Purpose Of Procedure

To provide details of the process for making a complaint against the Foundation, Counsellors and its staff (paid and unpaid)

Responsibility for its update/Accessibility

The Director is responsible for the updating and maintenance of this policy. Should you have any questions please contact the Director about these. The Procedure is available in other languages and formats on request if possible

Procedure applies to

Current or previous clients who have used the services of the Moira Anderson Foundation or anyone else affected by its services

Proposed Date Of Review: December 2024

1. Introduction

The Moira Anderson Foundation is committed to monitoring and evaluating its services to enhance their quality and ensure that they meet the standards outlined in our Code of Ethics and other appropriate policies and regulations. We welcome feedback and comments on the services we provide.

Regular client feedback is also gathered through a variety of questionnaires and surveys that help us to use our resources in the best way possible to meet client needs. We recognise that there may be occasions when these information and feedback mechanisms are not sufficient to deal with problems that may occur from time to time. For this reason we have introduced a formal complaints procedure to ensure that your complaints and comments are dealt with in a speedy and professional way. Every complaint is looked at in a positive manner to help us monitor and improve our services.

The complaints procedure aims to:

be easily accessible
resolve complaints informally at local level wherever possible
allows speedy handling, with established time frames for action
ensure a full and fair investigation
respect complainants’ desire for confidentiality wherever possible
provide an effective response and appropriate redress
feed back into Foundation systems to ensure that services are improved

2. What Is A Complaint

The complaints procedure covers any expression of dissatisfaction about:

standards of service
actions or lack of actions by the Foundation or its staff/counsellors
provisions of the Foundation affecting individuals, of any group

The Complaints procedure does NOT cover:

provisions of the Foundation affecting individuals, of any group
disciplinary procedures
staff grievance procedures

These are covered by separate policies and procedures, details of which can be found on the Policies and Procedures manual

3. Who Can Complain

current or previous clients (using the services of MAF within the last 12 months), individually or in a group
anyone seeking or receiving a service from the Client or anyone who is affected by the activities of the Foundation
complaints be defined third parties and/or representatives

We regret that we cannot take any action on anonymous complaints or complaints raised on behalf of an anonymous third party.

4. Before You Complain

please think about using our suggestions of feedback mechanisms
talk to us informally about levels of service – sometimes we are constrained by external policy decisions or resources in what services we can provide
if you require assistance/advice on our complaints procedure please tell us. Support can be sought internally or externally via a local advocacy service

5. If You Decide To Complain

The Foundation will:

handle your complaint in a quick, polite and straightforward way
investigate your complaint thoroughly and impartially
inform you of when you can expect a reply at all stages of the process
ensure that clients are not disadvantaged in any way by reason of raising the complaint
all parties involved in the complaint can, where relevant, declare a conflict of interest to a designated person
the individual identified to manage the complaints procedure can halt the complaint at any stage should it emerge that legal action is underway, pending or intended. This person can halt the procedure until any legal action is complete

6. How, Where and To Whom To Complain

Stage 1 (Informal)

We try to resolve any complaint informally at the point at which the problem arose. Many apparent concerns arise from misunderstandings that can quickly be resolved by talking through the matter. If possible you should firstly:

telephone the appropriate member of staff /counsellor or
make an appointment to see the appropriate member of staff/counsellor
write a letter to the appropriate member of staff/counsellor

If you wish to complain about your treatment by a specific individual, you should –

Talk informally with a more senior member of staff within the Foundation. You can contact the Director where your request will be dealt with as promptly as possible.

Stage 2 (Formal)

If you feel unable to approach the Foundation directly involved in your complaint, or you consider that the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, you should complete a Complaints Form (Form C1) available from the Centre. You should try to complete the form within 15 working days of the incident giving rise to the complaint. You should indicate on the form what remedy you are seeking as a result of your complaint.

The completed complaints form should then be forwarded to the Director, and in the circumstances that the complaint is against the Director, it should be sent to The Board of Trustees either of whom will acknowledge its receipt and will investigate your complaint. The Director/Trustee Board has the right to meet with and interview any person referred to in the complaint in reaching their decision. In addition, if the complaint refers to the actions and/or behaviour of an individual, that individual will have the right to be interviewed in order to respond to such allegations or submit a written statement.

A response will normally be sent to you within 20 working days. If the complaint is likely to take longer than this to investigate, we will keep you informed of progress on a regular basis. If your complaint is upheld, our response will let you know what action MAF intends to take, for example a formal apology, a statement on how systems will be changed in the future, a referral to the Board of Trustees to re-examine MAF procedures.

If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint, you will have the opportunity to request an informal meeting with the Chairperson (or nominee). You will be given at least 5 working days’ notice of the meeting.
A brief written summary of that meeting will be sent to you within 5 working days of the meeting.

Stage 3

If you remain dissatisfied with the response to your complaint after the informal meeting, you can request that your complaint is considered by the Complaints Review Panel (independent and impartial to the organisation). The Complaints Review Panel will act confidentially in the handling of your complaint. You should submit details in writing of your reasons for wishing to take the complaint to the next stage to the Director. This should normally be done within 10 days of receipt of the response from Stage 2. The Director will acknowledge receipt of your request and convene a meeting of the Complaints Review Panel (see Section 8 for more details) normally within 20 working days of receipt of your request. You are not permitted to introduce new issues at this stage of the procedure.

The panel will have access to all prior correspondence and the results of the initial investigation. Both parties will present evidence separately. The panel will also normally wish to meet with all parties involved in the complaint in reaching their decision; you will have the right to attend this meeting and be accompanied and/or represented by a supportive person of your choice, as will the person complained against.
A report at the conclusion of the complaints proceedings will be sent to COSCA.

If you remain unsatisfied with the outcome of the Complaints Review Panel you can submit a complaint to COSCA under its Complaints Procedure – www.cosca.org.uk

7. Confidentiality

If you name another person in your complaint, our organisation’s policy is that they should know what is said about them and who is making the complaint. It is therefore that anonymous complaints cannot be made under this policy. The Foundation may also take action if a complaint is found to be malicious.

8. Who To Contact For Advice

The Director
The Moira Anderson Foundation
3 Mavisbank Street