Complaints Procedure

Any expression of dissatisfaction regarding any aspect of the service or activities of the LINk should be regarded as a complaint.  A complaint does not have to be written, it may be made in person, over the phone, or by e-mail.

In the event of a complaint being received the following procedure should be followed:

Informal

The problem should be resolved as soon as possible with the person or organisation concerned, preferably on the same day or within 14 days of the complaint being made.  The complainant must be informed who is dealing with the complaint and when they will receive a response.  Where the complaint is made by telephone, full details should be taken.

It is hoped that the vast majority of complaints are dealt with at this informal stage.

A written note of the complaint and the details of its resolution should be kept on file for reference, should it be necessary to refer back to it later, for example in the event of a further complaint on the same topic.

Formal

In the event of the problem not being resolved between the complainant and member of staff or person concerned (respondent), or if the complainant wants the matter dealt with by a more senior person, then the LINk Manager or Chair should be contacted with a written complaint.

The complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 48 hours.

The Manager or Chair investigates the complaint, including interviewing the complainant and others to establish the facts.  He/she keeps the complainant informed of progress and any possible delays.

A written response and personal explanation by the Manager or Chair is made to the complainant within 28 days of the complaint being made.

If the complaint is about the Manager or Chair then the complaint is referred to the Steering Group, who will nominate an investigating officer who will proceed as above.  The investigating officer will be a member of the Steering Group.

Review

If the complainant is not satisfied with the response then an appeal can be made to the Steering Group for a review within 28 days of the result of Step 2.

The Review Panel should be no more than three people, none of whom should have been involved with the procedure or complaint, and should include a lay member of the management committee and an independent person, possibly from another organisation, who shall act as chair.

The convenor of the Review Panel should be a committee member of the organisation.

Ten days written notice should be given of the Review Meeting.  All parties will be given notice and the opportunity to submit papers to the panel.  These will be included with the written notice of the meeting.

The complainant should be informed that they may bring a person of their choice for support.

The Review Meeting should be as informal as possible.  It is important that the complainant and respondent should be present at the meeting together.

After the complainant and the respondent have stated their case they leave together.

The Review Panel will then consider their action in private and write to the complainant and the respondent outlining their decision within 7 days of the meeting.

The decision of the panel is final.

Every 12 months the service manager must review all complaints received and identify any trends emerging.  This review feeds into the service strategy review and appraisals where appropriate.  The review will be documented.

Notes

Details of the complaint must be passed to the service manager, or in the service manager's absence, his/her deputy. 

  1. It is the responsibility of the service manager to fully investigate the complaint.  This may include discussing the situation with the member of staff involved and/or contacting the complainant for further information.
  2. Basic information about the complaint must be recorded in the Central Record and a substantive written response produced to the complainant within 5 working days.  This response should also be kept on the Central Record.
  3. The response must offer the complainant a further review if they remain dissatisfied and, where the complaint is justified, an apology and details of what the service will do to put things right.