Complaint Handling Policy

Complaint Handling Policy



 ResponsibleOfficer:  AssistantChief Executive(Operations)
 Approved:  April2014
 ReviewDate:  April2017
  QAF (Supp Housing)  Beneficiary Involvement &EmpowermentFairAccess, Diversityand InclusionInformingServiceUsers
 Scope:  Unit Wide


Complaint Handling Policy


1.0      Policy Statement:

Helping Our Future is committed to providing reliable services in neighbourhoods where people want to live and work. However, we recognise that from time to time people may have cause for dissatisfaction with our services.




Helping Our Future will investigate, learn from and where possible resolve all legitimate complaints made against the organisation, its staff or its contractors.



Helping Our Future recognises the diversity of the communities in which it operates in terms of differing lifestyles and cultures. We acknowledge these differences and aim to create, with users, a complaints process that supports such diversity in line with our Equality & Diversity Policy.




We will provide customers, including the most vulnerable, with the support they need to access the complaints service and promote it regularly to ensure that they have the confidence to report their concerns if they do not receive a first class service.



2.0      Definition:


The definition of a complaint as defined by users through consultation is:



A complaint is a failure of service and not an initial request for service, it is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by Helping Our Future’s staff or contractors acting on our behalf, which affects a user, group of users or other stakeholders.

This may include:
Failure  to  provide  a  service  or  achieve  the  standards  of  service  we  have promised
Failure to fulfill our legal or contractual obligations   Unfair treatment by staff
Unacceptable delay or failure to respond to an enquiry or request   Dissatisfaction with a decision or the way that it was made
Dissatisfaction with the attitude of staff, contractors or agents
Helping Our Future not applying policies and operating procedures fairly.
For the purpose of the policy we define users as anyone who uses our services, even if they do not go on to become a beneficiary. If the complainant is not eligible to approach the Complaint Management Officer, Helping Our Future may limit access through the complaint procedure, however the complaint will be investigated and responded to by appropriate level of officer.



3.0  Policy:





The policy and supporting Complaints Procedures allows Helping Our Future to ensure that:

Reporting: the service promotes Helping Our Future as an open, accessible and listening organisation by:




Ensuring that the complaints service is accessed by a fair representative of our customer base and take positive action when this is not happening.
Not placing a restriction on the methods that can be used to make a complaint; a complaints leaflet is available for users on the website, in offices and from front line operatives or officers.

Accepting complaints when they are made by a third party or advocate on behalf of a complainant, (e.g. elected members; solicitor;  a friend or relative and advice workers).

Ensuring all staff are trained and equipped to receive and record complaints officially.
Staff are enabled to deal effectively with unacceptable actions or behavior. See Appendix 1.4.

Resolution: will investigate complaints as quickly as possible and seek to resolve the issue in line with user expectation where ever reasonable possible by:





Appointing Complaint Management Officers and Case Workers to each complaint to ensure it is effectively managed and responded to.

Keeping the complainant fully informed of the process for their complaint and being respectful of individual user’s needs and circumstance.

Satisfaction:  Satisfaction  will  be  the  key  indicator  for  how  we  are  managing complaints; so we know what we are doing well and what we need to do to be better.




To increase the amount of satisfaction data we receive, the Complaint Management Officer will ask the user how well we have managed their complaint and how satisfied there were with the outcome.

We will address the causes of dissatisfaction by asking the user, why and how we could have done it better.

Learning:     Helping Our Future  will  learn  from  complaints  to  improve  the  services  we provide to users to support our culture of continuous improvement.




Helping Our Future will empower staff to view complaints in a positive way and ensure a successful resolution of complaints for all concerned, at first point of contact wherever possible.
Where complaints have led to changes being implemented in our organisation, we will inform users of these personally. Where we cannot implement a change that a group of users have suggested, we will give an explanation why.
Complaint, comment and compliment feedback will be discussed as part of team meetings as part of individual staff member’s personal development.
We will use the Ex Gratia Payments policy for customers where a goodwill gesture or payment may be a suitable form of redress.
Learning from complaints will form part of scrutiny reporting to our Local Management Team.

Helping Our Future Application for the Complaint Handling Process:

Helping Our Future will adopt a group wide approach to handling complaints and will offer a 3 step process to customers. Helping Our Future reserves the right to not escalate a complaint to the next stage, see appendix 1.4 – dealing with unacceptable actions or behavior.





Step 1: All complaints are recorded as a step 1, so long as they have not been raised previously by the user.

Step 2: If the user remains dissatisfied after Step 1, the complaint will be dealt with under Step 2.

Step 3: Review: If a customer is not happy with the outcome of step 1 or 2, the third and final step will be dealt with as a review. (See appendix 1.3)

Appendix 1.2 to the policy is a summary of the processes for staff use. Appendix 1.3 is a document confirming the procedure for conducting the review.
Appendix 1.4 is a guide for dealing with unacceptable behavior by complainants.

4.0      Training


In order to provide an excellent service we will ensure that training is provided to all staff to ensure the complaint handling process is implemented throughout the organisation.



Staff will be trained so they are encouraged to view complaints as a positive way for the organisation to learn, continually improve and to provide good user care.




More specific training will be provided for those staff who manage the complaints procedures.



Both positive and negative user feedback is shared within the organization through briefings and team meetings, anonymised case studies are used as a learning tool for staff.




Managers should see user feedback as a useful tool in improving services and ensure their teams are fully trained to ensure the process is managed within their service area and specific feedback from complaints is utilised to identify potential training requirements for staff members.



Training will be provided to panel members to support the Complaint Review process.




5.0      Implementation

The Assistant Chief Executive is responsible for developing the policy for complaint handling.




On a practical level, complaint management is the responsibility of each member of staff.

Guidance and advice can be obtained from the following specialists:


Local Management Team Director

Service Improvement Team Manager

Complaint Management Officers


6.0      Performance Management:


Performance reports will be provided to the Local Management Teams quarterly. These reports will include performance information and any other reports the Board feel may improve service delivery.



Helping Our Future will share performance information about complaints with recognised Beneficiary Panels through the District Beneficiaries Federation.




The performance measures to be reported are those agreed with users; to monitor the effectiveness of this policy and supporting procedural documents:

Number of new complaints received by service area. Number of complaints open and in category.
Number of complaints open and out of category.
Number of complaints closed & average time taken to close. Percentage of users satisfied with the handling of their complaint. Percentage of users satisfied with the outcome of their complaint.
The changes introduced to services following feedback from complaints.
We will participate in our in house Benchmarking Service for complaint handling using these performance measures and we will report on the outcome  of benchmarking with comparable organisations.



We will monitor how compensation is awarded for the outcome complaints to ensure consistency in application.




We will monitor the progress of individual service complaints as an ongoing operational process at management team meetings.



7.0      Best Practice and Review


7.1  This policy has been developed with regard to examples of best practice and guidance.
There will be an automatic review of this policy whenever there is a change of regulatory provisions or when other Best Practice information becomes available that will impact on the policy. In any event there will be a substantive review of this policy every three years.



This policy applies to the Group


This policy applies to the Group

Effective Date:

April 2014

Review Date:

April 2017

Signed Off:

Chief Executive Officer

Policy Owned by:

Assistant Chief Executive