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17.2 Dealing with Complaints: Guidance to Staff

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in October 2019.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Receipt of Complaints and Allocation at Stage 1, 2 or 3
  3. Complaints Report 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
  10. Format for Responding to Complaints


1.Introduction

This document outlines the revised process for investigating and reporting on complaints.


2. Receipt of Complaints and Allocation at Stage 1, 2 or 3

Complaints can come from a number of sources. Whatever the source, the information received must be  submitted  to the Children and Families complaints inbox: ComplaintsChild&Fam.DHSC@gov.im.

Complaints will then be:

  1. Referred to the Director for allocation at Stage 1, Stage 2 or Stage 3;
  2. Logged on the complaints tracker; and
  3. Allocated to a staff member to undertake the investigation.

The complainant will be sent a notification by the Senior Management Support Secretary that their complaint is being dealt with, at what Stage, by whom and in what timescale.


3. Complaints Report Template

The Senior Management Support Secretary will send a partially completed Report Template to the Investigating Officer; this will include stage of complaints process, name of complainant, date received, contact details, an outline of the complaint and the deadline date for response in as applicable to each stage of the complaints process. The Investigating Officer will complete the remaining sections in Part 1 of the template electronically. The investigator is expected, wherever possible, to meet with the complainant to agree the ‘Agreed actions for investigation’ (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, agreement should be reached with the complainant on the response deadline date: 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. Please refer to the document ‘Format for Responding to Complaints': Investigating Officers should follow the format outlined in that guidance document in responding to complainants. 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.  Each element of the complaint raised should be listed in the ‘Findings’ box along with as note as to whether each element has been Upheld, Partially Upheld or Not Upheld. If the complaint has gone over the agreed timescale, an explanation as to why this has happened must be included.  Investigating Officers should clearly state within the Learning and Practice Change boxes the outcomes and resulting actions identified.


5. The Fully Completed Template

The fully completed Template must be returned (electronically) to the Senior Management Support Secretary who will log the outcomes on the Complaints Tracker. 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 and Format for responding to complaints are shown below.


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 categories may be updated and added to.


9. C&F Complaint Investigations / Findings Template

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


10. Format for Responding to Complaints

Click here to view the Format for Responding to Complaints.

End