The policies and procedures adopted by Crosscare are to ensure best practice and to minimise as far as possible causes for complaint. These include particular attention to Recruitment, Induction, Supervision and Training. All staff members have a responsibility to be vigilant and to report any concerns they may have about colleagues to their line manager. All staff have a duty of care to clients and a moral/social duty to make such a complaint ‘in good faith’ when necessary. Provided such complaints are not malicious they are covered by the defense of qualified privilege and staff will be protected from the risk of reprisals or intimidation.
Anonymous complaints cannot lead to a formal investigation as they may be vexatious, but Crosscare will need to ensure that the welfare of clients and service users is not at risk.
Allegations of physical and sexual abuse are dealt with in accordance with the National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (see also Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy).
A Complaints Form should be completed for all complaints received.
When the complaint is about an individual staff member, the person who receives the complaint should not discuss the complaint with any staff member other than their line manager. If the complaint is about their line manager, it should be brought to a Senior Staff Member who may consult with the Director of Crosscare.
The line manager should establish the facts pertinent to the complaint at the outset and what it is that the person who is making the complaint wants (e.g. apology, mediation, clarification, information, conciliation, a change of staffing).
Every effort should be made to resolve the complaint at the earliest possible stage.
The person against whom the complaint is made, will be invited to participate as appropriate. A colleague or union representative may accompany the staff member at any meeting and written records should be kept. An internal investigation can proceed without the co-operation of the staff member against whom the complaint is made.
Where it is not possible for the line manager to resolve the complaint informally to the complainant’s satisfaction, he/she is invited to make a formal written complaint within one month. This should be addressed to the line manager or the HR Director. If the complainant does not make a formal complaint in writing within this time frame, it will be assumed that there is no complaint and there will be no formal disciplinary procedure. If there are any outstanding issues, these will be addressed at service level. To protect the staff member’s reputation this process is confidential and records are kept.
In making a formal complaint the boundaries of confidentiality change and the complainant should be advised of this. There is no guarantee of anonymity for the complainant, but appropriate steps will be taken to minimize breaches of confidentiality. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance and only essential information should be divulged. Names or identifying details of either the complainant or the staff member should not be used unnecessarily. In this way confidentiality is maintained as far as is practicable.
Rights of staff member
oThe right to natural justice of the staff member against whom the complaint is made and the complainant must be respected throughout the investigation.
oWhen a formal complaint is made the staff member should have full information about the complaint being made against them, including all written documentation, as soon as possible. The staff member is afforded the opportunity to make a written response within a month of receiving details of the complaint.
oThe staff member has the right to representation, for example by their union, or by a legal or independent person, at any meeting they are required to attend and they should be informed ofWritten records of all meetings will be kept.
oThe line manager in consultation with the HR Director will decide whether the staff member remains at work or, in exceptional circumstances, is required to remain off work with fullThe staff member’s views will be considered, but the line manager will make the final decision. This is a cautionary procedure, not disciplinary, and is without prejudice to the staff member.
oThe staff member must not have any contact with the complainant.
oThe staff member should have access to the line manager to be appraised of progress throughout the complaints process.
oA person within the organisation should be designated to provide support to the staff member about whom the complaint is beingCounselling external to the organisation should be discussed with the line manager.
oStaff members are obliged to co-operate with any investigation and will be supported throughout the process.
oStaff members are required to respect the privacy of the parties involved and refrain from discussing the matter.
oThe line manager will be supported by the HR Director or by someone designated by the HR Director.
oThe HR Director will determine if the line manager should conduct the investigation themselves or appoint someone either internal or external to the organization depending on the circumstances.
oThe Investigator shall be responsible for setting an agreed time, date and place for the hearing and notifying all parties to the allegation.
oThe staff member against whom the complaint is made will be advised of their right to representation and given copies of all relevant documents before the proceedings.
oBoth the staff member against whom the complaint is made and the complainant shall be given a full and fair opportunity to be heard, to call witnesses and to cross examine any other witnesses who testify before the panel.
oThe Investigator shall form a judgment only after all the facts disclosed have beenThey will convey their findings to the line manager and HR Director, the staff member and the complainant. The HR Director will notify the Director of Crosscare of the outcome.
oWhen the complaint is not upheld, the staff member is exonerated. The lineshall facilitate and support the staff member’s return to work and ensure that the reputation and career prospects of the staff member concerned are not adversely affected by reason of the complaint having been made. External counselling will be offered to the staff member if not already in place.
oWhen the complaint is upheld, Crosscare’s disciplinary procedures are enacted. Crosscare’s disciplinary procedures are available in Crosscare’s Staf