A. Purpose of the Procedure
Service users need to have the right to complain about the service they receive by means of free and clear access to a complaint procedure. This procedure is to enable people using services of, or taking part in activities organised by, KASP to be heard when they feel things have gone wrong.
Many people may approach KASP at times when they feel vulnerable or anxious. If services are not satisfactory, this may be particularly distressing. It is very important for KASP to be aware of areas of dissatisfaction and to correct any shortcomings.
This procedure aims to ensure that complaints/problems are resolved quickly, fairly and as close to the point of service delivery as possible to ensure that the individuals involved and the organisation as a whole benefit from the experience.
B. Who Can Complain?
- Any individual who is receiving a service from KASP
- Any individual who has been refused a service from KASP.
- Any individual acting on their behalf.
C. The Principles
- People making complaints have the right to be treated equally and not suffer discrimination.
- Complaints are to be treated seriously and dealt with in good time.
- There should be ease of access to enable service users or their representatives to make their views known.
- There should be clearly indicated means of challenging decisions on service provision/non provision or other matters of concern to service users.
- No person should be involved in investigating a complaint relating to his/her own actions or judgement.
- Complaints are to be treated with an open mind, and will be investigated without prejudice. Those making a complaint must be reassured that complaining will not result in any discrimination against them.
- People making complaints have the right to confidentiality.
- Anonymous complaints may not be investigated.
- The overall level of complaints is to be recorded and monitored.
D. The Procedure
The procedure identifies two types of complaints:
- Informal Complaints – those that may be able to be resolved quickly and easily.
- Formal Complaints – those that cannot be resolved informally or are logged as official complaints and which should follow a set procedure.
If you have an informal complaint any member of staff will be happy to discuss it with you and take any action required. If you feel that an informal complaint has not been remedied to your satisfaction you can decide to make a formal complaint.
1 . If you have a complaint about any service, individual or activity which you wish to be handled formally, you should complete a complaint form and return it to the Chairperson, KASP, 38-40 High Street, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1LU. Where you have communicated with KASP that you are going to make a formal complaint you will be provided with a KASP complaint form. You will have 10 working days from the date of receiving the complaint form to submit your formal complaint to the Chairperson. Any complaints received beyond the stipulated 10 working days will not be investigated and will be regarded as void.
When completing your complaint form please ensure you provide accurate details of the complaint so that it is clear what the allegations are. Where the complaint is against an individual you should describe the behaviour which you believe is unacceptable and support this with evidence where possible. In the case of a complaint against an individual please state whether you would be willing to undertake a mediation meeting.
It should be noted that confidentiality must always be respected when making a complaint.
2. In cases of complaints against an individual, mediation meetings can be arranged where appropriate. Mediation meetings would incorporate the individual making the complaint and a support person of their choice; the individual who has been complained about and a support person of their choice; the Project Manager or Chairperson. The aim of a mediation meeting would not be to attribute blame but rather to examine ways of resolving the situation, which are acceptable to everyone.
Where mediation meetings are not appropriate, or where they have been held but fail to achieve an acceptable result, the steps below will be followed.
3. In the case of formal written complaints, the following procedure shall apply:
- The Chairperson will decide, from the nature of the complaint, who is the appropriate person/people to deal with the complaint.
- The person making the complaint will receive an acknowledgement of their complaint from the appropriate person within 5 working days and the complaint will be investigated within a further 10 working days. If for any reason it seems unlikely that this period for response is not going to be met, the person making the complaint will be advised of this fact and a new time-scale for completion will be agreed with them.
- The investigating officer will make a judgement as to whether each complaint is upheld, not upheld or not substantiated and note any action which should be taken as a result of the complaint. This information will be passed to the Chairperson who will respond on behalf of KASP; this will be done in writing.
- The complainer should be given the right to state whether they are satisfied with the response and if not whether they wish the complaint to be considered by the management committee.
- Complainers, who are not satisfied with the reply, should write to the Management Committee within 7 working days outlining why they are not satisfied.
- The Management Committee will discuss the complaint at the next committee meeting and make a judgement as to whether each complaint is upheld, not upheld or not substantiated and note any action which should be taken as a result of the complaint. The complainer will be informed in writing of the outcome and will be given the opportunity to state whether they are satisfied with the response. The decision of the Management Committee is final though this does not affect individuals’ rights to then invoke the complaints procedure of Fife Council Social Work Department. This can be done by making contact with KASP Fife Council Contracts Officer Vicki Huskie, Social Work Contracts. 1st Floor, Rothesay House, Glenrothes, KY7 5PQ.
- Formal complaints about individual members of the Management Committee should be addressed to the Chairperson of the Management Committee.
Formal complaints about the Chair of the Management Committee should be addressed to the Secretary. These will be dealt with by either the full Management Committee or by a Sub-Group appointed by the Management Committee, which would not include the person who is being complained about.
4.Any complaint, which alleges malpractice by a counsellor, can be dealt with under KASP’s complaints procedure.