Complaints Policy

1. Complaints Policy Statement

Springfield Domestic Abuse Support South Lakes (Springfield)

  • is committed to providing a good standard of quality services to service users, other agencies and organisations
  • will take seriously any concern or complaint and will look into it promptly, for resolution as quickly as possible
  • recognises that all service users, agencies and organisations
    – have the right to raise concerns or complaints about our services
    – have access to clear information on how to voice complaints and concerns
  • concerns and complaints procedure is open to everyone who receives or requests a service from Springfield and people acting on their behalfwill deal with complaints in line with Springfield policy
  • will keep a register of all complaints, which will be reviewed regularly by the Board of Trustees
  • complaints procedure will be part of the process of monitoring the quality, effectiveness and non-discriminatory nature of its services
  • All staff, volunteers and Board of Trustees members are required to read, understand and comply with this policy and its procedures

2. Introduction

2.1 Springfield strives for high standards in service delivery and welcomes feedback from individuals, users of our services, stakeholders, funding bodies and anyone who works with us, on all aspects of our services. Such feedback is invaluable in helping us evaluate and improve our work.

2.2 The objectives of Springfield complaints policy and procedures are to:

  • Ensure everyone knows how to make a complaint and how a complaint will be handled
  • Ensure that complaints are dealt with consistently, fairly and sensitively within clear time frames
  • Provide individuals with a fair and effective way to complain about our work
  • Ensure that complaints are monitored to improve our services

2.3 Springfield will ensure that we:

  • Listen carefully to complaints and treat complaints as confidential, where possible
  • Record, store and manage all complaints accurately and in accordance with the Data protection Act
  • Investigate the complaint fully, objectively and within the stated time frame
  • Notify the complainant of the results of the investigation and any right of appeal
  • Inform the complainant of any action that will be implemented in order to ensure that there is no re-occurrence
  • Report on an annual basis, the number of complaints received, the outcomes and any actions taken.

3. Definition of a complaint

3.1 A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction by an individual, whether justified or not.

3.2 An individual may make a complaint if they feel Springfield has:

  • Failed to provide a service or an acceptable standard of service or made a mistake in the way the service was provided
  • Failed to act in a proper way
  • Provided an unfair service

3.3 This policy and procedure relates only to complaints received about Springfield and its services.

4. Concern or Complaint

4.1 It is important to establish the difference between a concern and a complaint. Taking informal concerns seriously at the earliest stage will reduce the likelihood of their developing into formal complaints.

4.2 If you have any concerns about our work please tell a staff worker or their manager as soon as possible, so they can quickly understand your concerns and try to put things right.

4.3 If you are not happy with the response to your concern and/or you want to make a formal complaint please follow the procedure below.

5. Complaints Procedure

5.1 If you wish to make a complaint about the behaviour, action of a member of staff, a volunteer or any aspect of Springfield’s service we would encourage you, in the first instance, to talk to the person concerned, informally and try to resolve the situation. If you are dissatisfied by the response you receive or feel unable to raise the matter with the person concerned then you can complain verbally or in writing. You can do this by

telling us about  what the issue is and what you would like us to do to resolve it. 

5.2 There are three stages to the complaint’s procedure:

  • Stage One – the complaint
  • Stage Two – investigation
  • Stage Three – appeal

6. Stage One – Complaint

6.1 The complaint can be written or if the individual prefers they can tell someone at Springfield, or someone else, who will write it down for them. If the complaint is transcribed by a third party, Springfield may require verification.

Complaints received should be sent the manager of the service the complaint relates to either the Community Hub Manager or the Refuge Manager.

In the event the line manger is absent, the complaint will be dealt with by the line manager of another service of equivalent standing.

6.3 If the complaint is about a line manager, the matter should be made to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), via their email or by writing to CEO, Springfield, Stricklandgate House, 92 Stricklandgate. Kendal LA9 4PU

6.4 The complaint should include the complainants name and address, the nature and date of the complaint and how they want to see it resolved. The complaints form can be requested and can be sent to the complainant or collected by the complainant.

6.5 On receipt, each complaint will be logged on the complaints register. The line manager will write to you, acknowledging receipt of your complaint, within 5 working days of receiving it. 

7. Stage Two – Investigation

7.1 All complaints at this stage will be investigated by a line manager. They may need to speak with you by telephone or in person and may invite you to a meeting. If you are invited to a meeting you may bring a supporter with you to the meeting. 

7.2 Within 28 working days of the receiving your complaint a line manager will write to you outlining their findings and the action Springfield will take, including any recommendations/remedies made, such as reviewing of policies, staff development and training or appropriate improvement to our services.

7.3 Where the complaint is upheld an apology should be offered.

7.4 Occasionally investigations may take longer, particularly if the complaint is complex. Should this be the case you will be informed by writing.

7.5 If an individual remains dissatisfied with the outcome from Stage Two they can appeal within fourteen working days of the date of the outcome and progress to Stage Three.

7.6 The complaints register will be updated, and any pending complaints flagged so they are followed up.

8. Stage Three – Appeal

8.1 If the complaint cannot be resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction at stage two, or if the manager feels that the complaint is of a very serious nature, or concerns a service leader, then it will be referred to the CEO.

8.2 If the complaint is about the CEO then the matter should be referred to the Board of Trustees.

8.3 The CEO will write to you within 10 working days acknowledging receipt of your review request, they will review the Stage Two investigation and recommend one of the following actions within 30 working days (from the date the complainant stated they wanted to take the complaint to stage 3):

  • Uphold the action taken at Stage Two
  • Make changes to the Stage Two recommendation/actions

9. Stage Four – Further Appeal

9.1 If the complaint cannot be resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction at stage two, then it will be referred to the Board of Trustees.

9.2 The Board of Trustees will write to you within 10 working days acknowledging receipt of your review request, they will review the Stage Two investigation and recommend one of the following actions within 28 working days (from the date the complainant stated they wanted to take the complaint to stage 3):

  • Uphold the action taken at Stage Two
  • Make changes to the Stage Two recommendation/actions

9.3 The complainant should be informed in writing of the outcome of stage three, the decision reached about this complaint will then be final but other options available to the complainant (as listed below) should be detailed in the letter.

9.4 If after Springfield has been through the four stages and the complainant is still not satisfied with the result, they should be advised that there is no further right of appeal with Springfield.

10. Anonymous complaints

10.1 Complaints received anonymously will be recorded and considered, but action may be limited if further information is required to ensure a full and fair investigation.

11. Data protection

11.1 To process a complaint Springfield will hold personal data about the complainant, which the individual provides, and which other people give in response to the complaint. We will hold this data securely and only use it to address the complaint. The identity of the person making the complaint will only be known to those who need to consider the complaint and will not be revealed to other people or made public. However, it may not be possible to preserve confidentiality in some circumstances, for example, where relevant legislation applied or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.

11.2 Springfield will normally destroy complaints files in a secure manner 7 years after the complaint has been closed.

12. Monitoring

12.1 Complaints are an important tool which, alongside data provided by exit surveys, stakeholder surveys, user feedback and focus groups, will allow us to learn about the services we provide. They provide a useful source of information about how individuals see our services and how we are serving them. To ensure we can learn from complaints the following data will be collected:

  • Name and address
  • Name of person dealing with the complaint
  • Date of complaint and response
  • Nature of complaint
  • Action(s) taken/recommendations made in response to the complaint Lessons learnt

12.2 Complaints information will be considered on a regular basis by the Management Team and reported annually Springfield board of Trustees. Wherever possible the data will be used to improve and develop the service.