COMPLAINTS AND COMPLIMENTS PROCEDURES
(In the following Age UK East Grinstead & District has been abbreviated to “AUKEG&D” and the word “user” means anyone who uses the services of AUKEG&D directly or indirectly, whether being an individual or another organisation. “Staff” refers to paid employees and volunteers. Line Manager will be one of ‘Home Support Manager’, ‘Community Integration Manager’, “Chef”, Short Breaks Coordinator or Chief Operations Manager’)
1.1 As an organisation, AUKEG&D needs to be aware of its members’ and users’ needs. Organisations develop complaints procedures to handle complaints from their customers, as they arise.
1.2 Customer care lines are commonplace in the commercial sector, effectively acting as a front line for complaints and to improve the quality of services provided.
1.3 If handled the right way, a complaints procedure enables staff and Trustees to monitor and improve performance and relationships with the public – our members and users.
1.4 The purpose of AUKEG&D’s Complaints Procedure is to:
- Protect the interests of individual service users;
- Improve the quality of our services by being responsive to the views of people affected by them;
- Enable users, potential users and carers to challenge what may appear to be arbitrary decisions;
- Protect staff and volunteers from the consequences of what may otherwise appear to be arbitrary ad hoc procedures for dealing with complaints;
- Provide an additional means of monitoring our performance;
- Maintain a customer care philosophy within AUKEG&D.
2. Complaints Procedure
The key element is that a complaint should be resolved, as far as possible, at source and the complainant encouraged to discuss his/her complaint. It is incumbent upon all staff to try to help and perhaps ascertain that there may have been a misunderstanding.
2.1 Any member of staff is authorised to handle a complaint in a polite and understanding way. If the complaint is of a serious nature or if the customer is not satisfied the matter should be referred to the Line Manager concerned or in their absence the Chief Operations Manager, immediately.
2.2 If a complaint is made in writing it must be acknowledged within five days of receipt. In the absence of the Line Manager/Chief Operations Manager the complainant must be contacted and told who is looking into the complaint, what action is being taken and when a reply can be expected.
2.3 Should the Line manager/Chief Operations Manager decide that an interview with the complainant is appropriate then an appointment must be arranged to discuss the complaint. The complainant may bring another person as support, other than a legal representative.
23.4 The Line Manager/Chief Operations Manager of AUKEG&D must give a written decision to the complainant within 28 days.
2.5 If the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint, he or she can refer the issue in writing to the Chair of Trustees within 14 days of receipt of the decision letter. The Chair of Trustees will acknowledge the complainant’s letter within 5 days and convene a Review Panel consisting of members of the Trustee Board who have had no previous connection with the case. The Review Panel will consider the complaint and give a written decision to the complainant within 28 days of receipt of the complainant’s letter. Its decision will be final.
3. Recording of Complaints
Complaints are to be recorded on special Complaints Forms and are to be dealt with and kept in a confidential file. Brief details of any oral or written complaints must also be recorded in a Complaints Book in date order with progress on resolving them noted and final outcomes also recorded.
4. Complaints about other organisations
Complaints about the National Health Service, Social Services or other statutory authorities cannot be dealt with by AUKEG&D but must be referred to the authority concerned.
Complaints about another Age UK group must be passed to the Chief Operations Manager, who will pass them to the organisation concerned. AUKEG&D will, however, monitor the progress of such complaint and advise the member organisation concerned about relevant procedures where these do not exist.
5. Compliments and Suggestions
All compliments/comments and/or suggestions about AUKEG&D are to be passed to the Chief Operations Manager and recorded in a special “Comments/Suggestions Book”.
6. Notification to Trustees
The Chief Operations Manager will immediately report to Police and to the Board of Trustees all complaints requiring Police action, such as theft or assault by staff.
He/she will also report to all Board meetings the numbers of both complaints and compliments received since the last such meeting, with details of them and their resolution.
The Board will use this information to decide whether any changes to our policies and procedures are needed and implement any thought necessary.