Overview of the framework
ICE is committed to providing services that meet, and if possible, exceed client’s expectations. However, sometimes things can go wrong and in these situations, we are committed to hearing feedback and learning from their experience.
We hope that any problems raised can be dealt with promptly, just by talking to a member of staff however, in some occasions the individual may wish to take it further. This document explains how the public can make a complaint and how ICE will respond to it.
This complaints policy outlines the process by which complaints will be handled when raised by or on behalf of service users. The organisation recognises that many of the patients/clients served may find difficulty in expressing their concerns and all staff need to encourage people to state their opinions.
A high quality of service provision should reduce the necessity for service users to complain, but it is important that patients and service users are encouraged to comment directly about the standards and quality of the services provided.
The primary function of the framework is to ensure that procedures are in place to address the concerns of users of the service. This will include:
- Giving an explanation
- Giving an apology (where necessary)
Assurance that the matter has been looked into and action has been taken to prevent the same thing happening again.
The secondary function is to ensure that information, findings and recommendations are fed back to services to help improve quality standards.
Responsibility for complaints arrangements
All ICE Staff
In line with this document, all staff will be required to understand and adhere to the framework at all times. In particular this includes being able to resolve complaints informally; raise any complaints made with the service manager; assist openly in complaints investigations; implement quality improvement recommendations.
Service managers will be responsible for managing local complaints, following this framework at all times. They will be responsible for reporting any complaints received to the Director of Health and Lifestyle Services in a timely manner; investigating local complaints; responding to service users; implementing quality improvement plans.
Director of Health and Lifestyle Services
This framework is led by Jayne Prendergast as Director of Health and Lifestyle Services, who for the purpose of this approach will act as the formal ‘Complaints Manager’ for ICE Creates. This includes ensuring HLS services adhere to the policy at all times; annual review of the framework; production of an annual complaints report; investigating complaints that require senior level support; signing off all complaints letters and quality improvement plans.
Executive Director Health and Lifestyle Services
As the Board member responsible for Health and Lifestyle Services, Jayne Prendergast will ensure that the Executive Directors are kept informed of the outcome of any complaints and complaints investigations. This will include learning is shared and that senior leadership supports staff and services in learning from complaints.
Stage One: Informal Resolution
Customers are encouraged that, as soon as possible after they realise there is a problem, to contact a member of staff – ideally the person they usually deal with - by phone or in person explaining what the problem is and how they would like the matter to be resolved. The member of staff will speak to, or arrange to meet, within two days or at a later time with the Customer. The purpose of this session will be to talk about the complaint and work to find a solution. If it is not possible to resolve the complaint at this meeting or if it’s felt by either party that it’s not appropriate to resolve the complaint informally, then the service user has the right to take the matter further using one of the formal routes below.
Stage Two: Making a formal complaint
If a complaint cannot be resolved at Stage One, Customers can make a formal complaint by contacting the member of staffs Line Manager in writing, clearly stating that they are making a complaint. We will acknowledge the complaint within 5 working days. We will look into the complaint within 20 working days at which point we will inform the Customer what we intend to do to resolve the matter.
Raising a complaint with the NHS
Because the NHS funds the service we provide, service users have a right to make a complaint directly to their local NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT). The PCT will investigate their complaint in accordance with their complaints procedure. We will cooperate fully with their investigation to help find a satisfactory resolution.
Further details on the NHS complaints procedures can be found on the Department of Health’s website:
Period within which complaints, issues and concerns can be made
The period for making a complaint, issue or concern is:
- a) 12 months from the date on which the event that is the subject of the complaint occurred
- b) 12 months from the date on which the event that is the subject of the complaint came to the complainant’s notice. This time limit may not apply if it is deemed that the complainant had reasonable grounds for not making the complaint within the time limit and that the complaint can still be investigated effectively and fairly.
Stage Three: The response
On receipt of the agreed investigation report, a response to the complaint will be drafted by the Line Manager in partnership with the Board of Directors. The response to the complaint should be in plain English and free from jargon.
The written response should include a summary of the investigation report. This report should:
- a) Address all the issues raised by the complainant
- b) Provide explanations and apologies where appropriate
- c) Indicate organisational learning from the complaint
- d) Include what steps have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence
- e) Offer a meeting to discuss the written response
- f) Outline what options are available if the complainant is not satisfied including details of the relevant Ombudsman.
Stage Four: Organisational learning
Key to an effective complaints framework will be the way in which the outcomes of complaints investigations are shared across the appropriate parts of the organisation. All improvement plans will be audited and monitored for effectiveness, and learning shared with the Board and relevant staff/managers for action.
Sample of complaint / issues register and log
This Complaints Policy will be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary. The management team endorses these policy statements and is fully committed to their implementation.
This Complaints Policy has been approved & authorised by:
Finance and Operations Director
4th January 2018