Complaints Procedure

Carers FIRST is committed to providing the highest quality of service possible for carers and others to whom support is provided. This commitment extends to all areas of work which staff and volunteers may be involved in on behalf of the charity. It includes all general contact and communication with staff, the giving of information, advice, the provision of support and short breaks respite.

The charity wants our clients to be satisfied at all times with the service they receive and by the way they are treated.

We understand that service users will at times wish to compliment our services, make suggestions on how we can improve or indeed complain about them.  To read the full policy document please see below:


This page explains the processes to be followed by managers and staff in such circumstances:

Complainants should be offered the opportunity to resolve the complaint informally in the first instance. The appropriate Senior Manager will look into the complaint and respond to it within 5 working days (exceptionally may be extended to 15 working days). Carers FIRST will write to the complainant with our conclusions.

If this is not possible or if the complainant wishes to pursue the complaint formally then a staged approach, guided by the principles above, will be used.

The formal complaints procedure for Carers FIRST is set out below:

STAGE ONE

The complaint should be addressed to the Chief Operations Manager who will pass it onto the appropriate Senior Manager. Receipt of the complaint (via letter or email) will be acknowledged within five working days. The complaint will be investigated by the appropriate senior manager, or in cases of a complaint against the Chief Executive, by a member of the Board of Trustees.

We may need to discuss the details with the complainant, so we are clear about their required outcome. An opportunity for the complainant to speak with the senior manager, either face to face or via telephone, may be offered.

If the complainant would rather speak to someone not directly involved in running the service they will be passed on to the most appropriate senior manager in the organisation.

A written reply with details of the investigation and any proposed actions will be sent within four weeks of the formal complaint being received. If appropriate, a further meeting will be offered to discuss the outcome of the investigation.

 

STAGE TWO

If the outcome of the investigation at stage one is not acceptable to the complainant, they can appeal in writing within 10 days of receiving our written response.  The appeal will be considered by a panel convened for the purpose. This panel will be restricted to people who have had no previous involvement in the complaint and will include a member of the Board of Trustees and the Chief Operational Officer (COO). If the complaint is against the COO, the CEO will replace the COO on the panel.

The complainant will be advised that they can bring a supporter or advisor to aid them in their presentation to the panel. They may give either oral or written statements to support their view. The panel will make recommendations as necessary to the Chief Executive Officer or in cases of a complaint against the Chief Executive Officer, to the Board of Trustees.

The Chief Executive Officer or appointed Trustee will send a written reply with details of any further proposed actions within 10 working days of the panel appeal date. If appropriate, a further meeting will be offered to discuss the outcome of the investigation.

 

FURTHER ACTION

In the event of the complainant still not being satisfied with the recommendations of the panel, then this will exhaust all relevant stages within Carers FIRST. The complainant will be advised of any external agencies they may complain to.


Complaint Governance

The Board of Trustees have, as a standing item on every board meeting, a complaints and safeguarding item. A report is prepared by the Chief Executive Officer for presentation at the monthly board meetings.


Confidentiality

We will only tell people involved in resolving your complaint about it. After it’s resolved, we will keep a summary on record, using the General Data Protection Regulations guidance. If you use our services and have a file, the record will be placed on your file. We use anonymised information from complaints to make sure we learn and improve our services.

We may be obliged under contract to report complaints to funding bodies, for example the local authority. We will not disclose any personal or identifiable details regarding the complaint without prior written consent from all parties.