Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome Support Group (RTSUK) views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that has made the complaint.
- Our policy is:
- To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
- To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
- To make sure everyone at RTSUK knows what to do if a complaint is received
- To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
- To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
- To gather information which helps us to improve what we do
- Definition of a Complaint
- A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether perceived as justified or not, about any aspect of RTSUK.
Where Complaints Come From
Complaints may come from anyone who has contact with RTSUK – typically this will be members, service users, supporters and/or public)
How complaints are received
A complaint can be received verbally, by email or in writing
All complaints and information relating to the complaint will be handled sensitively, with only those involved in handling the complaint, having access to the information and complying with any relevant data protection requirements.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the board of trustees.
Publicised Contact Details for Complaints:
Written complaints may be sent to RTSUK at 169 Watford Road, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, WD3 3ED or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints may also be made in person to any of RTSUK trustees at any of our events or activities.
- Receiving Complaints
- Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have.
- Complaints received in person need to be recorded. The person who receives the complaint should:
- Write down the facts of the complaint
- Take the complainant’s name, address, email address and telephone number
- Note down the relationship of the complainant to (for example: client, member)
- Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
- Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
- Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.
- For further guidelines about handling verbal complaints, see Appendix 1
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the related issue e.g. for finance, the Treasurer. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.
Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to the chair within two weeks.
On receiving the complaint, the chair records it in the complaints log. If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity (2 weeks) to respond.
Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within two weeks. The acknowledgement should confirm who is dealing with the complaint and when the complainant can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, an interim report should be sent to the complainant with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
Whether the complaint is perceived as justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the secretary.
The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within a week of receiving it.
The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.
The secretary may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity (2 weeks) to respond.
The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, an interim report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.
The complainant can complain to the Charity Commission at any stage.
Information about the kind of complaints the Commission can involve itself in can be found on their website at: www.charitycommission.gov.uk/publications/cc47.aspx]
Variation of the Complaints Procedure
The Board may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Chair should not also have the Chair as the person leading a Stage Two review.
Monitoring and Learning from Complaints
Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.
Appendix 1 – Practical Guidance for Handling Verbal Complaints
- Remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation
- Listen – allow the person to talk about the complaint in their own words. Sometimes a person just wants to “let off steam”
- Don’t debate the facts in the first instance, especially if the person is angry
- Show an interest in what is being said
- Obtain details about the complaint before any personal details
- Ask for clarification wherever necessary
- Show that you have understood the complaint by reflecting back what you have noted down
- Acknowledge the person’s feelings (even if you feel that they are being unreasonable)
- you can do this without making a comment on the complaint itself or making any admission of fault on behalf of the organisation
- e.g. “I understand that this situation is frustrating for you”
- If you feel that an apology is deserved for something that was the responsibility of your organisation, then apologise
- Ask the person what they would like done to resolve the issue
- Be clear about what you can do, how long it will take and what it will involve.
- Don’t promise things you can’t deliver
- Give clear and valid reasons why requests cannot be met
- Make sure that the person understands what they have been told
- Wherever appropriate, inform the person about the available avenues of review or appeal