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Complaints Policy

Introduction

Hope into Action: Black Country is committed to providing high quality services in an efficient, effective and economic way, and within approved budgets.

Complaints are a valuable source of feedback, helping us understand how and why things go wrong and enabling us to prevent reoccurrence. Where mistakes have been made, Hope into Action: Black Country will ensure that appropriate action is taken to rectify them.  


Policy objectives

The objectives of the Complaints Policy are to:


Procedures

1.Definitions

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, action or inaction by Hope into Action: Black Country, its employees, board members, contractors, partners or licencees.  Examples could include:


a) Formal and informal complaints

 All complaints are usually dealt with at the first point of contact with a member of staff (usually the person handling the enquiry), and the aim is to resolve the issue ‘there and then’. If it cannot be resolved at that point of contact then the complaint will need to be escalated to the formal process. Staff should offer help for complaints to be made or support complainants to get advice from CAB. 

Formal complaints may arise if the informal complaint process is not resolved satisfactorily, or if the complainant wishes to formally complain about a matter. In such cases the staged procedure will be followed.

All formal and informal complaints will be recorded to identify trends and make improvements to service delivery.


b) Complaints which fall outside the scope of this policy

Complaints not covered by this policy are:


c) Complaints about Board Members or Staff

Where serious complaints are received about the impropriety of Board Members

or members of staff, such issues may be dealt with separately under Governance or Human Resources procedures, and may also be referred to regulatory bodies or other appropriate organisations if appropriate.


d) Complaints from staff

This is covered in the staff handbook.


e) Unreasonable, persistent and vexatious complaints

Examples of complaint which Hope into Action: Black Country would consider unreasonable, persistent or vexatious could include those in which the complainant:

In such cases the Chief Executive shall review each such complaint separately. It will not be assumed that someone who has been unreasonable or vexatious in the past might be so with the current complaint. The Chief Executive will decide whether the complaint falls under this definition, and write to the complainant advising him/her of this decision. Information about the procedure and the right to take the complaint to the Ombudsman will be provided. The following courses of action may be taken: 

Such complaints shall be recorded and analysed in the same way as all other complaints.


f) Anonymous complaints

The nature of all anonymous complaints will be recorded.  Any anonymous complaint will only be referred for investigation or other action if it includes documentary or photographic evidence indicating a serious or significant matter.

 

2. Reporting

All complaints should be made known to Hope into Action: Black Country’s Chief Executive.

All complaints shall be recorded in a share-point folder in policies and the Chief Executive shall report to the Trustee’s every Trustees meeting on the complaints received.


3.    Accessibility

a) Making sure that people know how to complain

Hope into Action: Black Country will publicise its complaints procedure in a variety of ways, including:

Hope into Action: Black Country will arrange for the provision of translation services, audio and Braille on request.


b) Accessible complaints process

At all stages, Hope into Action: Black Country will endeavour to remove any barriers to making a complaint.  Complaints may be made by the method preferred by the complainant. This may include phone, letter, email, face-to-face and using the website. 

Help will be offered to those who wish to complain. This may include (but is not restricted to) a staff member taking written details, visiting the complainant or arranging translation services.  An advocate (such as a relative, case worker or solicitor) may register a complaint if the complainant is unable to do so for themselves. In such cases, the complainant must give Hope into Action: Black Country authority to liaise with the third party.


4.    Confidentiality

All complaints will be dealt with in the strictest confidence, and in line with Data Protection Act principles. There will be no adverse consequences for complainants such as the removal of a service. Information about trends and types of complaints will be published, but no individual or groups will be identifiable. Also refer to the Data Sharing Policy.


5.    Feedback and remedies

Proving a remedy to the complaint is a key element of an effective feedback system. The member of staff investigating the complaint should contact the complainant, at the earliest opportunity, to:

Examples of remedies or resolutions may include:

The Chief Executive shall always consider actions to prevent recurrence. These may include changes to procedures, staff training and feedback to contractors.


a) Good Will Gestures

In exceptional circumstances upon approval from the Chief Executive , Hope Into Action: Black Country may offer compensation in the form of a goodwill gesture such as a gift of flowers. Such a gesture does not imply acceptance, guilt, or responsibility for the complaint.


6.    Timescales

A complaint should be made within 3 months of the service being delivered or requested.

Hope into Action: Black Country will register, and aim to resolve, all complaints informally at the first point of contact. Where a satisfactory solution cannot be, or has not been, achieved, the complainant may wish to escalate the matter to status of a formal complaint.


7.    Tenant Complaints

Full Complaints Policy including Flowcharts and Complaints Forms

Complaints Policy