trustee Pack BLS employees and Trustees will ensure that any person raising a concern or complaint is aware of the BLS Complaints Procedure and how to access it.
Stage One:
  • The concern or complaint is acknowledged and recorded electronically by the BLS employee.
  • Every attempt should be made to resolve the concern or complaint informally at this stage but if this is not possible, the complainant will be asked if they wish their concern or complaint to be escalated to a formal procedure for which a formal response will be provided within 20 working days.
  • The BLS Operations Manager or Finance Administration Manager will forward the complaint to the BLS Chair and Vice-Chair, along with their proposed response for a prompt resolution.
  • The Chair or Vice-Chair will respond within five working days with acceptance or revisions to the proposed response. If neither are available or fail to respond:
  • The complaint and proposed response will be sent to the committee. A quorate number (one third ) or a majority voting via email to accept the proposed response within a further five working days will suffice.
  • Once the BLS Chair considers the response satisfactory, it will be communicated to the complainant
  • If the complaint is about a BLS employee, the complaint will immediately be forwarded to the BLS Chair and Vice Chair for a response.
  • If the complaint is about an individual BLS member and is not related to BLS Services, employees or Trustees, the person subjected to the complaint will be informed about the complaint by the BLS Chair and offered the opportunity to respond within ten working days.
  • If the BLS Chair does not consider the response satisfactory, or the complainant does not, the complaint will proceed to Stage 2.

Stage Two:
  • The complainant can ask for the matter to be referred for the consideration of the Trustees.
  • If a quorate number consider the response satisfactory, the complaint will be closed.
  • If not, the Trustees must agree an alternative resolution to the complaint within ten working days and communicate this to the complainant.
  • If the complainant remains dissatisfied, the complaint will proceed to Stage 3

Stage Three:
  • In accordance with the constitution, the complainant with an unresolved complaint will have the right for their complaint to be heard formally by the Executive Committee.
  • The BLS Chair will write to the complainant offering three possible dates for a hearing over a one month period and advise them that they can be accompanied by a representative .
  • In the event that a hearing is refused or not attended, the BLS executive committee will make a final decision on the outcome and this will be communicated within five working days to the complainant.
  • If a resolution is still unable to be reached, the complainant will be advised that the BLS complaints procedure’s scope will have been reached, but they may seek alternative redress by writing to the Complaints Co-Coordinator, National Council of Voluntary organisations (NCVO) Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL. BLS are members and our registered charity number is 1042561.
  • If the Trustees uphold the complaint; they may invoke their rights under Section 8 of the constitution; to consider terminating the membership of any individual or member organisation

The Complaints Procedure will be sent out via survey monkey for member consultation and final review

The Complaints Procedure will be made visible in the Public Access Area of the BLS Website

All BLS members will be informed about the Complaints Procedure at the BLS Conference

A global email will be sent to BLS members alerting them to the existence of the Complaints Procedure

The Complaints Procedure will be advertised in the quarterly newsletter BLS News & Views

New members will be informed of the code of conduct and the complaints procedure in their new member welcome letter and the complaints procedure will form part of the new Trustee pack.
After one year has elapsed following the resolution of a complaint, complainants will be contacted and feedback about their experience of the BLS’ Complaints Procedure will be requested. This will allow time for reflection on the process and outcome and enable BLS to learn from the experience.

The Administration Staff will anonymise all complaints and their outcomes for analysis and provide a report to the BLS committee at the December meeting.

Any learning points will be communicated and the complaints procedure will be reviewed by the Trustees each year to ensure it is fit for purpose.
  • Remain calm and respectful
  • Listen carefully
  • Show interest
  • Take careful notes using the complainant’s own words
  • Ask for clarification where necessary
  • Acknowledge feelings without commenting on the concern or complaint being shared.
  • Be prepared to apologise for obvious shortcomings in BLS service
  • Be clear about what can and can’t be done
  • Give clear and valid reasons – and check understanding.
  • Ensure that the complainant understands and is in agreement with the next step to be followed.


“Third party” refers to BLS members (including reciprocal and corporate), donors or statutory professional regulatory bodies.


“Members” refers to BLS members (including reciprocal and corporate)


“Donors” refers to those individuals who may not be BLS members but who have donated funds to the BLS.


“User’s” refers to users of the BLS Complaints procedure; comprising BLS members (including reciprocal and corporate) donors, or statutory professional regulatory bodies.


“Public” refers to people who are not members of a particular organisation


“Trustee” refers to members of the BLS Executive committee, including Honorary officers, who are democratically elected by the BLS membership according to BLS’s governing document, the Constitution.


“Statutory Professional regulatory bodies” refers to bodies to which professionals are legally required to be registered with, in order to practice their profession by meeting defined standards.


“Employee” refers to those people employed by the BLS in a paid capacity; currently the BLS Operations Manager and the BLS Finance Administration Manager..