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Complaints Policy and Procedure

We are committed to enabling members, clients and those that come into contact with our projects and services to influence and easily voice their views and opinions about our organisation and the projects we facilitate.  If we have made a mistake, we want to know about it so that we can put things right and avoid the same mistake happening again.

We also welcome our clients’ comments and suggestions on how we can improve our services.
Our complaints procedure sets out how to take up matters that someone thinks is unsatisfactory about the service they have received from Ruils.

This procedure is designed to provide a means to resolve any dispute which may arise between someone wishing to make a complaint and Ruils.  It does not address complaints made by staff and volunteers (dealt with through grievance procedures), nor job applicants (recruitment procedures).

When someone wishes to register a complaint, they have the right to an independent advocate to help them.  This can be a friend, relative or someone from an organisation to help them to make the complaint and/or to be with the complainant at any meetings with Ruils (for information on Advocacy Groups please see end of document).
The following procedure should be adopted:
Where the complaint is made against the Chief Executive the same procedure will be followed, with the Chair of the Board of Trustees substituting for the Chief Executive’s role at all stages.

Stage 1 – Making the Complaint
The complaint should be received by the completion of a complaints form or by a request to make a verbal complaint.  The person making the complaint will then be invited to speak to the Chief Executive, to discuss the complaint.  This can be done in person, by phone or in writing, whichever is appropriate.  (Where possible, this should be done within 5 working days of the problem arising).

The complaint should be put in writing, if not already done so, to the Chief Executive marked Private and Confidential, providing as much detail as possible.  A meeting can be arranged if it is not possible for the complaint to be put in writing or details can be dictated over the phone and sent to the individual for validation.
Receipt of written complaints should be acknowledged within 2 working days.

Stage 2 – Investigating the Complaint
If the complaint involves a person working for Ruils in any capacity, the opportunity should be offered for that person to put forward their account, either by written statement or by presentation to the Chief Executive (or their Line Manager or Chair).  This should be done within 20 working days of being advised of the complaint.  The Chief Executive will also speak with any others involved.
The Chief Executive will log any internal investigations on the Corrective Action Report.

Stage 3 – Letter of explanation and or Actions taken
The Chief Executive will write a formal response to the complaint.  This will include information gleamed from the member of staff and others.  It will outline what they have found and what actions will be taken.

Stage 4 – Board of Trustees
Where the matter is not resolved by Stage 3, the Chief Executive will refer the complaint to Ruils Board of Trustees.  This should be done within 5 working days of second letter from the person making the complaint.  The chair acting on behalf of the Board will review the complaint and will write to the individual outlining what further action (if appropriate) will be taken.

Stage 5 – Local Government Ombudsman
If the individual is still not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint and it is related to a local authority funded project or service, then the individual can follow the complaints procedure of Richmond Council by contacting:

Corporate Complaints Manager
Adult and Community Services
3rd Floor, Civic Centre
44 York Street

Or call 020 8831 7937 or email 

Or you can contact your Local Government Ombudsman by calling 0300 061 0614, text “call back” to 0762 481 1595  or completing a complaints form online.

Recording & Monitoring Complaints
All complaints will be recorded and kept on file, including those which were resolved without being put in writing.  The complaints monitoring form should be used for this.
These records will be treated in compliance with the Ruils Confidentiality & Data Protection Policy.

A Corrective Action Report detailing the nature of the complaint or non-conformance, the investigation undertaken and the corrective actions taken within the organisation and with partners will be completed.  A report on any Complaints (and resulting Corrective Actions) will be presented to the Quality Management Review Committee on a quarterly basis. Complaints and Service Concerns are a Standing Item on the Staff Team Meeting Agenda and are discussed with the team to ensure that lessons are learnt across the team and that internal actions are followed.
Ruils will regularly review complaints that have been made, however informal, in order to monitor the effective running of the organisation, services and projects.  This will be done without revealing the identity of complainants, and will contain only those details necessary for Ruils to consider the broader issues raised by the complaint.

Data Protection & Confidentiality
Where possible a complainant’s wish for confidentiality will be respected.  However, this may not always be possible if the complaint is to be dealt with adequately.  For example, if the complainant does not wish to reveal their name or the name of the person they are complaining about it will be difficult to investigate some types of complaints.

If the complaint involves issues that will affect other members or clients it may not be possible to keep total confidentiality.  However, in all cases, information shared will be strictly limited to that which is relevant to the complaints procedure, and will only be shared with those involved in the investigation or to others to whom it is relevant.  Information will not be shared without informing the complainant in advance.
Complaints will be kept for one year.  After that the record will be shredded and no record kept.

Publishing the Procedure
The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring that information about our Complaints Policy and procedure is available from our website and available from our office.

Monitoring the effectiveness of the Procedure
All members of the Ruils Board of Trustees will receive a copy of the Complaints Policy.  All staff will be made aware of the policy and will know the procedure for making a complaint.  The Chief Executive will report any complaints and their resolutions to the Board in the bi-monthly Board Report.

Contact us:
Write to us at: The DAAC 4, Waldegrave Road, Teddington, TW11 8HT
Tel:  020 8831 6083

Local Advocacy Services:
Rethink Advocacy   0300 7900 559