Complaints Policy

Policy Statement 

HAO is committed to providing high quality services. We actively welcome feedback about the way we operate, both positive and negative. We view complaints as an opportunity to improve the way that we work. If we receive a complaint, we undertake to investigate it thoroughly and in a fair and timely manner. We will take all possible steps to ensure the complainant’s satisfaction so that they have no reason to complain on this matter again.

  1. General Principles
  1. Scope

The purpose of this policy and procedural guidelines is to provide guidance on the handling of complaints in HAO. It applies to any complaints made by any stakeholder of HAO. 

  1. Responsibility 

The board of trustees are responsible for ensuring that the policy and procedures in this document are implemented efficiently and effectively. All trustees (and volunteers) are also expected to comply with this policy and procedures.

  1. Measures

These procedures outline the measures that will be taken to ensure that this policy is fully implemented.

  1. Evaluation and Review

This document will be reviewed by the board of trustees, in full consultation with all stakeholders, on a regular basis. Complaints received and HAO’s responses will be monitored.

  1. Approach to the handling of complaints

HAO commits to the following approach for dealing with complaints:

  • All complaints are taken seriously.
  • All complaints are treated equally (with the exception of abusive, anonymous or vexatious complaints).
  • All complaints are treated with an open mind.
  • All complaints are treated sensitively; confidence will be maintained as far as possible.
  • No anger or irritation will be displayed if complaints are lodged.
  • No blame will be apportioned or excuses made until the full circumstances of the complaint have been assessed. 
  • An early resolution will be sought to all complaints.
  • Complainants will receive an apology if warranted.
  • Complainants and other relevant parties will receive an explanation of the outcome of decisions/ actions.
  • Any documentation relating to complaints is filed securely.

Abusive or anonymous complaints will not be responded to. Vexatious complaints, that is those by ‘serial complainers’ that will take up a disproportionate amount of HAO’s time and resources, will be dealt with through usual procedures until such time that the board makes a decision to restrict communication with the individual/ organisation concerned.

3. Procedure for dealing with complaints

  1. Informal Procedure

In the first instance, every effort should be made to resolve complaints as speedily and informally as possible – directly with the individual(s) concerned. If an immediate resolution to the issue cannot be found, the trustees have a responsibility to make the complainant aware of the formal complaints procedure.

  1. Formal Procedure – Stage 1

A formal complaint must be made in writing to Raymond Watson: 

All complaints will be investigated and a solution sought as soon as possible. The complainant will be notified of the outcome, in writing, and made aware of stage 2 of the procedure.

  1. Formal Procedure – Stage 2

If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome and/ or the matter is still unresolved, the board of trustees will deal with the complaint. Further investigations will be made and a solution sought as soon as possible. The complainant will be notified of the outcome, in writing. The board’s decision on complaints is final.