1. Policy Statement
VAMS needs to be aware of its users needs. VAMS has developed this procedure to manage positive comments, complaints and concerns from its clients expeditiously. Part of this process will include customer/client satisfaction surveys and service feedback forms.
If managed the right way, this procedure will enable the VAMS management team to monitor and improve performance and relationships with the public, volunteers, and customers.
The purpose of VAMS Comments and Complaints Procedure is to:
- Protect the interests of individual users
- Improve continuously the quality of services provided by VAMS by being responsive to the views of people affected by its services
- Protect staff and volunteers from the, possibly unfair, consequences of an arbitrary response when dealing with complaints on an ad hoc basis
- Provide an additional means of monitoring the performance of this organisation
- Maintain a customer care philosophy within the organisation.
2. Complaints Procedure
The key element is that a complaint should be resolved, as far as possible, at source and the complainant encouraged to discuss his/her complaint. It is incumbent upon all staff and volunteers to try to help and ascertain whether there may have been a misunderstanding.
2.1 Any member of staff/volunteer receiving a complaint is authorised, in the first instance, to seek to resolve it as quickly as possible and is expected to handle it in a polite, sympathetic and understanding way. Where the complaint is sufficiently serious for the member of staff/volunteer to feel unable to handle it himself/herself and/or if the complainant is not satisfied by his/her handling of it, the matter should be referred to the Management Team.
2.2 A complaint may be seen by the Management Team or trustees of the Charity, as part of the investigation process but every effort will be made to safeguard privacy; a complaint will not become “public knowledge” unless it has been agreed by all parties.
However, if a complaint is specifically about a member of staff/volunteer or a trustee, it will be necessary for that person to be told a complaint has been lodged against him/her, to allow the investigation to proceed.
2.3 All complaints, whether made orally or in writing, are to be recorded on the Complaints Form. The complaint will be responded to within 7 working days; however there will be occasions when this may not be possible (for example during holiday periods). The complainant must be contacted and told who is looking into the complaint, what action is being taken and when a reply can be expected. When a complaint has been resolved the result should also be recorded on the Complaints Form. All Complaints Forms and associated papers are to be dealt with, and retained, under confidential cover by the Management Team.
2.4 If attending an appointment to discuss the complaint with a member of the Management Team, the complainant may bring another person as support.
2.5 The Chief Executive of VAMS is obliged to put a decision, in writing, to the complainant within twenty-eight days.
2.6 If the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome of his/her complaint, arrangements will be made to deal with the complaint by an independent Review Panel. This Review Panel will consist of two members of the Executive Committee of VAMS and be chaired by someone from outside the organisation.
2.7 Following a discussion with the complainant, the Review Panel is obliged to put a decision, in writing, to the complainant within twenty-eight days.
3. Complaints about Other Organisations
Complaints about statutory authorities should not be dealt with by VAMS, but referred to the authority concerned.
4. Complaints to be reviewed by the Trustee Board
On occasions complaints about activities within the charity will be brought to the Executive Committee for final inclusion. These may include:
4.1 Individual complaints relating to an event with one of the services having been reviewed by a member of the Management Team, and the CEO
4.2 Complaints about a member of staff/volunteer after receipt and review by the CEO and Chair
4.3 Complaints about the CEO after receipt and review by the Chair.
4.4 Specific complaint from one of our statutory or service partners after review by a member of the Management Team and the CEO.
These will be brought to the Executive Committee if considered appropriate by the Chair. The Chair will then determine a sub committee of Trustees to specifically review the complaint, having reviewed the nature of the complaint and the background of expertise needed to consider the matter. The Chair will then ask specific Executive Committee members to join the committee.
The conclusions of the committee will be formally reported to the next appropriate Executive Committee meeting.
5. Compliments and Suggestions
All compliments/comments and/or suggestions about VAMS are to be put in a Comments/Suggestions file.
This procedure will be reviewed every three years.