Our complaints policy at Norwood

POLICY STATEMENT

Norwood’s Something to Say policy and procedures covers comments, complaints and compliments which the organisation welcomes as valuable forms of feedback. Norwood is committed to improving the quality of the organisation’s services and people’s experiences of them. If you have got ‘Something to Say’, whether good or bad, Norwood wants to hear it. All feedback received is recorded and monitored to help improve the organisation’s services and will be kept confidential and taken seriously. This policy aims to ensure that:

  • People know how to leave feedback and will receive support if they need it without fear of victimisation and with the knowledge that they will receive a response within ten working days;
  • When a person complains to Norwood, they are kept up to date whilst their complaint is investigated, and they will receive a full explanation and if appropriate, an apology.

This policy must be read in conjunction with Norwood’s Whistleblowing policy which relates specifically to members of Norwood’s workforce (and any external stakeholders) who wish to report certain types of wrong-doing that they have witnessed.

INTRODUCTION

This document applies to people who use Norwood’s services; people supported by Norwood and their family; members of staff; volunteers; donors; supporters; people who participate in Norwood’s events; contractors; suppliers; people who have visited Norwood’s shops; and people, authorities, or companies that buy and commission services from Norwood.

Please note, Norwood will only accept feedback (complaints, comments, compliments) from a representative of a person we support where:

  • The person has given consent to the Complaints Officer, either in person or in writing;
  • The person does not have capacity to give informed consent under the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the representative is acting in the person’s best interests.

Norwood’s complaints procedure follows three stages. Norwood aims to resolve complaints as soon as possible. This involves a high level of discussion with the complainant about how they would like the complaint to be resolved.

Feedback should be left as soon as possible when the event is still fresh in the person’s mind. A complaint must be made no later than three months after the incident. Any departure from this time limit will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances or where a complaint chronicles events over a long period of time.

This policy and procedure can be made available in other languages and other formats such as audio or braille on request.

LEAVING FEEDBACK

People can leave Norwood feedback in the following ways:

  • By emailing: somethingtosay@norwood.org.uk;
  • By telephoning: 020 8809 8809;
  • By contacting:
    • The Director of Transformation (020 8420 6822 or hazel.kaye@norwood.org.uk) who is the organisation’s Complaints Officer and is responsible for handling all comments, complaints and compliments;
  • If the Director of Transformation is unavailable or it would not be appropriate to contact her, contact should be made with one of the following Directors who is responsible for the service that the feedback is about:

COMPLAINTS

Norwood wants to know about all complaints as this can help us to improve the quality of our services. We try to deal with complaints as quickly and as close to the service as possible. There are three stages in the complaints procedure: initial, formal, and review panel.

MAKING A COMPLAINT

If a person contacts Norwood and states that they wish to make a complaint, they should be told about the different ways that they can do this (detailed in section 2). By using any of these methods we can be sure that the complaint is dealt with. People should be encouraged to use the ‘Something to Say’ email link on Norwood’s website as this is the quickest way for Norwood to receive feedback and it will be automatically passed onto the Complaints Officer. The Complaints Officer will decide how the complaint is to be handled and is responsible for appointing a manager to investigate and resolve the complaint.

STAGE ONE OR INITIAL STAGE OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

The Complaints Officer will make sure that the complaint is acknowledged and that a copy of this procedure is sent to the complainant.

The Complaints Officer will normally ask the manager responsible for the service that received the complaint to investigate the complaint and report their findings to the Complaints Officer within five working days. The report should set out the nature of the complaint, the findings of the investigation and recommend the actions to be taken.

If the complaint is against members of staff, they must be told about the complaint and may seek support from their line manager, another colleague, or a union representative. The staff members’ line managers should discuss the complaint with them where appropriate.

If the complaint alleges staff behaviour which Norwood might regard as gross misconduct, the Complaints Officer should notify a senior member of the HR team so that they can determine whether to invoke the disciplinary procedure. In some instances, the member of staff concerned may be suspended whilst the matter is investigated.

The Complaints Officer should consider the manager’s report and decide what action should be taken. The Complaints Officer must arrange for the outcome of the investigation to be communicated to the complainant. The communication must also explain how the complainant can ask for the complaint to be escalated to Stage Two (The Formal Stage).If the complaint is against a volunteer, this must be dealt with under the ‘resolving issues’ process. The identified manager or Complaints Officer should liaise with the Volunteering Department in investigating the complaint and deciding the outcome.

STAGE TWO OR FORMAL STAGE OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

After receiving the outcome of the investigation, the complainant has ten working days to consider the outcome. If they are dissatisfied with Norwood’s response, they must contact the Complaints Officer within that period. The Complaints Officer will acknowledge this within five further working days.

The Complaints Officer will coordinate an in-depth investigation of the complaint. The Complaints Officer will normally ask a manager independent of the affected service to investigate the complaint and report their findings to the Complaints Officer within 20 working days. The report should set out the nature of the complaint, the findings of the in-depth investigation and recommend the action to be taken.

If the complaint concerns a service involving a child, the Complaints Officer must also appoint an Independent Person to work alongside the Investigating Officer to form an independent view of the complaint. The Independent Person should provide an independent and objective view of the investigation; see the same relevant files and documents as the Investigating Officer; participate in all relevant interviews and discussions; read the Investigating Officer’s report and produce their own report on the investigation; comment on the complaint and state whether they agree with the Investigating Officer’s findings; and explain, where necessary, their reasons for considering the investigation to be unfair or incomplete and to advise the complainant of these in their report.

