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16.2 Dealing with Complaints: Guidance to Staff

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Receipt of Complaints
  3. Completion of Part 1 of the Template
  4. Write-up of Findings and Other Actions
  5. The Fully Completed Template
  6. Closing Remarks
  7. The Complaints Process
  8. Nature of the Complaint: Guidance
  9. C&F Complaint Investigations / Findings Template


1.Introduction

This document outlines the revised process for investigating and reporting on complaints. This must be followed from 1st June 2017.


2. Receipt of Complaints

Complaints come from a number of sources: contact with Chief Executive’s Office; letter or email to the Chief Social Worker; letters or emails received by Admin/Secretarial staff, Social Workers or Managers. Whatever the source, the information received must be copied to Emma Barlow, Personal Secretary to Chief Social Worker. Complaints will then be logged and allocated to a staff member to undertake the investigation.

The complainant must be sent notification that their complaint is being dealt with, by whom and in what timescale.


3. Completion of Part 1 of the Template

The Investigating Officer will complete Part 1 of the template electronically and lodge this with Emma Barlow. The investigator is expected, wherever possible, to meet with the complainant to agree the terms of reference which will be written in the appropriate box in Part 1.There is some guidance on page 3 of this document as to how to complete the section describing the nature of the complaint. Depending on the complexity of the complaint, an amount of time should be chosen: Stage 1 is normally between 1-14 days; Stage 2 is up to 28 days; Stage 3 is 28 days. The process of the investigation will be proactively monitored in accordance with the timescale set on page 1 of the Template.


4. Write-up of Findings and Other Actions

Following the investigation, the findings must be written up on the template and captured in the written response to the complainant. In addition, the rest of Part 2 of the Template must be completed. The critical feature of this Template is the capturing of the learning from the complaint findings and what change, if any, needs to be made to practice and/or policy. If the complaint has gone over the agreed timescale, an explanation as to why this has happened must be included.


5. The Fully Completed Template

The fully completed Template must be returned (electronically) to Emma Barlow. On a quarterly frequency, these will be analysed individually and aggregated into a report that will be available to managers and staff under the Performance Management Framework (PMF) arrangements.


6. Closing Remarks

It is very important for our future service delivery that we fully understand the nature of complaints and the learning we can gain from them. This should (if we learn the lessons) help us to provide an improved service in the longer term. This should in turn improve outcomes for children and families.

The process set out above is shown in diagrammatically below. The Template is reproduced on pages four and five.


7. The Complaints Process

Click here to view The Complaints Process.


8. Nature of the Complaint: Guidance

  1. Data Breach/ Breach of confidentiality: un-redacted material; sending information to the wrong people, wrong address; sharing inappropriate information, when information provided in confidence is disclosed to a third party without prior consent;
  2. Information Matters: incorrect/misleading information; withholding information;
  3. Policies/Procedures: processes not followed; timescales not met;
  4. Social Work Processes: assessment; planning; providing interventions; monitoring; reviews;
  5. Social Workers/managers: values not demonstrated; behaviours not acceptable; attitudes are wrong; professionalism not shown whether in face to face, telephone conversations, letters or emails, on social media;
  6. Provision of services: children’s social care; in-house services; commissioned providers;
  7. Other: Complaints not listed in the 6 categories above.

It should be noted that in time and with the experience of dealing with complaints in this new way, we may add to these categories.


9. C&F Complaint Investigations / Findings Template

Click here to view the C&F Complaint Investigations / Findings Template.

End