COMPLAINTS AND FEEDBACK POLICY

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the principles and procedure for managing, recording, and responding to feedback and complaints at Out Loud DS. 

 

2. Scope

This policy applies to all employees of Out Loud DS who provide work and/or a service as a direct staff member or independent contractor.

 

This policy also applies to all clients, families, and visitors of Out Loud. Out Loud DS encourages and supports all clients and visitors to provide feedback regarding their treatment, our systems and processes or any other issues that they may have. The organisation is committed to providing an environment in which all feedback or complaints can be made in a safe and confidential environment, free from bias or judgement. 

 

As Out Loud is a paediatric service we use family friendly language. The participant is referred to as the “child” and parents and carers as the “family”.

 

3. Principles

  • The community’s right to complain about the organisation is promoted and protected

  • An accessible and well publicised complaints management procedure is in place

  • Both the complainant and the clinic/person that the complaint is being made about are treated fairly and equitably, and all parties’ views are heard and considered

  • Confidentiality is always maintained, and complaints are only discussed with staff on a “need to know” basis

  • A staff member against whom an allegation is made will be given the opportunity to respond.  If the allegation is unsubstantiated, any record will be removed from their personal file

  • All staff are informed of and familiar with the Feedback and Complaints Management Policy

  • Records are kept of all complaints raised, contacts with complainants, action taken and the resolution

  • Adequate resources and remedies are available to support the complaints management system

  • Complaints are acknowledged within 24 working hours and are responded to within 10 working days.

  • Complaints can be made in person, by telephone, by letter or by electronic means.

 

4. Procedure

 

Complaints verbally lodged with a Staff Member

When a child or their family expresses a minor concern or issue, the staff member should initially attempt to resolve the problem with the child and/or their family. The staff member should note key points during the discussion, advising the person they are doing so, to ensure a record of the initial complaint is kept.

 

If it is evident that a child or their family (or both) are not satisfied with the proposed solution and/or wish to formalise the complaint, or when the staff member considers that the complaint requires a more formal process, then the following procedure should be initiated:

  • Advise the client of the name and contact details of the Director and provide them with a copy of the complaints form. If the complaint is relating to the Director, or the Director is absent then the details for the Practice Manager should be given.

  • Advise the client that they will be contacted within 24 hours of the Director and/or Practice Manager receiving their complaint.

  • Contact the Director and/or Practice Manager (by telephone and e-mail) and advise them that a complaint has been received, the nature of the complaint, actions to date, and a copy of any written documentation that may be pertinent to the issue.

 

Complaint lodged via phone call

If a staff member receives a phone call from a person who wishes to lodge a complaint, they should refer the call to the Director in the first instance, or in their absence, the Practice Manager.

If the Director or Practice Manager are not available, the staff member should:

  • Take the call, make note of key points and record on the feedback form, then forward the completed form to the Director and Practice Manager. 

  • Advise the client that their complaint will be forwarded to the Director and Practice Manager and provide the client with the name and contact details of the Director and Practice Manager.

  • Advise the client that they will be contacted by either the Director or Practice Manager within 24 hours of receipt of their complaint. 

  • Contact the Director and Practice Manager (by telephone and e-mail) and advise them that a complaint has been received, the nature of the complaint, actions to date, and a copy of any written documentation that may be pertinent to the issue.

 

Complaint lodged via letter or electronic means

If a staff member receives a letter or email from a person who wishes to lodge a complaint, they should refer the letter or email to the Director in the first instance, or in their absence, the Practice Manager.

The staff member should then contact the Director and Practice Manager by telephone and advise them that a complaint has been received, the nature of the complaint, actions to date, and provide a copy of any additional documentation that may be pertinent to the issue.

 

Action by Director and/or Practice Manager

  • Record the complaint in the Feedback Register and contact the complainant within 24 hours to confirm receipt.

  • Contact all relevant parties separately at the earliest opportunity to establish the facts, any actions taken to date and obtain copies of any relevant documentation that may be pertinent to the issue.

  • When arranging meetings, advise those participating that notes will be taken during the discussion to ensure that the issues are clearly stated, and that actions are recorded so that they can be followed up effectively. Take notes during all meetings.

  • During the meeting, restate and reflect the concerns expressed by the client and seek confirmation from them regarding the accuracy and completeness of the information.

  • Express regret at the situation and apologise for any distress the person may feel (without saying that the organisation accepts responsibility for an error).

  • Ask the person what remedy they would suggest and negotiate a solution where possible.

  • Document the solution on the Complaints Register and advise the client that this will be submitted to the Leadership board for collation and analysis and presented to the appropriate committee for review and any additional recommendations, as part of continuous improvement.

 

Further Action by Director

Each month, an analysis/evaluation of all complaints data will be undertaken by the Director along with the Leadership team. This information will be used to identify any trends, ensure any repetitive issues are rectified and check that complaints are resolved in a timely manner and due process is followed.

 

5. Related documents

  • OLDS Complaints and Feedback form

  • OLDS Service Agreement

  • OLDS Easy Read documents