Activfirst is committed to providing the best possible services to everyone we work with and responding positively and effectively to any issues of concern. We also want to learn from our mistakes so that we continue to improve.

We take all complaints seriously and aim to resolve quickly issues of concern to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Our handling of complaints forms an important part of this approach. Activfirst Complaints Policy and has been developed to ensure that any client or partner has the opportunity to make a complaint about our services, the behaviour of our employees or any other matter. They also ensure we deal with grievance in an objective, consistent and appropriate manner.

Wherever possible, we aim to resolve complaints ‘locally’ and informally, in discussion with the person making the complaint. When the issue is too complex or serious for this approach, or when a complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, it is appropriate for a formal complaint to be made. Complaints should be made as soon as is practicable to ensure that the matter can be appropriately investigated and speedily resolved. Should the response to a complaint not be to the satisfaction of the complainant, she/he has a right to make an appeal to a more senior member of Activfirst.

Complaints Procedure Employee Training

Line Managers should ensure that all employees are aware of the Complaints Policy and Procedure, their role in it and how complaints are to be handled. New employees should be advised of the procedure as part of their induction training.

How Should a Complaint be Made? Informal Complaint

Simple complaints will often be made verbally and informally and can be sorted out by the individual contacted, to the complainant’s satisfaction. There is no benefit instigating a formal procedure when the issue is minor, and the complainant is happy with the resolution offered. Where an informal grievance is not dealt with to the satisfaction of the complainant, a formal complaint should be made.

Formal Complaint

If the complaint is more serious, more complex or cannot be resolved informally, the complainant should be invited to submit a Formal Written Complaint. If a written submission is not possible, a telephoned complaint will be accepted.

The complaint should normally be directed to the relevant Line/Department Manager. However, if a line manager is implicated or if the contract is managed at line manager level, the complaint should be passed to the manager of said person/department. The name and contact details of the line manager and the appropriate head of department should be provided.

Anonymous complaints will not normally be investigated to deter malicious complainants. It is unlikely that a complainant’s identity can remain confidential due to the nature of the work and the requirement to investigate. However, where possible and requested by the complainant, Activfirst will keep their identity confidential.

Handling Formal Complaints

Except as indicated below, line managers should be given details of any formal complaints as soon as it is received. If the complaint is received by a working partner, he/she should pass on the complaint to the line manager responsible for the contract or individual to which the complaint relates. If, however, the complaint is about the line manager, then it should be forwarded to the relevant Head of Department. Particularly serious complaints should also be referred straight away to the Head of Department.

The line manager (or more senior manager, if appropriate) should acknowledge receipt of the complaint, in writing if possible, within 5 working days of the complaint being received in Activfirst, regardless of whether the complaint is made verbally or in writing. By writing a letter Activfirst is showing that it is concerned and treating the matter seriously. At this stage, if possible, the complaint should be kept confidential between the complainant and the Line Manager.

The complaint should initially be investigated by the line manager (or Head of Department, if appropriate) and a resolution sought.

Every effort should be made to resolve the issues raised and notify complainants in writing of the outcome within 15 working days of the complaint being received. Where it is not possible to resolve matters within this timescale, complainants should be kept informed of progress and the likely timescale for resolution.

Where a complainant is not satisfied with the initial response, or where the complaint is of a more serious nature, complainants may be invited to a meeting where they can discuss their concern in more detail. Cases which reach this stage should also be referred to the responsible Head of Department for advice. Within 15 working days of any meeting, a written response should be sent detailing what actions Activfirst will be taking.

Copies of all correspondence sent and received regarding a complaint should be copied to the responsible Head of Department when they are sent/received whether or not he/she is involved in investigating the complaint. Such communication should not be delayed until a resolution or impasse is reached.

Appealing Against a Formal Decision

If a complainant is not satisfied with the response after attending a meeting, he/she may appeal and request that the matter be referred to the responsible Head of Department. The Head of Department will decide whether a further investigation is appropriate and inform the complainant of any such decision. If no further investigation is to take place, the reasons for this will be explained.

The Head of Department will aim to complete such further investigation and provide a response to the complainant within 15 working days of the appeal. If the complainant is still not satisfied with the response, he/she may appeal in writing to the company director within 10 working days of receiving the response. The company director will review all the evidence and may invite the complainant to attend a meeting where their appeal can be fully heard. He/she will aim to respond within 15 working days, explaining what, if any, actions will be taken.

Monitoring Grievances

Line managers will report regularly to the responsible Head of Department/company director on the number and nature of complaint, their status and outcomes; and actions taken. The report should not breach confidentiality but should demonstrate both that complaints are being properly acted upon and that any negative trends are being addressed.

SUMMARY OF RESPONSIBILITIES

All Employees • Receive complaints, treat them seriously and, where appropriate, pass them to their line manager (or Head of Department/Director) for investigation
Line Managers
  • Ensure that all Employees are made aware of the Complaints Policy and Procedure, including thorough induction of new employees
  • Ensure that clients are aware of the policy and procedure by including a summary in proposals and tenders
  • Receive and respond to complaints, forwarding those which relate to the line manager and more serious issues to the responsible Head of Department
  • Initiate investigations into complaints and maintain contact with the complainant
  • Take action to resolve complaints
  • Refer appeals to the responsible Head of Department
  • Report to the Head of Department on complaints and actions taken
Head of Department
  • Ensure complaints are properly managed and that follow up action is taken
  • Receive and manage more serious grievances, including those in which a line manager is implicated
  • Handle appeals against responses made to grievances
  • Monitor levels of grievances being received by projects and individuals and report to the company director