Complaints for workers and service providers
Preventing formal complaints:
- Encourage people to give feedback, whether positive or negative — forums for people who use services and their families may help people to feel more comfortable in raising concerns.
- Encourage staff to identify problems early to help prevent complaints at a later date.
- Be clear about what people using the service can expect from it.
- Try to resolve complaints at the earliest stage - known as the 'informal' stage. Acting promptly will reassure people and instill confidence, reducing the need for 'official' complaints.
- If the complaint is about a staff member, try to focus on the reasons for their actions rather than blame and ensure they have access to support.
- Make sure that people who may have difficulty making their voice heard (e.g. people with dementia or people from minority groups) receive appropriate support to make their views heard.
- Document and follow through concerns raised informally as well as those which are the subject of a formal complaint.
Dealing with formal complaints:
- Ensure staff are properly briefed on the complaints procedure.
- Offer support such as independent advocacy to the complainant where required, in some cases mediation may be helpful.
- Keep response timescales as short as possible.
- Ensure the complainant is kept informed of progress.
- Give a clear report of the outcome of the complaint and information on what to do if the complainant is not satisfied.
- Where the complaint is justified — make a sincere apology.
- Learn from complaints and implement changes so that people can see that their complaint has made a difference.
- Monitor complaint outcomes and levels of satisfaction.