Complaints Policy

 

This policy is designed to provide a positive response to complaints and comments, and ensure that MRC Community Action is open about the improvements that we make as a result of feedback.

The management team will monitor the implementation of this policy, collect information about required improvements, and will report all complaints and outcomes to the Board of Trustees on a quarterly basis. All staff and volunteers have access to training so that they are able to effect changes as necessary.

Many complaints arise from misunderstandings. It is important to make every effort to ensure stakeholders understand the reasons for decisions made about service delivery. Complaints can often be avoided if there is good, ongoing communication between staff, volunteers, users and other stakeholders.

MRC Community Action is committed to providing a quality service and achieving the highest standards. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our service users, members of the public or others who may want to comment.

Therefore we aim to ensure that:

1. Making a complaint is easy and we are transparent in our response and within the agreed time frame.h

2. We treat a complaint as any clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service, or organisation as a whole, which calls for a response.

3. We respond in the appropriate way – for example, to offer an explanation where necessary; to apologise where we have got things wrong; and, where relevant and appropriate, to provide information on any action taken.

4. When a complaint identifies that something has gone wrong or has fallen below standards it is seen as an opportunity to improve and avoid a recurrence and it can allow for systems, policies, practices or procedures to be amended or put in place as appropriate.

The procedure covers complaints about the services that the organisation provides to the public, and complaints about the staff and volunteers involved in delivering those services. Complaints regarding discrimination and victimisation will also be investigated under this complaints procedure.

Assistance, where possible, will be offered to all parties in a complaint procedure to ensure equality of representation. Further guidance is available from the Charity Commission.

All complaints will be kept confidential to the parties concerned unless a concern is raised in relation to a safeguarding matter or in relation to serious criminality in which case we reserve the right to escalate the matter to relevant authorities. The Manager of MRC will normally be made aware of a complaint and will engage in the complaint response alongside the MRC Community Action Board of Trustees.

Complaints Procedure

How do you make a complaint?

Wherever possible we will try to resolve the complaint informally. The matter will go no further unless the complainant is still dissatisfied, at which point the formal process will begin.

Formal complaints should be made to MRC Community Action:

· via e-mail: Info@mrc.uk.net

· or through the post to:

MRC Community Action

Marlene Reid Centre,

85 Belvoir Rd

Coalville

LE67 3PH

Note: Complaints should not be sent to a personal residence, place of work or email address.

Complaints regarding individuals, or where a formal follow-up is required, must:

· be in writing

· be from an identified complainant

· include the complainant’s name and contact details

We acknowledge that in certain instances a complainant may wish to remain anonymous. In such incidences we will review the nature of the complaint and decide on any follow up action as required.

What happens next?

We aim where possible to address complaints promptly.

All complaints received will be given an ID number and logged onto the MRC Community Action Complaints Register.

We will acknowledge all complaints in writing within 14 working days from when the complaint is received.

The Manager of MRC will review the complaint to consider whether further investigations need to be carried out and will determine who is appropriate to lead on the complaint.

When investigating complaints we will ensure that the complaint and its cause are fully understood. An investigation may involve further discussion with the complainant, interviews (formal or informal) with staff and/or volunteers, and reviewing any written information. Complainants, staff and volunteers will have an opportunity to bring someone with them to any interview.

As a result of the investigation actions may include:

· Specific improvements to service

· Bringing together parties to mediate the dispute

· Recommendations on staff training

The timescales for responding will be as follows:

In most cases we aim to provide a full response within 28 working days. However, if this is not possible because, for example, a detailed investigation is required, we will provide an interim reply explaining what is being done to deal with the complaint and providing a revised timetable.

A full response will be then sent in writing within 28 days. In some cases the complainant may have expressed a preference for a telephone discussion regarding the outcome. However, this will always be followed up by a written response so that both parties have a written record of the outcome.

Actions identified as a result of a complaint should be implemented within a reasonable timetable.

Managers should produce an implementation plan for any improvements identified.

Appeals Procedure

The following appeals procedure will apply in cases where the complainant is not satisfied with the initial response:

· In cases where the complainant is dissatisfied with the response they have received they are entitled to appeal the decision within seven day of receiving the response to:

o Board of Trustees at the address above

o or by email – trustee@mrc.uk.net

· In cases where the Manager of MRC is the subject of the complaint the appeal will be referred to a member of the Board of Trustees.

Appeals will be responded to within 14 working days in writing.

In all incidences complaints will be recorded in MRC Community Action’s internal complaints register. These will then be included in the board reports and reviewed on a quarterly basis.

Time limits on making a complaint

Normally complaints should be made within six months of the event or within six months of the complainant becoming aware of cause to complain, subject to an overall limit of 12 months from the event. Exceptions to this rule may be made by the Manager of MRC in discussion with the Board of Trustees, and taking into account reasons for the delay and the practicability of investigating the matter.

Matters we cannot consider

1. We have the right to refuse to accept a complaint that is believed to be motivated by racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory attitudes, or where the complaint threatens or abuses MRC Community Action staff/volunteers. In these cases, we may consult with the police.

2. We have the right to refuse to accept a complaint that is believed to be vexatious. MRC Community Action defines a vexatious complaint as being without basis and/or being made with intention to cause worry upset, annoyance or embarrassment. In such cases, it is the complaint itself which is considered vexatious and is not an assessment of the person making the complaint.

3. We have the right to refuse to accept a complaint that is believed to be part of a pattern of unreasonably persistent complaints. MRC Community Action defines a persistent complainant as someone who makes repeated or multiple complaints or demands despite all reasonable attempts to resolve the complaint having been made.

The decision as to whether a complaint is vexatious, persistent or motivated by racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory attitudes will be taken by the Board of Trustees.

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