Complaints Policy and Procedure
Supporters of Childreach International and members of the general public have the right to express their comments, suggestions and complaints about our performance and conduct in the discharge of our duties and responsibilities.
We welcome complaints, as they are an important way of identifying the perspective of those who have contact with our organisation. Complaints can act as an early indicator that a system is not functioning effectively or that we are not explaining what we do well enough. Analysing trends that prompt the complaints can provide valuable insight into where improvements may be required.
The main aim of this procedure is to get appropriate resolution for the complainant and to learn from complaints for the benefit of Childreach International as an organisation.
What constitutes a complaint about Childreach International?
A complaint in this context is any expression of dissatisfaction about the Childreach International, however communicated, that requires a response.
For example, this could be about the way in which we have dealt with a situation (maybe in terms of timeliness, courtesy, clarity of communication), or whether the conduct of our employees has been inappropriate. It could relate to decisions we have made or our methods, policies and procedures.
All complaints made about the organisation and our contractors wherever they arise should be managed in line with this policy.
Who can complain?
Anyone directly affected by the way in which Childreach International has carried out its functions, or anyone acting directly on such a person’s behalf, may make a complaint under this policy, provided that the complaint is about the organisation or an individual employed by the organisation.
This document sets out the procedure for enquiring into and, if necessary, addressing allegations of failure in service by Childreach International (including any contractors working on our behalf) arising from the way we have carried out our functions. This includes:
- Lack of care
- Failure to respond or unreasonable delay
- Unprofessional behaviour
- Lack of integrity
- Failure to follow proper procedures
We cannot however consider the following matters:
- Complaints about employment matters, including complaints from Childreach International employees or former employees, which are dealt with under our employment procedures.
- Complaints connected with contractual or commercial disputes involving Childreach International.
- We will not investigate complaints that we consider frivolous or without merit, where further investigation would not serve any useful purpose, or where it would not otherwise be an appropriate use of this Procedure having regard to the proper use of publicly raised funds.
- We have separate procedures for the handling of complaints about the use of confidential personal information and the Data Protection Act 1998. Complainants who are not satisfied with the way that we have dealt with a complaint about the use of confidential personal information or requests for information may be able to take their complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Complaints made anonymously will normally be reviewed in the same manner as other complaints. The relevant manager will decide whether it is necessary to follow up such complaints and will record the decision.
About the procedure
We aim to give full, fair, timely and appropriate responses to those who wish to complain about us. We will also try to find creative solutions to situations that have given rise to complaints.
We will conduct all reviews or investigations of complaints fairly and impartially. We will base conclusions on sound evidence and make judgements on the ‘balance of probabilities’.
The following summarises the stages in the procedure:
Stage 1: Complaint is made to us. If the complaint is about an individual then the complaint is allocated to the appropriate line manager. If the complaint is about policy, process or a service we provide then the complaint will be allocated to the Operations Director.
This stage of the procedure is used as an opportunity to sort out a problem at the point where it arises. For complaints that are about the behaviour of a particular employee, we will not require the complainant to speak to that employee to resolve the issue. This will be the responsibility of the line manager of the person concerned.
The relevant manager will judge how the situation should be approached. In all cases, we will establish that a person is making complaints as opposed, for example, to seeking information, making a suggestion or providing intelligence.
Providing information or correcting misunderstandings or misconceptions at this stage may save time and avoid the need to use the complaints process.
We will acknowledge the complaint in writing (or in the complainants preferred method of communication) within three working days.
If a complaint is received over the telephone, it may be possible to resolve it immediately, for example, by apologising for what has happened. In such cases, the complaint should still be logged and noted as resolved.
Attempts to resolve the matter must be completed within 15 working days of establishing the nature of the complaint. Exceptionally, if further time is needed, let the complainant know of this.
We will seek to receive timely information from contractors acting or working on our behalf and will use this information in order to reply to a complainant.
The outcome and findings of the complaint will be clearly stated in the response to the complainant. We will make it clear that, if dissatisfied, the person may progress their complaint to the next stage (Stage 2). They have 10 working days within which to do this. The contact details for the Chief Executive Officer should be included with the final response.
Stage 2: If the person complaining is not satisfied with the outcome of stage 1, and requests that it is taken further then the complaint must be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for review at stage 2.
The Chief Executive Officer will review the Stage 1 complaint and reply to determine whether it was handled correctly. He/she may also decide to offer additional commentary in response to the complaint within 15 working days.
Learning from complaints
The Senior Management Team will review data received from complaints, this will incorporate trend analysis and case studies of particularly serious issues, along with associated recommendations for change or improvement to services.
It It is important to identify areas of learning in order to achieve change across the organisation through wider communications to staff, although local updates will be more appropriate on occasion where complaints relate to a specific area of work.