STAFF PROCEDURE CONSUMER FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS Introduction <Agency Name> empowers all staff to handle consumer service problems. Responsibility for consumer feedback and complaints is in the duty statement of <position name> and (large agency only) <supervisor position name> reviews any unresolved problems . All client contact staff at <Agency Name> are expected to listen courteously to client’s concerns and problems with the service, and do what they can to correct deficiencies. Where client contact staff are unable to resolve the problem, they ask the client if they would like <Agency Name> to investigate the problem formally. If the client says no, the staff member continues to try and resolve the problem. If the client says yes, the staff member informs the client that <name>, who is <position at Agency Name>* is responsible for service problems, will contact them to make an appointment within two working days. Receiving Consumer Feedback Feedback, including complaints, may come to the <“complaints officer”*> by: • Referral from any <Agency Name> staff, or • Personal contact from the consumer, family or carer, or • Telephone call from the consumer, family or carer, or • Letter, or • Referral from another agency. Clarification of Nature of Complaint • The <“complaints officer”> contacts complainant and makes an appointment for a home visit for the first interview with the complainant. • The relevant files and documents, best read before the visit, give the necessary background to understanding the client’s problem. • At the first interview the complaints officer, using active listening skills and minimal prompts, asks the complainant to tell the whole story. He/she then asks to hear the story again, asking questions to clarify the exact nature of the complaint. • The “complaints officer” restates the issues of the complaint and checks that they are correct. At this stage the complaint issues are written down. • The complaints officer records the action which will correct the problem for the complainant. • For complex complaints, two visits may be necessary to achieve this goal. • The complaints officer then explains: ⇒ how the matter will be investigated, ⇒ that resolution usually needs negotiation on both sides, ⇒ any limitations on <agency name’s> part to fix the problem, ⇒ <Agency name’s> limits to give the sought remedy, and ⇒ the feedback procedure. * Where the term <complaints officer> appears, insert the title of the position at your agency with the responsibility for handling complaints. • The “complaints officer” makes an appointment, usually a telephone appointment, to give the complainant a progress report or a result. Investigation of Complaint • (Small agency) The complaints officer interviews the respondent and any staff involved in the situation. (Large agency) The complaints officer passes the matter to the appropriate supervisor or manager to handle. • The complaints officer collates the material for a response, decides on a response, writes a draft response letter and reviews the complaint with <Agency Name’s> management. • At the agreed appointment time, the “complaints officer” reports <Agency Name’s> response to the consumer or gives a progress report. • If the complainant agrees that the proposed resolution will finalise the complaint, <“complaints officer”> reads the draft letter to the complainant. <Agency Name> thus ensures that the complainant is satisfied, and avoids internal and external appeals. • <Agency Name> takes remedial action. Often all that is needed is a simple apology, and an assurance that the same thing will not happen to other people. <Agency Name> posts the letter, including the complainant’s right to take the matter to the Office of Health Review under Part 6 of the Disability Services Act 1993, to the complainant. • If the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution offered, the <“complaints officer” makes a telephone appointment for a further progress report. • <Agency Name> reconsiders its position. It considers seeking advice, from an independent impartial person with complaints knowledge, without breaching the client’s confidentiality. <Agency Name> either revises the offer or repeats the original solution. If there is no further action which can be taken to resolve the complaint, <Agency Name> expresses regret they cannot reach an acceptable resolution. The letter finalising the complaint will contain information about accessing Part 6 of the Disability Services Act (1993) and the names skilled advocates. Service Improvement • The complaints officer enters the complaint and outcome in a complaint log book for later analysis. • Complaints data, not identifying complainants or staff member respondents, goes to <Agency Name’s> Board or Committee of Management meetings for consideration for service improvement. • <Agency Name> obtains information about its consumers’ satisfaction with the feedback and complaints procedures, and reviews the effectiveness of its procedures annually.
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