If the investigation cannot be completed within 20 working days, it can be extended to a maximum of 60 working days. However, the Complaints Officer must agree to this and the complainant must be notified before the investigation is extended.

Once the in-depth investigation has been concluded, the complainant must be notified of the outcome within five working days and given a copy of the two reports. The communication must also outline the process for escalating a complaint to Stage Three (The Review Panel). Copies of the outcome and reports should be sent to the members of staff involved in the complaint, their line manager, and the independent person. Where the complaint involves a volunteer, they will be informed of the outcome but will not necessarily receive a copy of the report. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

STAGE THREE OR REVIEW PANEL OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

After receiving the outcome of the in-depth investigation, the complainant has ten working days to consider this. If they are dissatisfied with Norwood’s response they must contact the Complaints Officer within that period. The Complaints Officer will acknowledge this within five further working days.

The Complaints Officer will arrange a review panel whose purpose is to consider the investigation and form a view about the extent to which it has satisfactorily addressed the original complaint. The Complaints Officer should aim to convene the review panel within 20 working days of receiving the appeal against the formal stage outcome. The review panel will not reinvestigate complaints but it will consider the adequacy of the in-depth investigation and try to resolve the complaint.

If the complaint concerns a service involving a child, the panel must consist of a new independent person, a senior manager and a lay leader (one of whom will be the chair). If the complaint is about anything else, the panel must consist of three people, chosen to reflect the nature of the complaint. The chair of the review panel should invite the complainant to the review panel meeting and any other appropriate people such as witnesses. The Complaints Officer must also attend the review panel.

Where civil authorities are involved in the complaint, this may require the panel to be postponed or delayed as further investigations may need to be carried out. The complainant may bring an advocate or friend to the review panel.

The review panel should reach its conclusions and recommendations and should then discuss these with the Chief Executive and Complaints Officer to determine how Norwood should respond.

A letter should be sent to the complainant within five working days to inform them of Norwood’s decision. The letter may be drafted by the Complaints Officer but should be approved by the review panel and the Chief Executive. The letter will notify the complainant that Norwood’s complaints procedure has now ended. If the complainant wishes to take the matter further, they should be referred to the relevant governing body (Appendix 1).

UNREASONABLE COMPLAINTS

If a complainant behaves abusively towards a member of staff or volunteer then Norwood reserves the right to withdraw or provisionally modify the complaints procedure. The organisation also reserves this right if it becomes apparent that a complaint was initiated without sufficient grounds or to cause annoyance.

A decision as to what constitutes aggressively led, troublesome or harassing behaviour will be determined by the Complaints Officer. In such cases, the complainant will be notified by the Complaints Officer that Norwood will not further consider or discuss the complaint.

COMMENTS

Comments, suggestions and ideas are viewed in a positive light and encouraged. All comments received will be recorded and reviewed as part of a continuous improvement of services.

If an individual contacts Norwood and states that they wish to leave a comment, they should be told about the different ways that they can leave feedback. People should be encouraged to use the ‘Something to Say’ email link on Norwood’s website as this is the quickest way for Norwood to receive feedback.

Where an individual has provided their contact details, a letter or email of acknowledgement must be sent to them within ten working days of the comment being received.

COMPLIMENTS

Compliments are valuable in monitoring the effectiveness of Norwood’s services. Such praise can assist in demonstrating the aspects of Norwood’s services which are performing well, whilst boosting employee morale.

Members of staff and volunteers are encouraged to share compliments. Team meetings offer an opportunity for celebrating and sharing success.

If an individual contacts Norwood and states that they wish to leave a compliment, it should be explained to them that the organisation would be grateful if they would take the time to formally leave feedback (in one of the ways stated in section 2) so that Norwood can monitor the feedback received and share it with other members of staff.

All compliments received must be recorded and reviewed as part of a continuous improvement of services. A letter or email of acknowledgement must be sent to the person who made the compliment where they have provided their contact details.

On occasion, individuals may wish to remain anonymous when leaving feedback. Whilst Norwood respects an individual’s wishes to remain anonymous, this may restrict the organisation’s ability to resolve the matter.

CONFIDENTIALITY

All feedback received will be handled on a confidential basis. If a situation arises where Norwood is unable to resolve a complaint -without revealing the individual’s identity- (for instance, evidence needed in court), the organisation would then discuss this with the individual before proceeding.

DATA PROTECTION

Norwood’s Data Protection Policy must be adhered to in relation to handling feedback, retaining personal data and providing a fair and accessible procedure. For further information, please refer to our Data Protection Policy.

GOVERNING BODIES CONTACT DETAILS

Care Quality Commission

Finsbury Tower
103-105 Bunhill Row
London
EC1Y 8TG

Telephone: 03000 616161

Email: enquiries@cqc.org.uk

Charity Commission

PO Box 1227
Liverpool
L69 3UG

Telephone: 0845 300 0218

Fundraising Standards Board

65 Brushfield Street
London
E1 6AA

Telephone: 0333 321 8803

Email: info@frsb.org.uk

Local Government Ombudsman

PO Box 4771
Coventry
CV4 0EH

Telephone: 0300 061 0614

Email: advice@lgo.org.uk

Ofsted

Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester
M1 2WD

Telephone: 0300 123 1231

Email: enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk