Queries + Complaints

About the DEC

  • Our Vision & Mission Statement

    Our Vision

    A world where the impact of disasters on affected communities is minimised by working together through effective humanitarian response and growing resilience.

    Our Mission

    Together we will raise funds to save, protect and rebuild lives in vulnerable countries that are impacted by emergencies and major disasters.  We will:

    - Raise funds quickly and effectively in large scale humanitarian emergencies.
    - Uphold the highest standards of accountability and transparency
    - Learn and share information to promote effective programmes of response

    Strategic Values

    Linked to this Mission is a set of Strategic Values agreed by the DEC Board of Trustees, in order to describe the way in which DEC as a collective works:

    We bring together the leading humanitarian agencies and reach out to work in cooperation with others. Together we meet our commitment to raise funds to save, protect and rebuild lives.

    Accountability and transparency
    We are accountable to the people we serve during emergencies and to our supporters who make what we do possible. When we ask for money, we are clear about why we need it and ensure the highest standards and delivery of programmes that meet people’s needs.

    We ensure that our collective expertise maximises funds raised and brings about an effective response that respects the dignity of disaster victims. We share our learning within each emergency and from one emergency to the next.

    We always put the humanitarian imperative first so that across our member agencies aid and support is allocated to beneficiaries according to the urgency of their unmet needs and through the organisations best placed to meet those needs.

    We stand up with integrity for principled humanitarian action. We work impartially, independently and without the influence of governments or donors to ensure that our response is credible and supports those in urgent need, regardless of age, gender, colour, ethnicity, faith or political affiliation.

  • Do you have a Supporter Care Phone Number?

    We do try and encourage most people to contact us online via our contact form or using live chat. This helps us provide a faster response to your query in busy appeals and makes sure you get the best service.

    However if you would feel more comfortable speaking to someone on the phone, we do operate a call centre where staff will do their very best to help you. You can contact the call centre on this number -

    01204 770822

    For live chat, please visit the help centre and see if we are online in the bottom left - https://dechelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

  • What is your registered Charity Number?

    The DEC's Registered Charity No. is 1062638

  • How much do you spend on Admin / Fundraising?

    All of our income / expenditure is in our annual reports here. This also includes a breakdown of staff pay and what appeal money is spent on. Please note we can only provide figures for previous business years.

    Of all the donations we receive, around 7% (to October 2017 based on previous eight appeals) will be used to cover the wide-ranging costs relating to running an appeal (advertising, fundraising costs such as the telephone donations systems, monitoring and evaluation of how funds are spent) although we do try our best to get as much as possible for free. We only spend what we absolutely need to run a successful appeal and we try and keep this as low as possible.

    The remaining approximately 93% of donated funds are then divided between our 14 member agencies. Of this amount, they can use up to 7% to cover their own management costs related to the appeal (this includes things such as overheads relating to staff working on the response and monitoring and evaluation of their programmes). The remainder will then go directly towards the response programme. Of this, 50% minimum will pay for supplying items such as medicines, water, food, hygiene items, temporary shelters, tarpaulins etc. The rest will cover costs such as transporting these materials, the costs of staff carrying out distributions or providing health care (the majority of whom are locals from the affected area), or communications costs to ensure good coordination and information sharing.

  • How much is your CEO paid?

    Full details of salaries paid to DEC Executives can be seen in our annual reports, which are always publicly available on our website. Please go to


How the DEC works

  • How does the DEC work?

    The DEC raises funds for work done by our 14 member UK charities. They, not the DEC, deliver aid directly or through trusted partners to those in need in disaster areas. We do not deliver the aid ourselves or decide which programmes member agencies should run in the field. 

    A formula known as the Indicator of Capacity (IoC) is used to allocate DEC appeal funds amongst our member agencies. The calculation, updated annually, takes into consideration how much each member spends on emergency relief and recovery work overseas, and their UK fundraising capacity. The formula ensures that no one agency gets more than 20% of the funds available and none get less than 3%.

    Because of the IoC, each of our members will know roughly how much money they will get from the DEC as soon as the funds are raised. This helps them begin delivering vital aid within days of a disaster.

    This, we hope, allows the DEC to have maximum fundraising reach and run as efficiently as possible. As the DEC is effectively 'owned' by its charity members the DEC essentially acts as a joint funding pool for UK charity disaster response operations.

    For more details about our member agencies you can find their details here - http://www.dec.org.uk/member-charities

    More information on how the DEC works can be found at http://www.dec.org.uk/how-we-work.

  • When do you launch an appeal?

    The full criteria for when we launch an appeal can be found here. The main criteria are:

    • The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance  
    • The DEC member agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national appeal  
    • There must be reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal would be successful, either because of evidence of existing public sympathy for the humanitarian situation or because there is a compelling case indicating the likelihood of significant public support should an appeal be launched
  • How do you decide how much money each of the DEC member charities should get?

    A formula known as the Indicator of Capacity (IoC) is used to allocate DEC appeal funds amongst our member agencies. The calculation, updated annually, takes into consideration how much each member spends on emergency relief and recovery work overseas, and their UK fundraising capacity. The formula ensures that no one agency gets more than 20% of the funds available and none get less than 3%.

    Because of the IoC, each of our members will know roughly how much money they will get from the DEC as soon as the funds are raised. This helps them begin delivering vital aid within days of a disaster.

    For more information on this go to How we spend and allocate your money

  • Why do the DEC not launch an appeal for every disaster?

