Complaints Policy and Procedure
This policy sets out the procedures we will follow when we receive a complaint from users of the service, an organisation or member of the public. It does not address complaints made by staff or volunteers (dealt with through grievance and disciplinary procedures) nor job applicants (recruitment procedure).
Where the complaint concerns a
member of staff who is working at Bell Farm Christian Centre but is employed by
another organisation then a representative of that organisation will be invited
to participate in the procedure at stages
3. The Procedure
The complaint should be received either via completion of a complaints form or by a request to make a verbal complaint.
The complainant should be invited to speak to a manager to
discuss the complaint with them. This
can be done in person or by phone, whichever is appropriate. The manager should keep a record of the
conversation on the complaints monitoring sheet. The manager will endeavour to
resolve the matter. See appendix
If the complaint is against the manager then the Minister and Centre Director of Bell Farm Christian Centre will be asked to take the place of the manager at all stages. Where the complaint is against the Minister and Centre Director then a member of the Trustees will be asked to take the place of the Minister and Centre Director at all stages.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied, or where it is not possible to use Stage 1 (for example if it is not convenient for them to phone or visit the office) then refer to Stage 2.
Stage 1 should be completed within 7 working days of receiving the complaint.
The complainant should be asked to put their complaint in writing to the manager, marked Private and Confidential, providing as much detail of the complaint as possible.
If the complainant is not able to put their complaint in writing the complainant will be offered an interview with the manager or her/his nominee. The role of the manager or nominee at this meeting will be confined to putting the complaints in writing, obtain the complainant’s approval for the contents of this, and ask the complainant to sign to indicate they agree with the contents.
The complainant may choose to work with a third party at this stage and throughout the process - the Organisation should provide a list of potential advocates if the complainant does not have a resource to which they can turn.
The manager will then investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it.
The manager may delegate any aspect of the investigation to a nominee.
If the complaint involves a member(s) of staff the manager should offer the opportunity for the member of staff to put forward their account, either by written statement or by presentation to the Complaints Panel.
The Manager will ensure that all complaints receive a response in writing within 10 working days of the letter/complaint notes being received. This letter will summarise what investigations have been carried out and what action, if any, is proposed to resolve the matter. A copy of this letter should be attached to the complaints form.
If a response by letter is unsuitable, the complainant will be offered an interview with the manager to provide the response verbally. This meeting should be held within 10 working days as before. A written record of this interview will be kept and signed by the complainant.
If the complainant is not satisfied at this stage they should ask for the matter to be dealt with under Stage 3 of the complaints procedure.
Where the matter is not resolved by stage 2, the manager should immediately refer the complaint to the Complaints Panel (formed from the Trustees), sending copies of all written correspondence to Panel members.
The Complaints Panel will comprise of the Chair of the Trustees and two other members of the Trustees. The Chair will be responsible for convening the Panel. If the Chair of the Trustees is not available then the Chair’s role will be undertaken by another trustee appointed by the Chair.
The complainant will be informed immediately by the Chair that this is being done and that the Panel will also be contacting the staff member(s) against whom the complaint is made.
The Panel will review the decision made at Stage 2 and may seek further clarification from any of the parties involved.
The Complaints Panel will notify the complainant of its decision and reasons within 15 working days of having received notice of the complaint. The Panel’s decision will be final. The Chair will be responsible for ensuring records of the meeting are kept and the Complaints monitoring form is completed.
The Chair will be responsible for reporting the Panel's
findings to the next meeting of the Management Committee.
4. Advice Information and Care Service
If the complaint is in relation to advice provided by the Advice Information and Care Service regarding a debt counselling or debt adjustment matter then complainant may refer any unresolved complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
A copy of this policy will be made available to all service users who use the Advice Information and Care Service regarding a debt counselling or debt adjustment matter.
A copy of this policy will be provided if a service user requests it and when a complaint is made.
A copy of the leaflet “Your Complaint and the Ombudsman” will be sent to each complainant when the final response is given or if the complaint is not dealt with within 8 weeks of the receipt of the complaint.
Contact Details for the Financial Ombudsman service are:
Telephone: 0300 123 9 123
Switchboard: 020 7964 1000
Financial Ombudsman Service
5. Recording and Monitoring Complaints
All complaints will be recorded and kept on file, including those, which were resolved without being put in writing. All complaints shall be treated with regard to the contents of the Confidentiality Policy.
The Minister and Centre Director will make a report once a year to the Trustees summarising the nature of complaints received and how they were resolved.
6. Publicising the Procedure
The Centre Director is responsible for ensuring that posters are displayed in the Centre welcoming complaints from users.
7. Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Procedure
All members of the management Committee and Trustees will receive a copy of the complaints procedure.
Existing and new employees and volunteers will be introduced to the complaints procedure via induction and training. The procedure will be reviewed annually and amendments agreed by the Trustees.