DEALING WITH COMPLAINTS
Complaints can be made in a number of ways; by the complainant contacting the relevant manager by phone or in person, or a formal complaint made under the official complaints procedure.
Complaints made under the official process will follow the procedure set down (see your local Sector / Service / Health & Social Care Partnership procedure) with a given response timescale. As part of addressing the complaint, the manager may need to speak to staff to clarify their version of events. Where the complaint is of a serious nature it may be immediately apparent that an investigation under the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure is required. This remains a separate process from the complaints procedure; however it may be that the response to the complaint is delayed until the investigation is concluded. Alternatively, it may be an outcome of the formal complaints procedure that an investigation under the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure is required.
Other complaints that are made more informally may be resolved quickly with some fact finding conversations.
From time to time complaints can be received which are anonymous. The usual advice on this is to ignore such complaints as without a signatory it is not possible to obtain a statement of the issues from the complainant and the evidence may then be treated as having less substance.
Anonymous complaints can be malicious and it is important that an issue is not investigated without a sound basis.
However, anonymous complaints can also be attempts to bring issues of concern to the attention of the organisation. It may be that the letter contains some information that is both factual and extremely serious (e.g. fraud or patient abuse) in which case the manager does need to act on this by taking advice from Human Resources. Also if patterns or frequency of such anonymous complaints emerge or if there is a concern that there may be some accuracy in the complaint, contact Human Resources to discuss whether and how to look into the issues raised.
INITIAL STAGES (Before Formal Stages are Initiated)
The Disciplinary Policy and Procedure should be used in respect of employees who may be liable to disciplinary action resulting from alleged failure to meet the required standard of performance or conduct relating to their work or profession. Manager’s should determine through initial enquiries as to whether the matter should proceed under the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure or if another policy may be more appropriate i.e. capability or attendance management and Human Resources advice can be sought where necessary.
If management decides to use an alternative policy or procedure initially, it does not prevent instigating the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure at a later stage if it is believed that the alternative policy has not provided a resolution, or if the matter has escalated.