Complaints Procedure

Stage 1

The complaint is received on the complaints form.  The OCWA Manager will contact the person as soon as possible and in any case within 5 working days to arrange to discuss the problem either over the phone or in person.  The OCWA Manager will make a record of the conversation in the complainants file.

If this conversation does not lead to a resolution of the difficulty, or where it is not possible for the complainant to phone or visit the project in person, then refer to stage 2 below.

Stage 2

The complainant should be asked to put their complaint in writing to the Manager, marked Private and Confidential, providing as much detail of the complaint as possible.

If the complainant is not able to put their complaint in writing the complainant will be offered an interview with the Manager or her/his nominee.  The role of the Manager or nominee at this meeting will be confined to putting the complaints in writing, obtain the complainants approval for the contents of this, and ask the complainant to sign to indicate they agree with the contents. 
The complainant may choose to work with a third party at this stage and throughout the process.
The Manager will then investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it.

The Manager may delegate any aspect of the investigation to a nominee.

If the complaint involves a member(s) of staff the Manager should offer the opportunity for the member of staff to put forward their account, either by written statement or by presentation to the Panel.

The Manager will ensure that all complainants receive a response in writing within 10 working days of the letter/complaint notes being received.  This letter will summarise what investigation have been carried out and what action, if any, is proposed to resolve the matter.  A copy of this letter should be attached to the complaints form.

If a response by letter is unsuitable, the complainant will be offered an interview with the Manager to provide the response verbally.  This meeting should be held within 10 working days as before.  A written record of this interview will be kept and signed by the complainant.

If the complainant is not satisfied at this stage they should ask for the matter to be dealt with under Stage 3 of the complaints procedure.

Stage 3

Where the matter is not resolved by stage 2, the Manager should immediately refer the complaint to the Management Committee Complaints Panel, sending copies of all written correspondence to Panel members.

The complaints panel will consist of the Chair of the Management Committee and the designated Complaints Officer and one other Management Committee member. The Complaints Officer will be responsible for convening the Panel.  If the Chair was involved in stage 1 and 2, then a second member of the Management Committee is included.

The complainant will be informed immediately by the Complaints Officer, or Chair that this is being done and the Panel will also be contacting the staff member(s) against whom the complaint is made.

The Panel will review the decision made at stage 2 and may seek further clarification from any of the parties involved.

The Complaints Panel will notify the complainant of its reasons and decision within
15 working days of having received notice of the complaint.  The panel’s decision will be final.  The Complaints Officer responsible for ensuing records of the meeting are kept and the complaints monitoring form is completed.

The Complaints Officer will be responsible for reporting the Panel’s findings to the next meeting of the Management Committee.

Recording and Monitoring Complaints

All complaints will be recorded and kept on file, including those which were resolved without being put in writing.  All complaints shall be treated with regard to the confidentiality policy.