Complaints Procedure

New Family Social always endeavours to provide a sympathetic, courteous and professional service to its membership and service users. While we hope that our services will not give rise to any complaints, we will respond fairly, positively and promptly to complaints from the membership and service users when they feel we have not met their expectations or needs. Furthermore, we are always pleased to hear your views on our services, so that steps can be taken to review and improve our services, as necessary. These views may be positive, as well as negative, and will be welcomed as constructive feedback on our work.

All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence.

How to make a complaint
New Family Social has two complaints procedures: an informal one (to the Director) and a formal one (to the Trustees).

In the first instance, you should make a complaint to the Director. If your complaint relates to the Director, it should be made directly to the Chair of the Board of Trustees, whose contact details can be found here.

Informal complaints procedure 
1. Please direct your complaint to the Director, whose contact details can be found here. The Director will attempt to resolve the complaint by e-mail, or will call you if requested or if he/she feels this would be helpful. The Director’s response will address the following:

  • An explanation of the circumstances surrounding the event which is the subject of the complaint
  • The reasons for any unsatisfactory service and, if appropriate, a formal apology
  • What course of action will be taken to remedy any unsatisfactory service
  • What you can do next if you are not satisfied with the response.

The above information will be confirmed by e-mail within seven days of the Director informing you of the response to your complaint.

2. If the Director is absent from the office for any reason, eg, annual leave or sick leave, and unable either to acknowledge, or respond to, the complaint, the matter will be dealt with by the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

3. If you feel that the informal complaints procedure has not addressed your complaint satisfactorily, then please use the formal complaints procedure below. You can, of course, decide to use the formal complaints procedure at any point during the informal procedure.

Formal complaints procedure
1. If you have already used the informal complaints procedure, but are not satisfied with the response, please let the Director know. The Director will then forward all the correspondence to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. The Director will acknowledge that this has been done within five working days and the Chair of the Board of Trustees will respond within 20 working days.

2. If the Chair of the Board of Trustees is unable either to acknowledge, or respond to, the complaint, the matter may be dealt with by another Trustee.

3. The Chair’s response will address only the reasons why you were dissatisfied with the Director’s response. The Chair will not re-investigate the issues surrounding the complaint, unless there are clear points of disagreement or dispute. It is important that you highlight any such points.

4. If you are dissatisfied with the Chair’s response, please state this in writing to the Director, who will forward all the correspondence to the Chair of the Board of Trustees and acknowledge that this has been done within five working days. The Chair will appoint an independent adjudicator to investigate your complaint within 28 days of receipt of your correspondence, and confirm that has been done. The identity of the independent adjudicator will depend upon the nature of the complaint. The appointed adjudicator will have the necessary knowledge, experience, skills and expertise to investigate satisfactorily your complaint.

5. Within a further 28 days, the independent adjudicator will research and investigate all the issues raised in your correspondence (and any earlier correspondence), including the manner in which your complaint has been handled. It may be necessary for the independent adjudicator to contact you during this time to clarify any information in your correspondence. The independent adjudicator will prepare and present a report to both you and the Board of Trustees. The report will address the following:

  • An explanation of the circumstances surrounding the event which is the subject of the complaint
  • The reasons for any unsatisfactory service and, if appropriate, whether a formal apology should be made
  • What course of action should be taken to remedy any unsatisfactory service
  • Conclusions on how your complaint has been handled

6. The Board of Trustees will act upon the independent adjudicator’s findings, including making any necessary formal apology and implementing the recommended course of action to remedy the unsatisfactory service. It will also take into account any findings on how the complaint has been handled and ensure these are addressed in any future complaints handling. The Chair of the Board of Trustees will confirm all this in writing, within seven days of receipt of the independent adjudicator’s report.

7. The independent adjudicator’s response will be final and no further correspondence will be entered into.

8. You may stop the procedure at any point during any of the above stages. If you choose to do so, however, you must confirm this in writing.

Finding help to make a complaint
You may wish to ask a friend, relative or supporter to help you with your complaint. New Family Social will do all that it can to facilitate this and will be happy to deal with that supporter. However, all information and responses involved with the complaints procedure will be sent directly to you, unless you expressly instruct us otherwise.

Monitoring complaints
We will keep a record of the number and type of complaints received in order to improve our services and provide relevant training to staff, as appropriate. Statistics concerning these will be regularly reviewed by the Director and brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. Complaints received in relation to staff conduct or behaviour will be brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees (for the purposes of review) within three months of the complaint being received.