Complaints Policy

The Complaints Policy set out below will be advertised in the Centre’s general office and in the offices of each member of staff. Details of the policy are set out in the Client Information Sheet which is sent to each client with the client care letter when a file is opened. The Quality of Service Questionnaire, which is sent to clients at the closing of a file, asks about whether or not the client has had a complaint.

 

VAUXHALL COMMUNITY LAW AND INFORMATION CENTRE

 

COMPLAINTS POLICY

 

IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED.

 

If you are not satisfied that the Vauxhall Law & Information Centre has

dealt properly with your enquiry, or your case, you should exercise

your option to complain.

 

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The Executive Committee of the Vauxhall Law & Information Centre

undertakes to take  your compliant seriously

 

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You can make your complaint either in writing or in an Appointment or

 over the telephone with a representative of the

Vauxhall Community Law and Information Centre.

 

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Please ask the Centre's staff for a copy of the Complaints Procedure,

and a Complaints Form, or make An appointment to see a

Centre representative

The purpose of the Clients Complaints Procedure is to resolve disputes between staff of the Law & Information Centre and any of its service users, who feel aggrieved at their treatment by staff.

 

This procedure can be referred to in the first instance to resolve any disputes as described above. It can also be used when "informal procedures" i.e. discussions between the staff member and the service user seeking to raise a complaint have failed to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the said Service User.

 

The Executive Committee of the Law and Information Centre exists to ensure that the Centre is accountable to its Service users. Therefore, we will take each complaint seriously, carry out an appropriate investigation, and, if the complaint is upheld, take appropriate steps to ensure that reparation is made to the Complainant.

 

N.B. All complaints, whether informal or formal are recorded by the Centre and subjected to an Annual Review. It is the aim of the Executive Committee to ensure that all major points raised in such complaints are used to analyze the effectiveness of the procedure, and if appropriate, to form the basis of any alterations to that procedure that would improve its effectiveness.

REPARATION

 

Reparation may take the form of:

 

  • An apology, written or verbal from the Law and Information Centre's Chairperson.

  • Financial reparation, where the User has incurred financial loss through the fault of the Law and Information Centre's staff or volunteers.

 

Where a member of the Law and Information Centre is found to have behaved improperly or unprofessionally, the Executive Committee reserves the right to invoke the organization's Disciplinary Procedure. However, this will be treated as a separate matter from the complaint made by the User, as the objectives of the Disciplinary Procedure are different.

 

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE.

 

What is meant by "A Complaint?"

 

For the purposes of this policy, "A complaint' can be defined as

 

"any expression of dissatisfaction with the way in which an enquiry made by a User of the Centre's service is dealt with by the staff employed by the Law and Information Centre"

 

The User should initially raise the matter informally with the individual worker concerned. In these instances, the worker should note the User's concerns and offer an appropriate apology if one is required and appropriate. Staff members will also make an appropriate record of any discussion that takes place.

 

The Formal Complaints Procedure.

 

        1.      When a User indicates that s/he wishes to make a formal complaint about the Law and Information Centre's services, s/he will be given a copy of this Policy and the Complaints Form by the solicitor, and will be offered assistance with its completion, if s/he requires it, including, where requested, recording a verbal complaint. It should also be made clear to the User that s/he may have an interview with the Solicitor without completing the form.

 

         2.   The solicitor should arrange an interview with the Complainant within five working days of the incident where practicable, and in any case within ten working days.        If the User has not filled in a Complaints Form, the Solicitor should fill in the Form, obtaining the User's approval of its contents, and asking her/him to sign it.  The solicitor will confirm in writing the decision on the complaint within 5 days of the meeting to the complainant.

 

Where the User is seeking financial reparation for financial losses incurred, the solicitor should advise her/him of her/his right to seek advice from another professional source.

 

         3.   If the matter is not resolved by the meeting of the Complainant and Solicitor, or by the action agreed on in that meeting, and the complainant indicates that they are not satisfied the Solicitor should immediately refer the Complainant to the Centre's Chairperson as the Chairperson of the Complaints Sub-Committee.

 

         4.   If the complaint is about the Solicitor, then Stages 2 and 3 above should be omitted. In such a case the User is provided with details of how s/he can contact the Chairperson of the Sub-Committee and of how the Complaints Form can be submitted to the Chairperson.

5. The Complaints Sub-Committee:

 

(i)    The sub-Committee is responsible for hearing complaints about the Centre which have not been resolved by a meeting between the Complainant and the Solicitor. It consists of the Personnel Sub Committee which is appointed each year at the Centre's Annual General Meeting.  That sub-committee will seek to co-opt for the purpose of hearing a complaint one User or Ex-User representative. The Sub-committee's membership will seek to achieve a balance, which should include members from traditionally disadvantaged groups.

 

(ii)     The convener of the Sub-Committee will set a Hearing date within fifteen working days of the notification of the complaint. Notification of the hearing date should be sent to the complainant and the respondent at least 5 working days before the hearing. Both the complainant and the respondent should be present at the hearing. The complainant may bring a person of their choice as supporter.

 

(iii)  The decision of the sub-committee about the complaint will be provided to the Complainant in writing within five working days. The sub-Committee's decision is final. If the complaint is not upheld the written decision will give reasons for the conclusion reached.

 

(iv)  The Sub-committee must report its findings to the Full Management Committee.

 

(v)    A record of the complaint and its outcomes will be kept within a Complaints File that is kept in the Centre's General Office.

 

6. Keeping the Management Committee Informed

 

After each complaint  is received and then dealt with in accordance with the policy set out above, a report on the complaint should be made to the next  Management Committee meeting by the solicitor as part of his written report.

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