Any person or organisation using Care’s services or affected by its operations has the right to lodge a complaint and to have their concerns addressed in ways that ensure access and equity, fairness, accountability and transparency.
Care will provide a complaints management procedure that:
▪ is simple and easy to use
▪ is effectively communicated and promoted to all clients and stakeholders
▪ ensures complaints or appeals are fairly assessed and responded to promptly
▪ is procedurally fair and follows principles of natural justice
▪ complies with legislative requirements.
▪ institute procedures for resolving complaints by service users about the services
▪ consider all complaints it receives
▪ treat all complainants with respect
▪ maintain confidentiality of parties involved, keeping any information private to those directly involved in the complaint and its resolution
▪ ensure advocacy is available to clients who make a complaint and require support
▪ resolve complaints, where possible, to the satisfaction of all parties
▪ deal with all complaints in a timely manner
▪ keep parties to the complaint informed of progress of the complaint
▪ ensure that Care Board members and staff are given information about the complaints procedure as part of their induction
▪ ensure service users and stakeholders are aware of the complaints policy
▪ ensure a complainant is not prevented from accessing services during the complaint process, unless there is legal impediment to providing a service, such as a conflict of interest
▪ ensure that feedback data (both positive and negative) is considered in organisational reviews and in planning service improvements.
Care’s complaints policy and procedure is published on Care’s website and will be made available upon request.
All clients will be informed of their rights and responsibilities with regards to complaints at the earliest possible stage of their involvement with the organisation.
MAKING A COMPLAINT
A person wishing to make a complaint may do so in writing or verbally to:
▪ the staff member they were dealing with at the time
▪ the Supervisor (Program Coordinator or Team Leader) of that staff member
▪ the Care Inc. Director or
▪ the Care Inc. Board.
If the complaint is about:
▪ a staff member—the Program Coordinators have delegated responsibility for trying to resolve in the first instance, complaints or disputes involving staff members within their program area. The complaint can be escalated to the Director if necessary.
▪ a senior staff member—the complaint will be dealt with by Director and escalated to the Board if necessary
▪ the Director—the complaint will be dealt with by the Board.
Written complaints may be addressed to Care’s Director and sent to PO Box 763, Civic Square, ACT 2608 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Care’s Director will be responsible for receiving this correspondence and directing it to the appropriate person.
The person managing the complaint will be responsible for:
1. Processing the complaint:
▪ registering the complaint in an online complaint register
▪ informing the complainant that their complaint has been received and providing them with information about the process and time frame
2. Investigating the complaint:
▪ examining the complaint within a reasonable time not to exceed 14 days from receipt of the complaint
▪ informing the complainant by letter or phone within 7 days of the complaint being received of what is being done to investigate and resolve it, and the expected time frame for resolution.
3. Resolving the complaint:
▪ Complaints will be investigated and resolved within 30 days of being received. If this time frame cannot be met, the complainant will be informed of the reasons why and the alternative time frame for resolution
▪ This process will include
o notifying the staff member of the compliant and its nature
o investigating the complaint and provide the staff member with an opportunity to respond to any issues raised
o mediating the dispute (if appropriate) and attempting to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the complainant
o taking any other action necessary to resolve the issue.
▪ The Team Leader or Director will inform the complainant of the outcome:
o upheld (and if so what will be done to resolve it)
o resolved (and how this has been achieved); or
o if no further action can be taken, the reasons for this.
Any disciplinary action against a staff member arising from a complaint will be taken in accordance with the procedures contained in Care’s Grievance and Disputes policy.
4. Reviewing the complaint:
If the complainant is not satisfied with the investigation and proposed resolution of their complaint they can seek a further review of the matter as specified above.
A register of complaints will be kept electronically. The register will be maintained by the Director and will record the following:
▪ Details of the complainant and the nature of the complaint
▪ Date lodged
▪ Date of resolution, reason for decision and action taken
▪ Indication of complainant being notified of outcome
▪ Complainant response and any further action
Copies of all correspondence will be kept with the register. The complaints register and files will be confidential and access is restricted to senior staff.
The Director will be responsible for preparing a report on all complaints received for inclusion in Care’s 6 monthly performance reports, in line with requirements in the Service Funding Agreement.
Results from this report will be reviewed by the Director and Board and used to:
▪ inform service planning by including a review of complaints in all service planning, monitoring and evaluation activities
▪ inform decision making by including a report on complaints as a standard item on staff management meeting agendas.
NOTE: Internal complaints, where a staff member makes a complaint concerning another staff member, will be dealt with in accordance with the Care’s Grievance and Disputes policy.
Complaints involving Care Board members
Complaints made against a member of Care’s Board will be referred to the Chair who will:
▪ notify the person about whom a complaint is being made of the complaint and its nature
▪ investigate the complaint and provide the member with an opportunity to respond to any issues raised
▪ attempt to mediate the dispute and/or attempt resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the outside party.
Where the Chair is the subject of a complaint, the complaint should be referred to the other office bearer/s.
If the matter remains unresolved, the Chair or notified office bearer will raise the matter at the next Board meeting. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint, the Care Board may deal with the matter at its meeting or refer the matter as outlined in Care Inc’s constitution.
Policy updated: October 2016