Bishops Frome Village Centre – Complaints Policy
This policy is intended to ensure that we handle complaints fairly, efficiently and effectively.
Our complaint management system is intended to:
• enable us to respond to issues raised by people making complaints in a timely and cost-effective way
• boost public confidence in our administrative process, and
• provide information that can be used by us to deliver quality improvements in our service provision and complaint handling.
This policy provides guidance to our users, hirers and people who wish to make a complaint on the key principles and concepts of our complaint management system.
This policy applies to all people in the organisation receiving or managing complaints from the public, hirers or users made to or about us, regarding services, staff and complaint handling.
This organisation expects Management Committee Members to be committed to fair, effective and efficient complaint handling. The following table outlines the nature of the commitment expected from committee members and the way that commitment should be implemented.
Terms and Definitions
Expression of dissatisfaction made to or about us or the handling of a complaint where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.
A complaint covered by this Policy can be distinguished from:
• public interest disclosures made by committee members
• responses to requests for feedback about the standard of the Bishops Frome Village Centre provision
• reports of problems or wrongdoing merely intended to bring a problem to our notice with no expectation of a response
• requests for information.
No detriment to people making complaints
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people making complaints are not adversely affected because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.
We accept anonymous complaints and will carry out an investigation of the issues raised where there is enough information provided.
We will ensure that information about how and where complaints may be made to or about us is well publicised. We will ensure that our systems to manage complaints are easily understood and accessible to everyone, particularly people who may require assistance.
If a person prefers or needs another person or organisation to assist or represent them in the making and/ or resolution of their complaint, we will communicate with them through their representative if this is their wish. Anyone may represent a person wishing to make a complaint with their consent (e.g. advocate, family member, legal or community representative, member of Parliament, another organisation).
Complaining to us is free.
Where possible, complaints will be resolved at first contact with Bishops Frome Village Centre.
We will promptly acknowledge receipt of complaints.
We will assess and prioritise complaints in accordance with the urgency and/or seriousness of the issues raised. If a matter concerns an immediate risk to safety or security the response will be immediate and will be escalated appropriately.
We are committed to managing people’s expectations, and will inform them as soon as possible of the following:
• the complaints process
• the expected time frames for our actions
• the progress of the complaint and reasons for any delay
• their likely involvement in the process, and
• the possible or likely outcome of their complaint.
We will advise people as soon as possible when we are unable to deal with any part of their complaint and provide advice about where such issues and/or complaints may be directed (if known and appropriate).
We will also advise people as soon as possible when we are unable to meet our time frames for responding to their complaint and the reason for our delay.
Objectivity and fairness
We will address each complaint with integrity and in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner.
We will ensure that the person handling a complaint is different from any staff member whose conduct or service is being complained about.
Conflicts of interests, whether actual or perceived, will be managed responsibly. In particular, internal reviews of how a complaint was managed will be conducted by a person other than the original decision maker.
We will protect the identity of people making complaints where this is practical and appropriate.
Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed or used as permitted under the relevant privacy laws, secrecy provisions and any relevant confidentiality obligations.
Complaints involving multiple agencies
Where a complaint involves multiple organisations, we will work with the other organisation/s where possible, to ensure that communication with the person making a complaint and/or their representative is clear and coordinated.
Subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations, communication and information sharing between the parties will also be organised to facilitate a timely response to the complaint.
Where a complaint involves multiple areas within our organisation, responsibility for communicating with the person making the complaint and/or their representative will also be coordinated.
Complaints involving multiple parties
When similar complaints are made by related parties we will try to arrange to communicate with a single representative of the group.
Managing unreasonable conduct by people making complaints
We are committed to being accessible and responsive to all people who approach us with feedback complaints.
At the same time our success depends on:
• our ability to perform our functions in the most effective and efficient way possible.
• our ability to allocate our resources fairly across all the complaints we receive.
When people behave unreasonably in their dealings with us, their conduct can significantly affect the progress and efficiency of our work. As a result, we will take proactive and decisive action to manage any conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects us and will support our staff to do the same in accordance with this policy.
Complaint management system
When responding to complaints, committee members should act in accordance with our complaint handling procedures as well as any other internal documents providing guidance on the management of complaints and
should also consider any relevant legislation and/or regulations when responding to complaints and feedback.
The key stages in our complaint management system are set out below.
Receipt of complaints
Unless the complaint has been resolved at the outset, we will record the complaint and its supporting information. We will also assign a unique identifier to the complaint file.
The record of the complaint will document:
• the contact information of the person making a complaint
• issues raised by the person making a complaint and the outcome/s they want
• any other relevant and useful information
• any additional support the person making a complaint requires.
Acknowledgement of complaints
We will acknowledge receipt of each complaint promptly, and preferably within five working days.
Consideration will be given to the most appropriate medium (e.g. email, letter) for communicating with the person making a complaint.
Initial assessment and addressing of complaints
After acknowledging receipt of the complaint, we will confirm whether the issue/s raised in the
complaint is/are within our control. We will also consider the outcome/s sought by the person making a complaint and, where there is more than one issue raised, determine whether each issue needs to be separately addressed.
When determining how a complaint will be managed, we will consider:
• How serious, complicated or urgent the complaint is
• Whether the complaint raises concerns about people’s health and safety
• How the person making the complaint is being affected
• The risks involved if resolution of the complaint is delayed, and
• Whether a resolution requires the involvement of other organisations.
After assessing the complaint, we will consider how to manage it. To manage a complaint, we may:
• Give the person making a complaint information or an explanation
• Gather information from the product, person or area that the complaint is about, or
• Investigate the claims made in the complaint.
We will keep the person making the complaint up to date on our progress, particularly if there are any delays. We will also communicate the outcome of the complaint using the most appropriate medium. Which actions we decide to take will be tailored to each case and take into account any statutory requirements.
Providing reasons for decisions
Following consideration of the complaint and any investigation into the issues raised, we will contact the person making the complaint and advise them:
• the outcome of the complaint and any action we took
• the reason/s for our decision
• the remedy or resolution/s that we have proposed or put in place, and
• any options for review that may be available to the complainant, such as an internal review, external review or appeal.
Closing the complaint, record keeping, redress and review
We will keep comprehensive records about:
• how we managed the complaint
• the outcome/s of the complaint (including whether it or any aspect of it was substantiated, any recommendations made to address problems identified and any decisions made on those recommendations, and
• any outstanding actions that need to be followed up.
We will ensure that outcomes are properly implemented, monitored and reported to the complaint handling manager and/or senior management.
Accountability and learning
Analysis and evaluation of complaints
We will ensure that complaints are recorded in a systematic way so that information can be easily retrieved for reporting and analysis.
Regular reports will be run on:
• the number of complaints received
• the outcome of complaints, including matters resolved at the frontline
• issues arising from complaints
• systemic issues identified, and
• the number of requests we receive for internal and/or external review of our complaint handling.
Regular analysis of these reports will be undertaken to monitor trends, measure the quality of our customer service and make improvements.
Monitoring of the complaint management system
We will continually monitor our complaint management system to:
• ensure its effectiveness in responding to and resolving complaints, and
• identify and correct deficiencies in the operation of the system.
• Monitoring may include the use of audits, complaint satisfaction surveys and online listening tools and alerts.
We are committed to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our complaint management system. To this end, we will:
• support the making and appropriate resolution of complaints
• implement best practices in complaint handling
• recognise and reward exemplary complaint handling by staff
• regularly review the complaints management system and complaint data, and
• implement appropriate system changes arising out of our analysis of complaints data and continual monitoring of the system.