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Complaints and Representation


Foster Care Solutions endeavors at all times to promote positive communication and partnership between all those involved in foster care. The organisation therefore hopes that any concerns and representations can be expressed easily, with confidence and in the expectation that they can be responded to quickly and informally.

Our primary aim is to listen to and attempt to resolve problems and difficulties between ourselves in an atmosphere of mutual care and respect.

A complaint may be generally defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction or disquiet about the actions, decisions or apparent failings of the organisation which requires a response”.The following principles guide the Complaints Procedure:

  • Complaints and representations are welcomed as an important part of improving our service and ensuring quality.
  • There is a commitment to making changes to our services where a complaint or representation shows a need for change.
  • We are committed to ensuring that our complaints system is accessible and available to everyone.
  • Establishing what the complaint is, together with the desired outcome at an early stage, can lead to a better resolution for all involved.
  • We are committed to responding to complaints speedily and, wherever possible, to achieving an outcome which is agreeable to the complainant.
  • We aim to achieve the easiest, least stressful way to involve the complainant in the complaints process.
  • We are committed to assisting and supporting children and young people to make a complaint or representation to the organisation and ensuring that they have a clear understanding that they will not be subject to any reprisals for doing so.

Who Can Make a Complaint or Representation

Anyone who has come into contact with our organisation including but not exclusively, children and young people, parents, foster carers, social workers, local authorities, health, staff and independent workers. Where a complaint is received from a representative acting on behalf of a child or young person, the organisation will, if appropriate, confirm where possible that the child or young person is happy and that the complaint submitted reflects their views.

Representations

Representations can be made in writing or verbally by anyone who has an interest in the fostering service. Ideally this should be through a face to face meeting. A written record of the discussion should be completed and sent to the Assistant Director/Registered Manager for consideration and if appropriate forwarded on to the Directors of the organisation. A written response should be sent to the person making the representation as soon as the information has been considered and any appropriate action taken. Should the response not be felt to be satisfactory to them then consideration can be made to evoke the Complaints Procedure.

The Complaints Procedure


Stage 1

The expectation is that the majority of complaints should be considered (and resolved) at Stage 1.

At Stage 1, we will discuss with the complainant their concerns and attempt to address the complaint as quickly as possible and find a way forward. Most Stage 1 complaints should ideally be concluded within ten working days, however this may not always be possible and therefore the aim will be for a conclusion to be reached within a maximum of 20 working days.

If the matter is resolved, the organisation will write confirming the agreed resolution.

Where the matter is not resolved locally, the complainant has the right to request consideration of the complaint at Stage 2. This request should ideally be received by the organisation within 20 working days so that momentum in resolving the complaint is not lost.

Stage 2

Consideration of complaints at Stage 2 is normally achieved through an investigation conducted by an Investigating Officer.

The investigation should be completed and the response sent to the complainant ideally within 25 working days. However, this may be impractical in some cases, e.g. where the complaint involves several agencies, all or some of the matters are the subject of a concurrent investigation (such as a disciplinary process), if the complaint is particularly complicated or if a key witness is unavailable for part of the time.

Where it is not possible to complete the investigation within 25 working days, Stage 2 maybe extended to a maximum of 65 working days. Where a response in 25 working days is not feasible the organisation will inform the complainant as soon as possible in writing of:

  • the reason for the delay;
  • and the date by which a response should be received

After the Investigation Officer has produced their report the organisation will write to the complainant with their response to the report. The response will contain details of the right to have the complaint submitted to a Review Panel should the complainant be dissatisfied with the outcome.

Stage 3 - Review Panel

Review Panels are designed to:

  • listen to all parties;
  • consider the adequacy of the Stage 2 investigation;
  • obtain any further information and advice that may help resolve the complaint to all parties’ satisfaction;
  • focus on achieving resolution for the complainant by addressing clearly the defined complaints and desired outcomes;
  • reach findings on each of the complaints being reviewed;
  • make recommendations that provide practical remedies and creative solutions to complex situations;
  • support local solutions where the opportunity for resolution between the complainant and the organisation exist.
  • to identify any consequent injustice to the complainant where complaints areupheld, and to recommend appropriate redress; and
  • recommend any service improvements for action by the organisation.

The Review Panel will not reinvestigate the complaints, nor will it be able to consider any substantively new complaints that have not been first considered at Stage 2.

Complainants have the right to bring a representative to the panel to speak on their behalf.After the Panel the organisation must endeavour to send its response to the Panel’s recommendations to the complainant (and other participants as necessary) within 15 days of receiving the Panel’s report.

If following Panel, the complainant remains dissatisfied they will be advised of their rights to contact the organisation’s inspection body;

Ofsted

National Business Unit

Piccadilly Gate

Store Street

Manchester

M1 2WD

Tel: 0300 123 1231

enquiries@ofstead.gov.uk

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