ContactFamily - Complaints Policy and Procedures

ContactFamily are committed to achieving the best standards in all of our work and ensuring that the users of our services have a positive experience. ContactFamily accepts that, sometimes, things can go wrong. If this happens, we want to be given the opportunity to put things right. A complaint is an opportunity to learn and improve, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation who has made the complaint.
ContactFamily’s policy in respect of complaints is to:

• provide a complaints procedure which is fair, clear and easy to use by anyone wishing to make a complaint;
• make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and as swiftly as possible; 
• handle each complaint sensitively; 
• resolve complaints, wherever possible, and restore our relationship with the complaining person or organisation; and
• use the information and experience we have gained to improve what we do.

This policy explains how to make a complaint, and describes our complaints procedure and how we handle complaints.


How to make a complaint  

If you wish to make a complaint you may speak with or email the person who delivered the service or, if you prefer, you can email ContactFamily at: clientservices@contactfamily.org <mailto:clientservices@contactfamily.org>.
When giving details of the complaint to us, please tell us:

• your full name, address, email address and telephone number;
• as much as you can about the complaint; and
• how you think the matter should be resolved. 

Where communication through the above methods is not practicable (for example, due to disability, or language barriers) every reasonable step will be taken by ContactFamily to obtain details of the complaint and to support the person making the complaint.


ContactFamily’s procedures for dealing with Complaints

ContactFamily will treat all complaints, including anonymous complaints, seriously and will take action to investigate them further, wherever this is appropriate.
Generally, we will only be able to consider anonymous complaints if there is enough information in the complaint to enable us to make further enquiries.
We will not be able to consider complaints from individuals who:

• have been abusive or unpleasant in communications towards the service or the other parent;
• have undermined or been abusive about the service or ContactFamily on social media;
• have accused the service of not being impartial;
• have disclosed [certain information in email communications]; 
• have made a threat to self harm or a threat to harm someone else; or
• are complaining about not being able to have direct contact with the other parent who has requested no contact.


Confidentiality

All complaint information will be handled sensitively. ContactFamily will only tell those who need to know. In some cases, there may be a need to share information with external bodies, such as Barnardos or Police Scotland. By submitting a complaint, you agree that information on the complaint can be shared with external organisations where it is necessary to do so. ContactFamily will follow any relevant data protection requirements.


Responsibility

Complaints will be dealt with by the Board of Directors of ContactFamily. It is the responsibility of any representatives of ContactFamily who receive a complaint to ensure that the complaint is communicated to the Board of Directors as soon as possible in order to allow it to be logged and dealt with within the target timescales.


Resolving Complaints

ContactFamily will ensure that the complaint is investigated by someone within the Board of Directors who is independent of the events complained about. Where this is not possible, ContactFamily will consider whether a third party outside of the organisation should be asked to investigate the complaint.

Where the investigating Director deems that a complaint requires further investigation and/or action, the Director will inform the complainant, within [seven] days of the complaint being received, of this further investigation or action. The Director will advise the complainant who will deal with the complaint and when the complainant can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be provided to the complainant.

If the investigating Director does not consider the complaint requires any further investigation or action, the Director will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within [seven] days and, if appropriate, advise the complainant that their complaint will be noted and used to improve the service in future.

Where possible, where a complaint has been made against a particular individual, that individual should be informed and given the opportunity to respond to the allegations made.

Ideally, complainants should receive a definitive response to their complaint within [fourteen] days. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

If the concern is resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction at this stage, the matter should be fully recorded, including full details of the outcome, the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions and any action taken as a result.
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved, they can request that the complaint is considered by the Board of Directors. Such a request must be made within three months of the date of the investigating Director’s response to the original complaint and the Board of Directors will not be obliged to consider requests received later than this time limit. 

The Board will take responsibility for contacting the complainant and making such enquiries as are necessary to resolve the issue.

Ideally, complainants should receive a definitive reply within 28 days. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

The decision taken by the Board of Directors is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolving the matter, in which case mediation may be considered. 

Monitoring and Learning

The Board of Directors will regularly review complaints to ensure that learning outcomes are incorporated into policy and practice.


Reviewing and varying the Complaints Policy and Procedures

The Board of Directors will monitor and regularly review ContactFamily’s Complaints Policy and Procedures to ensure that these are effective, and may vary them for good reason.

At times, it may be appropriate to depart from the Procedures, for example, where matters are complex and it would be not possible to satisfactorily investigate the matter fully and respond to the complainant within the timescale, in which case ContactFamily will ensure the complainant is kept informed of this and the expected date by which they should receive a response.
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