Complaints policy

The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a change to put things right for the person(s) 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 on the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association Committee 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 the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association.

Where Complaints Come From

Complaints may come from members, donors or, any person or organisation who has a legitimate interest in the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association.

A complaint can be received by e-mail or verbally.

Confidentiality

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

Responsibility

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association Board of Trustees and the Management Committee.

Review

This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

Adopted on: ………………………………………….

Last Reviewed: ………………………………………

Publicised Contact Details for Complaints

Written complaints may be sent by e-mail to fhlta.org.uk.  See under contacts for committee member e-mail addresses.

Verbal complaints may be made in person to any of the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association committee members.

Receiving Complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have.

Complaints received by e-mail or in person need to be recorded.

The person who receives an e-mail or in person complaint should:

  • Write down the facts of the complaint.
  • Record the complainant’s name, address and telephone number.
  • Note down the relationship of the complainant to the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association (for example: member, donor, or any external organisation.
  • Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure.
  • Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take.
  • If the complaint is made verbally where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account giving them an e-mail address. This will ensure the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.

For further guidelines about handling verbal complaints, see Appendix 1.

To safeguard the FHLTA contact the Commercial Legal Advice Insurers.  Tel: 01179342111 or 01179762030

Resolving Complaints

Stage One:

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 it is appropriate for them to do so.

Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to one of the nominated committee members within two weeks.

On receiving the complaint, the committee member should record it in the complaints log.  If it has not already been resolved, they should then delegate to 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 fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within two weeks.  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 complaints 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.

Stage Two:

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.

The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within two weeks of receiving it.  The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The Chair may 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.

External Stage:

The complainant can complain to the Charity commission at any stage.

Information about the kind of complaints the Commission can involve itself in can be found on their website at: www.charitycommission.gov.uk

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 at 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.

Appendix 1 – Practical Guidance for Handling Verbal Complaints Complaints Policy and Procedure of the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association

  • Remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation.
  • Listen – allow the person to talk about the complaint in their own words.

Sometimes a person just wants to “let off Steam”.

  • Don’t debate the facts in the first instance, especially if the person is angry.
  • Show an interest in what is being said.
  • Obtain details about the complaint before any personal details.
  • Ask for clarification wherever necessary.
  • Show that you have understood the complaint by reflecting back what you have noted down.
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings (even if you feel that they are being unreasonable) – you can do this without making a comment on the complaint itself or making any admission of fault on behalf of the organisation e.g. “I understand that this situation is frustrating for you”.
  • If you feel that an apology is deserved for something that was the responsibility of your organisation, then apologise.
  • Ask the person what they would like done to resolve the issue.
  • Be clear about what you can do, how long it will take and what it will involve.
  • Don’t promise things you can’t deliver.
  • Give clear and valid reasons why requests cannot be met.
  • Make sure that the person understands what they have been told.
  • Wherever appropriate, inform the person about the available avenues of review or appeal.