Complaints Proceedure

1. Our Aim

 

Veterans Legal Link is committed to providing a quality service and working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our clients and stakeholders, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.

Therefore we aim to ensure that:

  • making a compliment or complaint is as easy as possible

  • we welcome compliments, feedback and suggestions

  • we treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response

  • we deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially

  • we respond in the right way - for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken etc.

  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures

 

We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly.

 

Our aims are to:

  • resolve informal concerns quickly

  • keep matters low-key

  • enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred

 

This policy ensures that we welcome compliments and provide guidelines for dealing with complaints from members of the public about our services, facilities, staff and volunteers.

2. Definitions

A compliment is an expression of satisfaction about the standard of service we provide.

                                                   

A complaint is defined as any expression of dissatisfaction, however, it is expressed. This would include complaints expressed face to face, via a phone call, in writing, via email or any other method. All staff should have sufficient knowledge to be able to identify an “expression of dissatisfaction” even when the word “complain” or “complaint” is not used.

3. Purpose

We are always glad to hear from people who are satisfied with the services we offer.  All compliments are recorded, acknowledged, and a copy is sent to the relevant service manager to provide feedback to the member of staff or service.

4. Complaints

The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant's satisfaction.

5. Responsibilities

 Veterans Legal Link responsibility will be to:

  • acknowledge the formal complaint;

  • respond within 12 working days where contact details have been provided;

  • deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint; and

  • take action where appropriate.

 

A complainant's responsibility is to:

  • bring their complaint, in writing, to Veteran Legal Link’s  attention normally within 4 weeks of the issue arising;

  • raise concerns promptly and directly with a member of staff that you are dealing with;

  • explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date;

  • allow Veterans Legal Link a reasonable time to deal with the matter, and

  • recognise that some circumstances may be beyond the control of Veterans Legal Link.

 

 

6. Confidentiality

Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and Veterans Legal Link maintain confidentiality. However the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (with each complaint judged on its own facts). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.

 

We do not accept responsibility for details passed onto us by third parties which has taken place without your consent. If we hold your details when we should not, we will destroy any data accidentally held by us immediately on your request.

Please see our statement on confidentiality for further details

7. Complaints Procedure:

 

Written records must be made by Veterans Legal Link at each stage of the procedure.

 

Stage 1

In the first instance, staff member(s) must establish the seriousness of the complaint. An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved. But if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.

 

Stage 2

If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the member of the public should be advised that a formal complaint may be made and the following procedure should be explained to them. It may sometimes be appropriate for a different member of staff, preferably a member of the Management Team, to make this explanation.

  1. A formal complaint must be made in writing using our online mechanism to our Coordinator. If you are unable to use this form, please email your concerns stating that you wish to make a complaint to: info@veteranslegallinkuk.org

  2. In all cases, the complaint must be passed on to the project manager. In the event of a complaint about the project manager the complaint should be passed an individual seated on the Steering Committee (who must not be the receiver of the complaint).

  3. Veterans Legal Link will acknowledge receipt of your complaint via email within 7 working days.

  4. One of the above will investigate the complaint. Any conclusions reached should be discussed with the staff member involved and the project manager.

  5. The person making the complaint will receive a response based on the investigation within four weeks of the complaint being received. If this is not possible then an email must be sent explaining why.

 

Stage 3

  1. If the complainant is not satisfied with the above decision, then the complaint will be passed on to a further Committee member. If the second committee member is in agreement with the decision, then no further action will be taken and a written explanation will be provided via email within 30 days.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.