This policy is intended to achieve Regulation 16: Receiving and Acting on Complaints of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
Regulation 16 is one of the fundamental standards, with which providers must comply to meet their registration requirements. It follows the same lines as the previous regulation with perhaps some differences of emphasis in certain respects.
Draycott Nursing & Care accepts the rights of clients to make complaints and to register concerns about the services received. It further accepts that they should find it easy to do so. It welcomes complaints and looks upon them as opportunities to learn, adapt, improve and provide better services.
This policy is intended to ensure that complaints are dealt with properly and that all complaints or comments by clients and their relatives, carers and advocates are taken seriously. The policy is not designed to apportion blame, to consider the possibility of negligence or to provide compensation. It is not part of the agency’s disciplinary policy.
Draycott Nursing & Care believes that failure to listen to or acknowledge complaints leads to an aggravation of problems, client dissatisfaction and possible litigation. The agency supports the idea that most complaints, if dealt with early, openly and honestly, can be sorted at a local level between just the complainant and the organisation.
Aim of the Complaints Procedure
Draycott Nursing & Care aims to ensure that its complaints procedure is properly and effectively implemented and that clients feel confident that their complaints and worries are listened to and acted upon promptly and fairly.
Specifically it aims to ensure that:
- clients, carers, users and their representatives are aware of how to complain and that the agency provides easy to use opportunities for them to register their complaints
- a named person will be responsible for dealing with the complaint
- every written complaint, including via email, is acknowledged within 2 working days
- all complaints are investigated within 28 days of being made
- all complaints are responded to within 28 days of being made
- complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly and sensitively, with due regard to the upset and worry that they can cause to both staff and clients.
- Complaints will be investigated as fully as possible regardless of how long ago the issue being complained about happened.
The Managers with responsibility for following through complaints for the agency are –
- Registered Manager
Draycott Nursing & Care believes that, wherever possible, complaints are best dealt with on a local level between the complainant and the organisation. If either of the parties is not satisfied by a local process, the person will be advised that they can take their complaint to the local authority, if they receive funding support from it, or directly to the Local Government Ombudsman if they are self-funding. Local authority-funded residents may also decide to take their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman if they are dissatisfied with the way that the organisation or the local authority has handled their complaint. The contact details for the Local Government Ombudsman are PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 tel 030000610614 or text call back to 07624 803014.
The Care Quality Commission states that it will always welcome hearing about any concerns, though it will not investigate any complaint directly. It can be contacted by phone on 03000 616 161, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Care Quality Commission, Citygate, Gallowgate Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 4PA.
In the event of the complaint involving alleged abuse or a suspicion that abuse has occurred, the organisation will refer the matter immediately to the Local Safeguarding Board. Usually the board will call a strategy meeting to decide on the actions to be taken next. This could entail an assessment of the allegation by a member of the Safeguarding Authority team.
All verbal and written complaints must be recorded on People Planner using the ‘Complaints’ Event, and should evidence the response to the complaint and whether the complainant is satisfied with the outcome.
Draycott Nursing & Care accepts that all verbal complaints, no matter how seemingly unimportant, must be taken seriously.
- Front-line care staff who receive a verbal complaint are expected to seek to solve the problem immediately.
- If they cannot solve the problem immediately, they should offer to get their line manager to deal with the problem.
- Staff are expected to remain polite, courteous, sympathetic and professional to the complainant. They are taught that there is nothing to be gained by adopting a defensive or aggressive attitude.
- At all times in responding to the complaint, staff are encouraged to remain calm and respectful.
- Staff should not accept blame, make excuses or blame other staff.
- If the complaint is being made on behalf of the client by an advocate, it must first be verified that the person has permission to speak for the client, especially if confidential information is involved. (It is very easy to assume that the advocate has the right or power to act for the client when they may not). If in doubt it should be assumed that the client’s explicit permission is needed prior to discussing the complaint with the advocate.
- After talking the problem through, the manager or member of staff dealing with the complaint will suggest a course of action to resolve the complaint. If this course of action is acceptable then the member of staff should clarify the agreement with the complainant and agree a way in which the results of the complaint will be communicated to the complainant (ie through another meeting or by letter).
- If the suggested plan of action is not acceptable to the complainant, then the member of staff or manager will ask the complainant to put their complaint in writing to their line manager. The complainant should be given a copy of the agency’s complaints procedure if they do not already have one.
Serious or written complaints
- Preliminary steps: a. when Draycott Nursing & Care receives a written complaint it passes it to one of the complaints managers who sends an acknowledgment letter within two working days, to the complainant
- if necessary, further details are obtained from the complainant; if the complaint is not made by the client but on the client’s behalf, then consent of the client, preferably in writing, must be obtained from the complainant
- if the complaint raises potentially serious matters, advice could be sought from a legal advisor.
- If the complainant is not prepared to have the investigation conducted by the organisation he or she should be advised to contact the local authority (if it provides the individual’s funding) or the Local Government Ombudsman service (if the individual self-funds) or an organisation such as AgeUK or Counsel and Care, which can provide advice on how to proceed. The CQC could also be contacted under these circumstances, though it will not investigate a complaint directly.
- Investigation of the complaint by the organisation: a. immediately on receipt of the complaint, the complaints manager will start an investigation and within 28 days should be in a position to provide a full explanation to the complainant, either in writing or by arranging a meeting with the individuals concerned
- if the issues are too complex to complete the investigation within 28 days, the complainant will be informed of any delays.
- Meeting: a. if a meeting is arranged, the complainant will be advised that they may if they wish bring a friend or relative or a representative such as an advocate
- at the meeting a detailed explanation of the results of the investigation will be given and also an apology if it is deemed appropriate (apologising for what has happened need not be an admission of liability)
- such a meeting gives the agency management the opportunity to show the complainant that the matter has been taken seriously and has been thoroughly investigated.
- Follow-up action: a. after the meeting, or if the complainant does not want a meeting, a written account of the investigation will be sent to the complainant by recorded delivery stating whether the complaint has been upheld or not and the process for appealing against the outcome.
- the outcomes of the investigation and the meeting are recorded and any shortcomings in agency procedures will be identified and acted upon
- the agency management formally reviews all complaints at least every six months as part of its quality monitoring and improvement procedures to identify the lessons learned.
- Appealing against the complaint outcome decision:
- if the complainant is unhappy with the outcome of the complaint they can request an appeal within 14 days of receiving the outcome letter.
- The appeal will be investigated by the Business Improvement and Compliance Manager who will decide whether the complaint has been investigated fully, and whether the outcome reached was appropriate and fair.
- The Business Improvement and Compliance Manager will respond in writing within 14 days of receiving the appeal.
- Where it is felt appropriate, an external neutral professional may be assigned to investigate the appeal in the place of the Managing Director.
The Registered Manager is responsible for organising and coordinating training on the complaints procedure. All staff receive training in dealing with and responding to verbal and written complaints. The complaints policy and procedures are included in new staff members’ induction training. In house training on handling complaints are conducted at least annually and all relevant staff attend.