Writing with Pen

Complaints Policy

Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service recognises the importance of facilitating the process whereby anyone who has misgivings about either the services it provides or its working practices should have the means of bringing this to the attention of management and, if appropriate, securing redress.

 

All NDAS service users, and/or their representatives or our partner agencies have the right to raise formal complaint in respect of any aspect of service delivery or working practices.

 

NDAS recognises the vulnerability of many of its service users and will take active steps in its service delivery to facilitate the activities of advocates and/or representatives of service users.

 

In the event that a member of NDAS staff is the subject of the complaint; complainants should make their complaint directly to a senior member of staff.  No complainant will be expected to complain directly to a person forming the subject matter of their complaint.  If this person would normally receive the complaint, the complaint may be made to a more senior member of staff.

 

OBJECTIVES

The Complaints Procedure will ensure:

 

  • An effective means of allowing service users or their representatives to complain about the quality or the nature of the service delivered.

  • An effective means of allowing staff members to complain about NDAS’s response to services users.

  • An effective means of allowing our partner agencies to complain about the quality or the nature of the service delivered.

  • That complaints are acted upon.

  • That complaints are resolved quickly and as close to the point of contention as is acceptable and appropriate.

  • That managers and/or the Board have an additional means of monitoring performance and improving policies and procedures throughout the organization.

  • That all sections of the community are treated equally and fairly under the Complaints Procedure.

 

GENERAL

Complaints may be received in a variety of forms.  They may result from an unresolved problem or from a measure of dissatisfaction or disquiet about the organisation, about the implementation of decisions, about the quality and appropriateness of services, or about their delivery or non-delivery.

 

The complaints procedures will be widely advertised and accessible and service users and their representatives and our partner agencies will be made aware of their entitlement to make a complaint.

 

DEFINITIONS

Complainant

Refers to the person from whom a representation or complaint is received; whether they are acting on their own behalf or on behalf of another person or agency.

 

Coordinator

Refers to an appointed officer or Board member who ensures that complaints are investigated within the set time scale and according to agreed procedure, establishes a database of complaints, monitors and reviews the complaints process and reports on shortcomings in the services provided as identified by validated complaints.

 

Informal Complaint

Refers to a complaint that can be resolved at a local level by the giving of additional information or explanations and/or by a process of negotiation.

 

Formal Complaint

Refers to a complaint made or recorded in writing and sent or referred to the Complaints Co-ordinator or Board member.

 

CHALLENGING NORTHAMPTONSHIRE DOMESTIC ABUSE SERVICES PRACTICES

The nature of the service provided and the organisation of work practices is such that some people will be dissatisfied and will express their concern about some aspects of the service or working practices, whilst others, although not strictly dissatisfied may well feel there is room for improvement.

 

NDAS does not regard this situation as “lodging a complaint” but rather as evidence of active involvement of service users (or their representatives) or our partner agencies in the running of their services. Such involvement may occur in forums such as staff meetings and house meetings.

 

Many of the issues raised will arise as a result of simple misunderstanding or misgivings, whilst other points would be accepted with subsequent changes to the way in which services are delivered, or organised.

INFORMAL COMPLAINTS

If the process described above does not satisfy the complainant she will be urged to raise an informal complaint with the appropriate member of staff.

 

FORMAL COMPLAINTS

These must be made in writing by the complainant but help will be given to the complainants if they wish.  Complaints will be defined by the complainant, investigated by senior staff and the appropriate member of staff will furnish a written reply.

 

The ‘appropriate member of staff’ will be identified by reference to the part of the service in which the complaint is founded.

 

All formal complaints will be dealt with within 28 days from the receipt of the written complaint to the delivery of the written reply.  If this deadline cannot be met, then the complainant will be informed by the 21st day from the receipt of the complaint, giving the reasons why this is not possible and setting a new deadline.  The Co-ordinator will be informed of the receipt of complaints and will monitor progress thereafter.

 

Children

Where minors are accommodated by NDAS there is a requirement under the Children Act 1989 that an independent person takes part in the consideration of any complaint relating to such minors’ welfare.  There is also a right to refer the matter to an independent panel and if a complainant wishes to exercise this right, officers should contact the Complaints Co-ordinator to make appropriate arrangements.

APPEALS

Appeals will be dealt with by the CEO, or if they are the subject of the complaint, a Board member allocated by the Chair of the Board.

 

If the complainant feels that the complaint has not been treated in a proper manner they may approach the Supporting People Team within Northamptonshire County Council for support and guidance.

If you would like to make a complaint, please email info@ndas-org.co.uk in the first instance. Your complaint will be passed to the most appropriate staff member to deal with and respond to you.