The Comments and Complaints Policy in relation to an early years’ service means a policy setting out the procedures for both making and dealing with complaints about any aspect of the service.
A clear and effective Complaints Policy is an important part of providing a quality early years care and education service. Even where every effort is made to meet quality standards, those who use a service may not always feel satisfied with the type, level or quality of the service that is provided.
Although complaints can be difficult to receive and respond to, acting on a complaint appropriately, efficiently and promptly can help upgrade service quality and is important for the reputation of the service and to help ensure positive relationships.
The goals of this policy are to ensure that:
Anyone who comes into contact with the service will be assured that if they ever have a comment to make or need to make a complaint it will be welcomed and responded to appropriately.
All staff members are aware that if they receive a complaint there is a clear and specific procedure in place to deal with it in a confidential manner.
Complaints are taken seriously, resolved efficiently and effectively, and recorded appropriately.
Legislation and regulatory requirements
Having a clear, written policy and procedure on complaints is a requirement of the Charity Shops Regulations as per Subsidiary Legislation 492.04 of the Laws Of Malta
Know that they will be kept informed about the progress of any investigation into their complaint and about the outcome of the investigation.
1. Policy Statement
The Manager is committed to providing a quality service to the general Public and we regularly evaluate our services in order to ensure this and to monitor the standard of our performance.
While this is always our aim, we accept that sometimes things do not always go to plan. In such circumstances, we want to know, so that we can put things right and learn from our mistakes.
We welcome all comments on our services, positive or negative. Complaints will be accepted and investigated irrespective of the nature of the complaint or who the person making the complaint is.
Inspire Charity Shop gives a commitment to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, sensitively and appropriately to ensure that the standard of service provided by our charity shop is maintained at a high level. The quality of the service provided to any customers and donors will never be adversely affected because a complaint has been made.
The complaints procedure is kept as simple as possible. Anyone making a complaint will be supported through the process as needed and given a copy of the ‘Complaints Policy and Procedures’. The complaints policy and procedures are displayed in our shop
When a complaint is received the manager will be informed immediately. Every effort will be made to address the issue informally before moving to a formal procedure.
If necessary, the complaint will be fully and appropriately investigated. A written acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint will usually be sent within 2 working days and a response within 15 days.
Where a complaint concerns a member of staff, we will address the situation with due regard to our obligations as a foundation.
All complaints made will be recorded in detail. Records will be stored in the Complaints Records File and will be retained for at least two years following resolution of the complaint as required by regulation.
All information relating to any complaint will be treated as confidential and shared only on a need to know basis.
The evaluation of the outcome of the complaint will form part of the considerations for future policy and practice and risk management procedures.
2.Procedures & Practices
How a complaint is received
The Manager is committed to open and regular communication with customers/donors. We welcome all comments on our services, whether they are positive or negative.
Complaints will be accepted irrespective of the nature of the complaint or who the person making the complaint is.
How to make a complaint
A complaint can come to the attention of the service by:
- Email – email@example.com
- The complaint may be made by the person directly affected or by a person acting on their behalf.
To whom a complaint can be made
If a person has a complaint about some aspect of the service’s activity, or about the conduct of an individual member of staff, it will often be possible to resolve the problem by simply speaking to the individual concerned and/or to the owner/manager.
Some complaints may fall more into the category of disagreements or differences of opinion, and may be resolved through discussion and compromise on the part of both the person making the complaint and the staff member concerned.
How a complaint will be managed
Stage One: Informal Process
In the first instance, those who wish to make a complaint are encouraged to speak directly to the relevant member of staff. If they do not want to do this, they can speak with members of the administration who will try to resolve the problem.
The details of the complaint and the response will be recorded by the manager.
If the manager has a direct or indirect involvement in the matter being complained of, the complaint will be passed to the Head of Social Enterprise
If a satisfactory resolution cannot be found, then Stage Two of the procedure will formally come into operation.
Stage Two: Formal Process
If informal discussions of a complaint or problem have not produced a satisfactory resolution to the situation, those making the complaint should be encouraged to put their complaint in writing to the manager by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All necessary support will be provided. Relevant names, dates and any other important information on the nature of the complaint should be included.
The Manager will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing as soon as possible – usually within 2 working days – and fully investigate the matter within 15 working days. If there is any delay, those who made the complaint will be advised of this and offered an explanation. The manager will be responsible for sending them a full and formal written response to their complaint.
The manager, with the assistance of appropriate staff members, will carry out a full investigation. This may involve:
- Interviews with all relevant individuals
- Minute taking of all meetings
- Individuals being informed that they may have an appropriate individual present with them during the investigation.
The manager will also inform the owner/chairperson that the investigation is taking place.
Where no grounds for the complaint are found, the person making the complaint will be notified and information detailing the next stage will be provided.
Where the manager (or other appropriate person) investigating, finds grounds for the complaint, they will ensure that all of the required details are available from the person making the complaint.
Staff members must participate and support the investigation of any complaint, where requested. Any staff member involved in the complaint will be supported throughout the process.
Any complaints not within the scope of the service to investigate, will be referred appropriately. For example:
- If the manager has good reason to believe that the situation has Child Protection implications, they must inform the designated Child Protection Officer and ensure that the local authorities are is contacted, according to the procedure set out in the Child Protection Policy.
- If any person involved in the complaint has good reason to believe that a criminal offence has been committed, they should contact the executive Police.
Where a complaint relates to Health and Safety it may be appropriate to notify the Health and Safety Authority.
Communication of the Response/Outcome
The formal response to the complaint will be sent from the Foundation to the person who made the complaint and copied to all relevant members of staff if appropriate. The response will include recommendations for dealing with the complaint and any necessary amendments to the service’s policies and/or procedures and/or risk management procedures, arising from the investigation.
The manager may arrange a time to meet the person who made the complaint and any other relevant individuals, such as members of staff, to discuss the complaint and the service’s response to it. The manager will judge if it is best for all parties to meet or if separate meetings are more appropriate.
The person making the complaint will be notified of the progress of an investigation on an ongoing and regular basis by the manager in writing, by email or letter.
The person making the complaint will be immediately informed of the outcome of the complaint once it has been completed.
Stage Three: Review
If, at the conclusion of the above process, those who made a complaint are dissatisfied with the response they have received, the original complaint along with the service’s response will be passed to the chairperson of the management committee/registered provider who will ensure that there is a complete review of the complaint. This review will be undertaken by a person not previously involved.
The committee chairperson/registered provider will communicate a detailed response, including any actions to be taken, to both the Manager and the person who made the complaint, within 15 working days.
Recording of Complaints and Confidentiality
Records of complaints must be kept in the Complaints Records File. All information relating to complaints is to be shared only on a need-to-know basis in accordance with the Data protection legislation and GDPR.
The record is to include:
- The name of the complainant
- The nature and details of the complaint
- The date and time the complaint was received
- The manner in which the complaint was received
- The name of the person who received the complaint
- The manner in which the complaint was dealt with, including:
- Any local resolution implemented
- Any specific meetings held with the person making the complaint and minutes of any such meetings
- Timelines for investigation of the complaint and notification of the outcome to the person making the complaint
- Details of the investigation carried out
- The outcome of the investigation
- Details of any corrective or preventive actions to resolve the complaint
- Information given to the person making the complaint about the progress and the outcome of the complaint
- of the investigation and whether the action taken to resolve the complaint was accepted
- Details of any review to the risk management process in light of the complaint.
- Details of any changes to practice or policy.
Only members of staff authorised by the manager can access the Complaints Records File.