Complaints policy

Absolute Specialist Wellbeing (ASW) Complaints Policy and Procedure

Version number 02

Creation date April 2019

Created by Clare Walters

Date of last review 30.9.23

Reviewed by Anne Dowle

Date of next review Sept 2025


1 Our Aim

ASW is committed to providing a quality service and working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our clients and stakeholders, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.

Therefore we aim to ensure that:

  • making a compliment or complaint is as easy as possible
  • we welcome compliments, feedback and suggestions
  • we treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response
  • we deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially
  • we respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken etc.
  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures
  • We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly.

Our aims are to:

  • resolve informal concerns quickly
  • keep matters low-key
  • enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred
  • This policy ensures that we welcome compliments and provide guidelines for dealing with complaints from members of the public about our services, facilities, colleagues and volunteers.


2. Definitions

  • A compliment is an expression of satisfaction about the standard of service we provide.
  • A complaint is defined as any expression of dissatisfaction, however, it is expressed. This would include complaints expressed face to face, via a phone call, in writing, via email or
  • any other method. All staff should have sufficient knowledge to be able to identify an “expression of dissatisfaction” even when the word “complain” or “complaint” is not used.


3. Purpose

We are always glad to hear from people who are satisfied with the services we offer.  All compliments are recorded, acknowledged, and a copy is sent to the relevant service manager to provide feedback to the member of staff or service.


4. Complaints

The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.


5. Responsibilities

  • ASW responsibility will be to:
  • acknowledge the formal complaint in writing;
  • respond within a stated period of time;
  • deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint; and
  • take action where appropriate.
  • A complainant’s responsibility is to:
  • bring their complaint, in writing, to ASW’s attention normally within 8 weeks of the issue arising;
  • raise concerns promptly and directly with an ASW colleague;
  • explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date;
  • allow ASW a reasonable time to deal with the matter, and
  • recognise that some circumstances may be beyond ASW’s control.


6. Confidentiality:

Except in exceptional circumstances/legal requirements, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and ASW maintain confidentiality. However the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (with each complaint judged on its own facts). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.


7. Complaints Procedure:

Written records must be made by ASW at each stage of the procedure.


Stage 1

  • In the first instance, ASW colleague must establish the seriousness of the complaint. An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved. But if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.


Stage 2

  • If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the member of the public should be advised that a formal complaint may be made and the following procedure should be explained to them. It may sometimes be appropriate for a different colleague, preferably a member of the Management Team, to make this explanation.
  • A formal complaint can be made either verbally or in writing. If in writing the attached form can be used. If verbally, a statement should be taken by a member of the Management Team, colleague or a supervisor.
  • In all cases, the complaint must be passed on to the complaints officer. In the event of a complaint about the complaints officer the complaint should be passed to an ASW Board Member, and if the complaint is about the ASW Board Member this must be passed on to the ASW chair.
  • The complaints officer or other  ASW Board Member, depending on the nature of the complaint, must acknowledge the complaint in writing within one week of receiving it.
  • One of the above will investigate the complaint. Any conclusions reached should be discussed with the colleague involved and their Lead/Supervisor.
  • The person making the complaint will receive a response based on the investigation within four weeks of the complaint being received. If this is not possible then a letter must be sent explaining why.


Stage 3

  • If the complainant is not satisfied with the above decision then
  • The sub-group will examine the complaint and may wish to carry out further interviews, examine files / notes. They will respond within four weeks in writing.
  • Their decision will be final.

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