Safe Harbour Inverclyde: Complaints Procedure
Introduction and Aims
Safe Harbour Inverclyde views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that has made the complaint.
Our policy is:
To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint.
To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint.
To make sure everyone at Safe Harbour knows what to do if a complaint is received.
To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way.
To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired.
To gather information which helps us to improve what we do.
Definition of a Complaint
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of Safe Harbour Inverclyde.
Where Complaints Come From
Complaints may come from any person or organisation who has a legitimate interest in Safe Harbour, such as clients, partners, donors and members of the local community.
A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Board of Directors.
Complaints Procedure of Safe Harbour
Written complaints may be sent to Safe Harbour Inverclyde at:
2A Newton Street
or by e-mail at
Verbal complaints may be made by phone to 01475 892 197 or in person to any of Safe Harbour’s staff, volunteers or Board of Directors at 2A Newton Street, Greenock, Inverclyde, PA16 8UH.
Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded.
The person who receives a phone or in person complaint should:
Write down the facts of the complaint.
Take the complainant's name, address and telephone number.
Note down the relationship of the complainant to Safe Harbour (for example: client, member, partnership organisation).
Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure and ask them if they would like a copy of the complaints procedure.
Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take.
If appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.
Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information (notes of the original complaint and a note of the action / resolution taken) should be passed to the Chief Executive Officer within one week.
On receiving the complaint, the Chief Executive Officer records it in the complaints log.
If it has not already been resolved, the Chief Executive Officer will delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.
Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within one week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
If the complaint concerns the Chief Executive Officer, the complaint should be passed directly to the Board of Directors to avoid a conflict of interest. The Board of Directors have access to an advisory board of experts in the legal, business and medical fields.
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Chair of the Board.
The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within one week of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.
The Chair of the Board will investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond.
The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.
Variation of the Complaints Procedure
The Board may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Chair should not also have the Chair as the person leading a Stage Two review.
Monitoring and Learning from Complaints
Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.
This policy will be monitored annually by the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors.