KCN Policy Reference CA03
1. Policy Statement
Kingston Carers’ Network (KCN) believes that all carers, including young carers, their families and other stakeholders, have the right to comment on its services and will help them to do so. We will offer information on making complaints or complimenting the service in ways that are clear and accessible to people of all ages, genders and cultures and ethnic origins.
We will respect complaints and compliments, make changes where necessary and respond appropriately to the person making the comment. We will treat complaints and compliments as confidential.
We will enable people making a complaint to access a system that is transparent and fair. People will be able to appeal against decisions made about complaints.
We believe that encouraging people’s comments and showing them that they are respected helps to make the KCN an organisation that safeguards all carers whatever their age.
We will involve carers of any age in evaluating our services, including young people, their families and other stakeholders.
All KCN’s workers, including volunteers, have a duty to follow these procedures.
KCN will involve its stakeholders in reviewing and revising this document regularly.
Includes complaints, compliments, suggestions and other comments on the service, a worker or the organisation as a whole.
Includes employees, volunteers and trustees.
Includes people of all ages using the service, other agencies, members of the public.
Whenever workers receive verbal or written comments, or feel that someone might wish to comment, the worker should consider whether the person wishes their comments to be formally recorded, responded to or acted upon. If so, appropriate assistance should be made available to enable them to put their comments in writing. Where the comment is a complaint, workers should follow the procedures in the Complaints section.
Whenever comments raise issues related to health and safety, the safety of children/ vulnerable adults, criminal activity or other matters that could seriously impact on the service or an individual, the comment must be recorded and passed up the Line Management chain immediately (to trustee level if necessary). The relevant Policies and Procedures must be followed (Health and Safety1, Child Protection2, Protection and Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults3, Confidentiality and Data Protection4 etc). Relevant information should be shared with the lead workers responsible for Health and Safety, Child Protection etc.
Compliments and suggestions may be shared with the team or publicly if the person commenting has expressed a desire for this to happen or if all identifying characteristics can be removed so that the comment no longer contains personal information.
Responding to complaints
All complaints should be acknowledged within 5seven days.
All complaints should be treated as confidential.
The procedure for responding to complaints has up to three stages.
Complainants should be given a copy of the Comments and Complaints Procedure. Workers, in liaison with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other colleagues if appropriate, should attempt to respond to the complaint informally. This would be appropriate for complaints where it has been made clear that only an acknowledgement or apology is required, or where a change to service provision can be made that satisfies the person complaining. If there is any doubt, the worker involved should follow up the response to the complaint to check whether the person complaining is satisfied with the outcome.
If the complaint cannot be resolved by Stage One, the person complaining will be informed that the complaint will be investigated. The CEO will talk to the person complaining and all workers involved, and write a short report outlining the circumstances and possible courses of action, including any actions suggested by the person complaining. The CEO will write to the person complaining or invite them to a meeting and suggest a course of action. Complaints against the CEO should be made to the Chair of the KCN Board of Trustees (Chair). Complaints against any of the trustees should be made to the Chair. Complaints against the Chair should be made to the Vice-Chair.
Contact and meetings with young people should be conducted in an age - appropriate manner, encouraging the young person to involve parents, an advocate and/or a friend in meetings and conversations. They should be given a choice of venues and told who will be involved in the process and what its outcomes may be.
If the person complaining is not happy with the response from Stage Two, their complaint and its investigation should be discussed at the next meeting of the Board of Trustees (Board). The person complaining should be informed of the date of this meeting and when they will be informed of its outcome. The Board will write to them outlining their conclusions and any actions to be taken.
The response from the Board should include the contact details of any independent bodies to which the person has recourse (such as the Local Authority or other statutory funder). Information should be shared with external bodies at the person’s request.
If the person complaining is a service user, a note about their complaint should be added to their case notes only if their complaint is relevant to their future support e.g., if they have requested a change in support worker.
All complaints and their responses should be recorded and records kept whilst internal or external investigations are ongoing. Records containing personal information should be destroyed within 12 months of investigations being resolved, but a version with identifying details removed should be made available to the Board. If documents are sent out, copies should be retained whilst any external investigation is ongoing.
If a person makes a complaint which is found not to be justified, they will not be penalised and may continue to have full access to our services. Those repeatedly making unjustified complaints or making malicious complaints may have services withdrawn if this is felt necessary to protect their well-being, the safety of employees or the well-being of other stakeholders. This action should only be taken after discussion with the CEO and other relevant workers and a letter explaining the reasons for this action should be sent to the service user.