Service Users’ Complaints Policy
Kingdom Abuse Survivors Project (KASP) aims to provide a high quality standard of service. If we fail to do this it is important that we know about it. This will enable us not only to deal with the specific problem, but also help us to improve our quality of service in a no blame culture.
This policy is for use by KASP service users only. Any KASP member of staff, volunteer or student should use the grievance or complaints policy applicable to them (see the Grievance, Volunteers and Student Placement Policies).
2 Policy Aims
We will treat as a complaint any expression of dissatisfaction about the standard or quality of service, action or lack of action, by KASP or its staff which affects a service user or a group of service users.
Our procedure is based on four key principles:
We will be responsive – taking complaints seriously and offering those who complain a clear response to their complaint within defined time limits.
We will seek to improve services – by providing an opportunity to amend, reflect on and improve the services provided by KASP.
Our procedure will be easily understood – straightforward to use, accepting either spoken or written complaints.
Our procedure will be well managed – fair and objective, aimed at resolving problems as quickly as possible in a manner which respects confidentiality.
3 The Procedure
Complaints must be made within two years of the service provided or the event complained about.
If any complaint involves an employee, volunteer or student at KASP she will be informed of the existence of the complaint and given the details of the nature of it. She will be entitled to respond to the complaint both in writing and in person and to be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or work colleague at any meeting, which will be held separately from any meeting with the complainer.
Stage 1 – Informal Complaints or Expressions of Dissatisfaction
A service user, or a person authorised by a service user to do so, has the right to make a formal complaint, but it is often quicker and easier if the problem can be resolved informally.
An informal complaint or an expression of dissatisfaction may be made verbally, by letter, telephone or email, to any member of staff.
This stage may be used to advise a member of staff of a particular problem, allowing them to resolve the matter first hand. This may involve :
• Mediation and conciliation
• Explaining policies or decisions
• Helping the complainer to express their views
The member of staff will take an accurate note of the details of the complaint, what solution is being sought, and will let the complainer know when the matter is expected to be resolved.
The member of staff will inform the complainer about the action to be taken if the complaint cannot be resolved immediately.
Complaints will be acknowledged within 3 working days and the complainer advised of the outcome within 10 working days.
Stage 2 – Formal Complaints
Formal complaints must be made in writing to the Manager of KASP, and marked Private and Confidential.
The formal complaint should provide as much information as possible about what the problem is and how the complainer would like to see it resolved.
The Manager of KASP may assign a member of staff, if appropriate, to investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it. Anyone appointed to investigate a complaint but who has a conflict of interest should withdraw from the investigation and inform the Manager of the conflict of interest.
The person appointed to investigate a complaint will act impartially and independently of the complainant and of the service complained about. They will act confidentially in the handling of the complaint.
The complaint will be investigated and will include the offer to the complainer of an interview. Should an interview be required arrangements will be confirmed in writing detailed as follows:
• The place and time of the proposed interview
• Who will attend the interview
• The complainer’s option to be accompanied by another person at the interview
• That the meeting will be recorded in writing and a record kept on file.
In the event that the Manager is the person complained about, the formal complaints procedure will be conducted by a Trustee of KASP, delegated by the Chair of the Trustees.
If during the course of an investigation it becomes apparent that disciplinary action may be necessary, this will be dealt with by following KASP Disciplinary Procedure.
The complainer will be informed of the outcome in writing with a summary of the investigation which has been carried out, and any action taken or proposed to resolve the complaint.
All formal complaints will be acknowledged in writing within 3 working days. KASP will where practicable respond to the complainer following an investigation of the complaint within 15 working days of the complaint being received.
Where it is not possible to complete an investigation of a complaint within this time limit KASP will write to the complainer to advise of an alternative timescale. All complaints investigations will be completed within 6 months of receipt of the complaint. However, where any legal action is in progress concerning the subject matter of the complaint, the procedure may be halted until any legal process is complete.
Stage 3 – Appeals
If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainer, he/she may appeal in writing to the Manager of KASP. The appeal must be in writing and should be addressed to the Manager of KASP. The appeal must set out why the complainer is dissatisfied with the original decision.
Any member of staff, volunteer or student concerned in the complaint will be informed of the appeal.
The Manager, or where appropriate a member of staff designated by the manager, will consider the appeal. This decision will be final.
In the event that the Manager is the person complained about, the appeal procedure will be conducted by one or more delegated Trustees KASP, none of whom will have been involved in any earlier stage of the complaints procedure.
The Manager or the person dealing with the appeal will acknowledge receipt of the appeal within 3 working days.
The person dealing with the appeal will notify the complainer of her decision within 28 days of receipt of the appeal. The decision will be final.
4 Recording and Monitoring Complaints
All complaints will be recorded and monitored. This will assist KASP to understand service users’ views and the improvements they would like to see. For each complaint a record will be kept of:
• The note taken by the member of staff complained to at the informal resolution stage
- The written record of the formal complaints procedure
- The written record of any appeal
- All correspondence with the complainer.
Records will also include:
- The number and type of complaints
- How quickly they were dealt with
- The action taken as a result of a complaint
- Any changes to services made as a result of a complaint
KASP, wherever possible, will strive to make sure that all complaints are treated confidentially. Persons dealing with complaints and, if the complaint is about a specific member(s) of staff, then the staff member(s) involved, will be aware that a complaint has been received and is being dealt with.
All complaints will be presented to the Board although confidentiality will be considered at all times and where possible staff and clients will be anonymised.
Anonymous complaints will be progressed appropriately in the light of the information provided but the lack of knowledge of the identity of the complainer will restrict the ability of KASP to deal effectively with a complaint or to inform the complainer of the outcome.
6 Anonymous Complaints
Anonymous complaints may be reported, investigated or acted upon as the person receiving the complaint sees fit having regard to the seriousness of the issue raised, the credibility of the complaint, the prospects of being able to investigate the matter, and fairness to any individual mentioned in the complaint. We do, however, encourage those who complain to say who they are so that we can respond fully to the complaint and let them know the outcome.
7 Aggressive or Obsessive Complaints
We want to deal fairly and honestly with complainers and to ensure that other service users, staff and KASP as a whole do not suffer detriment from persons making vexatious complaints. The Manager will refer complaints which she considers vexatious to the Board of Trustees of KASP, who will decide whether such complaints are to be treated as being vexatious. If so, the Chair of KASP will write to the complainer advising that the complaint is to be treated as vexatious. If necessary, the Trustees may request that KASP’s solicitor write to the vexatious complainer to inform her that her behaviour is considered to be unacceptable.
8. Contact details for KASP.
Kingdom Abuse Survivors Project
38-40 High Street
Telephone: 01592 644217
9 Policy Review
KASP will review this policy every three years and when there are relevant changes in legislation or circumstances.