    The DEC have a set of criteria which are used to determine whether we will launch an appeal after a disaster has occurred. Details of these criteria can be found by following this link.

    These criteria have been established to ensure that a DEC appeal is launched only when there is dire need for international response, the capability to run an effective response and enough public sympathy and awareness to make an appeal a viable option.

    This is not to say that the DEC do not want to see everyone affected by disaster being helped, but that a DEC appeal is not always going to be the most effective way to respond to a disaster. In many instances, international humanitarian aid will not be called for at all, so there would not be programmes for DEC funds to be used for. Further to this, most of the DEC member charities are international humanitarian aid organisations working in the poorest and most undeveloped countries in the world, so if a disaster happens in a more developed country the lack of DEC member presence will mean that there is nowhere for DEC appeal funds to go.

  • Why doesn't the DEC launch appeals for disasters in the UK?

    The decision for the DEC to launch an appeal for any country in the world is, in a large part, about unmet need. Large scale disasters can affect anyone, but for countries that have suitable infrastructure and resources for disaster response, international humanitarian aid is usually not called for. In many cases the country affect may not even call for international humanitarian assistance if they have a framework in place.

    While people in countries like the UK may be struggling after an emergency, there is funding and a framework to help them get back on their feet and return to their every day lives. This is not to say the DEC does not want to see help provided to those affected, but there are systems in place to ensure they get help without a DEC appeal.  Also, as most of our member agencies won't be working within the affected regions, there are no direct programmes for DEC funds to go to.

    One of our members, the British Red Cross, are usually involved in assisting British people who are caught up in the most difficult situations. If you go to their website at http://www.redcross.org.uk/Where-we-work/In-the-UK you can see where they are providing help and support.

Update details / opt out

  • I Would like to change / update my Name / Address etc.

    An update of details is usually done by filling out our contact form and selecting the option "Update My Details" then "Change my personal details". Please provide us with both the old details that need updating and the new ones. We'll then action this soon as we can. Alternatively this can be done over the phone.

  • I would like to Opt Out of future communications

    Opting out of communication can be done by filling in our contact form. Select "Update My Details" then "Opt-Out", then select which method of communication you want to be removed from.

    To Opt out of future text messages simply text STOP to 70000. There will be no charge for this text message.

    Alternatively this can be done by calling us.

  • How long does it take to update my details / remove me from your contact list?

    The DEC constantly updates all its details with every request/update we receive, we don't send out communications without first updating our records. This is done daily.

  • Will the DEC ever share my information?

    The DEC will never share your information with like minded organisations or charities for the purpose of marketing. We may share your information with government agencies or our data processing organisations to notify you of our overseas disaster appeals, to provide you with information you have requested, for administration purposes and to comply with the law.

    For more detailed information on data sharing see our Privacy Policy.

Complaints Procedure

  • What is your Complaints Policy?
    • The DEC recognises the right to complain and to have the complaint investigated as quickly as possible.
    • We will endeavour to treat all comments and complaints seriously and to learn from and acknowledge any mistakes as well as ensuring continuous improvement of the service the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) delivers.
    • We will be diligent in resolving problems and addressing concerns. 
    • The DEC team will always treat everyone with courtesy and respect, and will listen and provide a prompt response. 
    • Whilst every effort is made to provide an open, accountable and efficient service, sometimes we make mistakes however we will work hard to prevent them from happening again.
    • A complaints process has been set up for people who are dissatisfied about the service or treatment they receive.
  • How do I make a complaint?
    • Simply fill out the online contact form here and in the type of query drop-down menu select Complaint.
    • You can select a specific type of complaint to help us provide a more accurate response 
    • Any additional detail you can also provide will also make it easier for us to get back to you as quickly as possible
  • How quickly do you respond to Complaints?
    • Our average response time for most queries is 24-48 hours.
    • We also have live chat most days where you can speak to someone directly.
    • We operate Mon-Fri most weeks, although we do expand to a seven day response at the peak of appeals.
    • Please bear in mind we are actually a very small team and while we do our best to provide a swift response, during a really busy appeal there might be a slightly longer delay.
  • I am not satisfied with the response to my complaint.

    Send Us Feedback

    After you have received a response to your query you will be sent a feedback form where you can rate how we handled your issue and leave comments. We always read everything and do our best to address any negative comments or complaints, so please do give feedback. 

    Escalate the Issue

    If you would like to escalate your complaint further you can respond and ask the issue to be raised at a more senior level. At this point the complaint will go through an escalation process within the DEC and will be passed to the relevant person who will make sure they do their best to address your concerns.

    Complain to a Regulatory Organisation

    If the response is still unsatisfactory, the complaint can be forwarded to the Fundraising Regulator (for fundraising complaints) or the Charity Commission for all other areas. They will then raise the issue with us at director level. Links to these organisations are below:


  • Do you ever not respond to a complaint?

    There are times when the DEC may not respond to a complaint, these include;

    • When a complaint has only a very broad connection to something that the DEC is working on but is not something over which we have control or influence, for example political issues.
    • When someone unreasonably pursues a complaint to which we have already supplied a satisfactory response.
    • When a complainant is being abusive, prejudiced or offensive in their manner.
    • When a complainant is harassing a staff member.
    • When a complaint has clearly been sent to us and numerous other organisations as part of a bulk mailing or email. In this instance we can choose whether it is necessary for us to reply or not.

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