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1. Complaints Statement
Ecarda Limited aims to provide a service of a standard acceptable to all our users. If we fail to do this we want to know about it. This will enable us not only to deal with the specific problem, but also to avoid it happening again.

Our complaints procedure sets out how to take up matters you think are unsatisfactory about the service you have received from us.

2. Introduction
This policy sets out the procedures we will follow when we receive a complaint from client users of our service, an organisation or individual. It does not address complaints made by staff or volunteers (dealt with through grievance and disciplinary procedures) nor job applicants (recruitment procedure).

This procedure is meant to provide a means to resolve a dispute between Ecarda Limited and any complainant. It requires staff and management at every stage to resolve the complaint. Complaints are likely to be in one or more of the following areas:

  • dissatisfaction with our service, such as inadequate work, problems with specific tasks, unacceptable delay or failure to deliver a service etc.
  • disputes between user and Ecarda Limited regarding policy, procedures or activities.
  • discourtesy or unhelpfulness on the part of our staff or consultants.

3. The Procedure
When someone wishes to register a complaint, the following procedure should be adopted. Where the complaint is against the Manager, the same procedure will be followed, but with the Managing Director of the organisation substituting for the Manager's role at all stages.

Preliminary Stage
The complaint should be received either via completion of a complaints form or by a request to make a verbal complaint.

Stage 1
The complainant should be invited to speak to the line manager, the member of staff designated to dealing with the complaints and the manager to discuss the complaint with them. This can be done by phone. The line manager should keep a record of the conversation on the complaints monitoring sheet. The line manager will endeavour to resolve the matter.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied, or where it is not possible to use Stage 1 above (for example is it is not convenient for them to phone) then refer to Stage 2 below.

Time Limit
Stage 1 should be completed within 5 working days of receiving the complaint.

Stage 2
The complainant should be asked to put their complaint in writing to Mrs Diane Thompson (Client Services Manager[CSM]), marked Private & Confidential, providing as much detail of the complaint as possible.

The CSM will then investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it.

The CSM may delegate any aspect of the investigation to a nominee.

If the complaint involves a member(s) of staff the CSM should offer the opportunity for the member of staff to put forward their account, either by written statement or by presentation to the Panel.

Time Limit
The CSM will ensure that all complainants receive a response in writing within 10 working days of the letter/complaint notes being received. This letter will summarise what investigations have been carried out and what action, if any, is proposed to resolve the matter. A copy of this letter should be attached to the complaint form.

Stage 3
Where the matter is not resolved by stage 2, the CSM should immediately refer the complaint to the Complaints Panel, sending copies of all written correspondence to Panel Members.

The complaints Panel will comprise of the Managing Director, an associate director (designated Complaints Officer) and an independent education professional agreed by both parties. The Complaints Officer will be responsible for convening the Panel.

The complainant will be informed immediately by the Complaints Officer, or managing director, that this is being done and that the Panel will also be contacting the staff member(s) against whom the complaint is made.

The Panel will review the decision made at Stage 2 and may seek further clarification from any of the parties involved.

Time Limit
The Complaints Panel will notify the complainant of its reasons and decisions within 15 working days of having received notice of the complaint. The Panel's decision will be final. The Complaints  Officer is responsible for ensuring records of the meeting are kept and the Complaints monitoring form is completed.

4. Recording and Monitoring Complaints
All complaints will be recorded and kept on file, including those which were resolved without being put in writing. The Complaints Monitoring form shall be used to do this. All complaints shall be treated with regard to the Confidentiality policy.

5. Publicising the Procedure
The CSM is responsible for ensuring that information is available to clearly explain the procedure for making the complaint.

6. Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Procedure
All appropriate parties will receive a copy of the complaints procedure.
Existing and new workers will be introduced to the complaints procedure via induction and training. The procedure will be reviewed annually and amendments should be proposed and agreed by the Board of Directors.

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