At Working Well Trust we aim to provide a quality service. However, if you are unhappy with the service you have received or how you were treated by Working Well staff you have a right to complain. All complaints will be treated with the utmost seriousness and we aim to resolve any problem as quickly as possible. The Working Well Trust’s complaints procedure is applicable to clients, staff, trustees, other organisations or individuals.
In the event of that you are considering making a complaint you should:
- Request that an informal meeting is convened with the appropriate staff member and their line manager within two weeks of your request being received. A request can be made by phone, email or letter. You can choose to bring someone with you to the meeting for support. The purpose of the meeting will be to try to resolve the issues and agree a way forward. A copy of the Informal Stage Resolution Form, which will be used to record the complaint issues and the meeting agreement, if one is reached, can be found at the end of this document.
If you do not agree that the matter has been resolved, you should go to the next step.
- Put the formal complaint in writing to the Trust, by post or email to the Chief Executive, First Floor Office, Pritchard’s Road Centre, London E2 9AX or [email protected]. At this stage the complaint letter/email should just give a general description of the complaint. Please note that you will not be required to submit any evidence to support your complaint at this stage. The letter or email simply registers the complaint so that the investigation can begin. You may wish to contact local advocacy agencies at this stage to support your complaint.
- If the complaint involves the Chief Executive the letter/email can be submitted to any member of staff for acknowledgement. The letter/email must be acknowledged by the Trust within two working days of receipt. The letter/email will normally be forwarded to a designated trustee (normally the Chair of the HR Sub-Committee) who will monitor that the investigation is being conducted fairly.
- Under normal circumstances the complaint will be investigated by the Chief Executive with support from a senior staff member. The Chief Executive will inform the person or service who is the subject of your complaint and share the general description of the complaint so that they can begin to prepare their statement.
- The Chief Executive will contact you to request that you provide a full statement of your complaint including how you would like the complaint resolved, and to provide evidence to support your complaint. Examples of evidence could be emails or text messages, and copies of documents. The statement does not need to be in a set format or using formal language. Your response must be sent to the Chief Executive within 5 working days.
- If you are a client of the Trust and are unable to find advocacy support you can request support from Working Well. We will allocate an experienced staff member who is not associated with the complaint. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to be able to meet all requests for specific members of staff due to workloads, potential internal conflicts and availability at the time of the request. The support will be limited to two hours to help you prepare the written statement setting out the full grounds for your complaint. The staff member will not write the statement for you, but they will help you to set out/structure your reasons and evidence. A limited exception to this will be for clients with literacy issues. The staff member can also attend the hearing if you wish to provide wellbeing support. A further one-hour support will be available to you to review the investigation’s findings. Please note support will also be offered to the person/service which is the subject of the complaint.
- The statement will be reviewed by the Chief Executive who may ask you to clarify statements or to provide additional evidence to support your complaint.
- The statement and any supporting documents will be shared with the person or service that is the subject of the complaint. Their response to the complaint will be sent to you at least 24 hours before the complaint meeting.
- A meeting will be convened within two weeks of the complaint where all parties involved in the complaint will be invited. The meeting will hear the nature of the complaint and the results of the investigation. At this stage it is hoped that a solution can be agreed. Written confirmation of investigation decision and/or proposed solution must be sent to all parties by email within forty-eight hours of the meeting.
- In the event that either you or the staff member disagree with the complaint decision and/or proposed solution both parties will have a right to appeal to a trustee, who will be selected by the Chair of HR Sub Committee or Chair of Trustees, based on experience and availability. The appeal notification must be received within seven working days of the meeting.
- If you have accessed support from a staff member for the original complaint you will be offered an additional one hour of support to help you set out your grounds and evidence for your appeal. Again, the staff member will not write the appeal for you but they will help you set out your appeal grounds. Please note where possible this will be the same staff member who supported the original complaint but unfortunately this may not always be possible due to staff capacity and availability. Where a new staff member is allocated, they will be given access to the complaint including all statements and supporting evidence. Like the complaint statement no set format is required for the appeal statement.
- The full grounds for your appeal (including any evidence) must be sent to the person hearing the appeal within 5 working days of the appeal notification.
- The Appeal Meeting will be convened within two weeks of the appeal notification. Written confirmation of the appeal decision must be sent to the complainant within three working days.
- If the complaint involves the Chief Executive the complaint will be investigated by the Chair of the HR Subcommittee or by a trustee selected by the them or Chair of Trustees.
- The responsibility of the resolution of a complaint will rest with the Chief Executive unless that person is directly involved in which it will rest with the trustees.
- A final appeal can be made to the funding organisation of the project such as the local authority or grant body. The funding organisation will usually have its own complaint procedure. Details of the funding organisation can be obtained from any member of the Head Office team.
Please note that a complaint made under this procedure may also be considered under the Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure if appropriate.
Once the complaint process is completed the Chief Executive will conduct a review. A briefing paper will be written outlining any failings and suggesting improvement to the service. This plan will be shared with staff, the complainant (and advocates) and Chair of the HR Sub-Committee for comment and review before the final version is submitted to the Board of Trustees.
In exceptional cases the complaint may not be heard if it is considered unreasonable. For example, when the person/organisation persists with making complaints when there is no basis, making several complaints about different matters or continuing to raise the same or similar complaints repeatedly. If the Chief Executive or designated trustee (if appropriate) has grounds to believe that the complaint is unreasonable (also called vexatious) a request will be made to the Chair of Trustees to close the complaint. If the Chair agrees with the request the complainant will be informed that no further contact on the complaint will be considered.