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Complaints & Compliments Policy

Purpose

To provide clear guidelines and procedures for managing complaints in a responsive, timely and fair manner. 

To use the opportunity to improve service and monitor service performance.  

Complaints & Compliments Policy

Policy Statement

Engedi is committed to ensuring that all service users and their families are free to lodge a complaint and that any complaint is dealt with promptly, fairly and non-threateningly. 

Scope

This policy applies to all staff, volunteers, clients, their families and advocates of Engedi.

Principles

  1. Engedi welcomes and values any information and feedback from people who use our services. Engedi uses this information to improve the quality of service provision and to gauge services that are required by the community.  
  2. Clients will be provided with information regarding advocacy services and their right to have a support person present in both the Service Agreement and the Organisation Brochure.
  3. Engedi is committed to resolving any complaints received, and enhancing the organisation's ability to improve its service.
  4. Engedi promotes the creation of an accessible, transparent, confidential and accountable quality driven environment.
  5. Engedi’ has a complaint system that has the following elements underpinning its practice:
    1. Raising awareness of how complaints are managed
    2. Easily accessible pathways for people to make a complaint and assistance to lodge and follow through their complaints
    3. Procedural fairness, which is simple and easy to understand and incorporating ongoing and relevant communication
    4. Follow-up measures to ensure both complainant satisfaction with the process, and that the complaint outcomes have been implemented 
    5. Accountability characterised by openness, honesty and transparency

Complaints & Compliments Policy

Procedures
Any complainant is encouraged to address the issue with the staff member or senior worker in the first instance. Any staff receiving a complaint should advise management as soon as possible even if they have been able to resolve the issue adequately.  If the complaint is against the manager the management committee must be contacted immediately.  

Note: - Staff are not to address any complaint with a client on their own.  

  1. If the complainant is not satisfied with a direct solution outcome, or is not happy to discuss the issue with the staff member or Senior worker concerned, they should be encouraged to continue to make a formal complaint.
  2. If the person elects to have the complaint dealt with formally and internally, the appointed complaints reviewers will be advised and will arrange to meet with the complainant at an agreed time and venue. The complaints reviewers will consist of two Organisational staff members not implicated in the complaint and if the complaint is against the manager a member of the management committee.
  3. The complainant will be advised of their right to have a support person of their choice present at any meetings. 
  4. The complaints reviewers will:
    1. Meet with the complainant within five working days of being advised that the complainant wishes to proceed with the complaint internally
    2. Clarify the nature of the complaint 
    3. Identify what actions have already been taken to resolve the complaint
    4. Identify the complainant's desired outcomes 
    5. Prioritise elements of the complaint with the involvement and participation of the complainant 
    6. Determine the recommended course of action as to how the complaint will be managed 
    7. Record the complaint on the Complaints Record Form
    8. Note the concern or complaint in the Complaints Register
    9. Meet with other parties who are involved 
    10. Do a preliminary assessment recommendation and the reasons for the recommendation with the complainant 
    11. Compile a proposed course of remedial action within ten working days of meeting with all parties and advise the complainant of the plan

Complaints & Compliments

  1. All complaints are recorded in a confidential Complaints Register and a non-identifying summary is tabled at the next Management Committee meeting by the complaints reviewers to inform future service improvement efforts.
  2. In the event the proposed course of remedial action is not acceptable to the complainant, the complaints reviewers will advise the complainant of their rights and avenues to take the matter further externally and give information as to how this can happen and who can support their action.  Ombudsman, Disability Services. 

Either the complainant or Engedi can choose to have the involvement of an external agency in the process of appeasement. The following processes can be called upon.

Facilitation is the process in which the parties, with the assistance of a facilitator, identify problems to be solved, tasks to be accomplished, or ways disputed issues can be resolved. The facilitation process usually carries on to assist the parties to develop options, consider alternatives and attempt to reach an agreement. 
Mediation is the process where an independent and non-directive mediator facilitates the parties to identify the disputed issues, discuss them, develop options, negotiate alternatives and attempt to reach agreement. Sometimes the mediator can be chosen on the basis of their expert knowledge of the subject matter of the dispute. The mediator has no advisory or determinative role on the content of the dispute or the outcome. 
Conciliation is the process where the assistance of a neutral third party follows the process of mediation but the conciliator has an advisory role on the content of the dispute or the outcome of its resolution. As a mediator, a conciliator might advise on or determine the process of conciliation, but the conciliator might also make suggestions for terms of settlement, give expert advice on likely settlement terms, and might actively encourage the participants to reach an agreement. 
Circumstances where Engedi may take no further action on a complaint include:

  • Where the matter is being or has been managed by police, court or tribunal
  • Where the matter occurred so long ago that it is impractical to investigate it 
  • Where upon assessment, the complaint is determined to be frivolous or vexatious

When the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties Engedi will:

  • Inform the complainant both verbally and in writing
  • Determine that the complaint be closed 
  • Complete the Complaints Register
  • Review the process 

Engedi will review the process and consider systems improvements including:

  • Policy review 
  • Practice review
  • Staff training and other professional developmental activity 
  • Consideration of an apology to the complainant 
  • Possible disciplinary action of staff

Follow up call to the complainant within ten working days of sending final letter advising the matter was closed to ensure the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint they may contact any of the following:

  • Mackay Advocacy: Ph:  4957 8710
  • The Ombudsman: Ph:  1800 068 908

Related Documents:

 Compliments and Complaints Register 

Definitions:
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with any aspect of the services provided by Engedi or their brokered services, including the actions of employees.