We hope that you will find no cause to complain about Access SUMMIT or its services, but, if you do, we will do our best to resolve your complaint quickly, fairly and without prejudice. We undertake to keep complainants fully informed of our progress and to achieve a resolution, which is satisfactory to both the Complainant and Access SUMMIT.
We aim to learn from any mistakes; this Complaints Procedure is seen as very important to maintain quality and to achieve continuous improvement in our services.
Introduction and Principles
- As part of its commitment to ensuring the standard and quality of its service delivery Access SUMMIT has established this Procedure to deal with complaints. Complaints provide useful feedback information from clients and, where appropriate, will be used to improve services and facilities.
- The Procedure comprises a number of stages, both informal and formal. Clients who have a complaint to make should raise it directly with the staff concerned at the earliest opportunity, as matters that are dealt with informally at an early stage have the best chance of being resolved effectively.
Only where the informal stage has been completed and the complainant remains dissatisfied should the formal stage be instituted. It is recognised however that there may be occasions where an informal approach is not appropriate and the client may wish to proceed directly to the formal stage in the procedure, giving reasons for doing so. In such situations, the recipient of the complaint should decide at which stage in the procedure the complaint should most appropriately be considered, taking account of its particular nature and circumstances.
In respect of particularly serious complaints, the student may write directly to the Chair of The Centre’s Policy Group without having followed the informal and formal stages of this procedure set out below. In such cases, the Chair of The Policy Group shall decide whether to refer the complaint for consideration by a Review Panel or whether it should more appropriately be referred to an earlier stage in the procedure.
- Complaints should be made as soon as possible and in any case within eight weeks, of the events or actions (or lack of actions) which have prompted the complaint. Access SUMMIT will not normally consider complaints made after this period, unless there is good reason for the delay.
- Every reasonable effort will be made to deal promptly and efficiently with all complaints, to investigate them thoroughly and objectively and to seek to resolve them satisfactorily. Complaints will be dealt with positively and constructively. If a complaint is upheld, Access SUMMIT will seek to provide an appropriate response and will correct any mistakes or misunderstandings and will take any other action as appropriate. If a complaint is not upheld then reasons for that decision will be given.
- All complaints will be dealt with in confidence with the proviso that enquiries will have to be made to investigate the matters that are the subject of the complaint. Also, an individual against whom a complaint is made has the right to be supplied with a copy of the complaint and to comment on it. If this presents a problem for a client who wishes their complaint to be given complete confidentiality, he or she is advised to discuss how the complaint might be addressed with The Centre Manager.
- Access SUMMIT will treat all complaints seriously and will deal with them without recrimination. Where, however, a complaint is shown to be frivolous, vexatious or motivated by malice, Access SUMMIT will seek appropriate redress via any course(s) of action available.
- The effectiveness of this complaints procedure depends on Access SUMMIT being able to collect appropriate information from the parties involved in order to investigate the matter properly. For this reason, anonymous complaints will not be dealt with under this Procedure. It will be at the discretion of the member of staff receiving an anonymous complaint to determine how the matter is handled.
- The time limits set out in this Procedure will normally be followed. However, where, for good reason, this is not possible, the complainant will be kept informed of progress.
- Clients seeking help in using this procedure, or if they are uncertain as to whom their complaint should be referred, should seek advice from The Centre Manager.
Definition and Scope of the Procedure
- Access SUMMIT defines a complaint as “an expression of dissatisfaction which merits a response.”
- The Procedure is designed for complaints in respect of the client’s experience in relation to the provision of services, facilities by Access SUMMIT and the actions or lack of actions by Access SUMMIT staff.
- Most complaints can be resolved locally and informally and where practicable a complaint should be dealt with as close as possible to the point at which it arises. The complaint should therefore be made initially to the appropriate member of staff who seems best placed to deal with the matter. A client should normally expect to receive a written or verbal acknowledgement within five working days and a full response within fifteen working days of receipt of the complaint.
- If the client is not satisfied with the response at the informal stage, he or she may initiate a formal complaint by completing a Complaints Form (see below) and submitting it to The Centre Manager. The information to be given on the Complaints Form is as follows:
- Details of the complaint;
- Why the response received at the informal stage has not been
considered to be satisfactory;
- What you think Access SUMMIT should do to put things right.
- Access SUMMIT will acknowledge receipt of the Complaints Form within five working days and will convene a Complaint Panel to be chaired by a member of The Centre’s Steering Group and 2 members of The Centre’s Senior Management Team.
- The people dealing with the formal complaint must be independent of the source of the complaint and will attempt resolution of the complaint by a means appropriate to its nature and circumstances. Such means may include:
- Correspondence between the parties;
- Negotiation with the client or with appropriate members of staff or
- facilitation of a conciliation meeting between the client and the
- If a meeting with the client takes place, the client may be accompanied.
- It is expected that the formal procedure should normally be completed and a written response sent to the complainant within twenty working days of receipt of the completed Complaints Form.
- The possible outcomes at this stage include:
- A resolution, reached in co-operation;
- Provision to the client of information by way of explanation of the
circumstances which led to the complaint;
- Dismissal of the complaint as being without foundation, with reasons
given to the client in writing.
- If the client is not satisfied with the outcome of the formal complaint and believes that his or her complaint has not been handled properly or fairly according to these procedures, the client may request a Review.
- If, once a final decision on the complaint has been given, the client believes that the complaint has not been handled fairly or properly in accordance with these procedures, the complainant may write to the Chair of The Centre’s Policy Committee.
- Where the matter is referred via this stage, The Chair of The Centre’s Policy Group will identify 2 members of The Group to examine both the substance of the complaint and also the way in which the complaint had been handled in the earlier stages of the procedure by reviewing the case on the basis of the documentation provided by the student and that made available by The Complaint Panel which dealt with the formal complaint.
- The Reviewers may decide to seek further information from the client and/or from others concerned.
- If the complaint is upheld recommendations will be made to The Centre’s Centre Manager and specific actions to resolve the matter will be outlined.
- If the complaint is not upheld, the client will be informed in writing
with reasons for its dismissal. If the the complaint is dismissed as being
without foundation, there shall be no further opportunity for the complaint to