Womankind supports hundreds of women each year and aims to provide the best possible service for everyone.  Sometimes someone can feel unhappy or dissatisfied with the service and that is why we have a complaints procedure.  Sometimes we can put things right; sometimes we can only explain ourselves and apologise.  However, what you tell us helps us to look at how we do things and helps us to improve the service.

I am dissatisfied, what do I do?

Informal complaints

Misunderstandings and problems can often be resolved on an informal basis.  If you feel able we would firstly ask you to contact the staff member or volunteer involved to see if you can resolve the matter between yourselves. If you cannot or do not feel able to do this then you should contact the Clinical Manager if the matter concerns counselling and group therapy services, or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) if the matter concerns the Clinical Manager, befriending or helpline/webchat services. You can advise them of what has happened and how you feel that things could have been done better.

The Clinical Manager or CEO will speak to the member of staff or volunteer involved and come back to you with a response, at which point we hope the matter will have been satisfactorily resolved.

Formal complaints

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the informal complaints process, or if you wish to go straight to a more formal complaints process you should contact Womankind directly by letter, email or phone at;

Womankind, Bristol Women’s Therapy Centre

3rd Floor Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8PE

Telephone: 0345 4582914 or 0117 9166461

Email: info@womankindbristol.org.uk

You will be given a complaints form which we ask you to complete and a copy of the formal complaints procedure (available in full below) to help you through the process. If you need assistance in filling in the form, you could ask a friend or relative, or a designated Womankind worker can meet with you to complete it with you.

What does Womankind do with complaints?

Womankind welcomes complaints as it helps us to reflect on how we work and to make improvements. Womankind aims to deal with any complaints and concerns as fairly and as promptly as possible.  Your concerns will be taken seriously and will be treated as confidential. Complaints may also lead to a change in policy, practice or staff training and development.

The formal complaints procedure describes in detail the steps Womankind will take in response to your complaint.

Timescales

Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of an incident or the matter coming to your attention. This timescale can be extended if there are good reasons for not making a complaint sooner and it is still possible to conduct a fair investigation. A decision whether to investigate a complaint after 12 months of you receiving a service will be made by the CEO of Womankind or the Womankind Management Committee if the complaint concerns the CEO.

Womankind Complaints Procedure

Your right to complain

Womankind aims to provide high quality services and is committed to maintaining the highest standards in all its work to ensure the safety and well-being of clients, volunteers and staff.

The purpose of this procedure is to help resolve complaints, which we will deal with as fairly and as quickly as possible.

Complaints help us to look at how we do things and help us to improve the service.

Making an informal complaint

Misunderstandings and problems can often be resolved on an informal basis.

If you feel able to do so we would firstly ask you to contact the staff member involved to see if you can resolve the matter between yourselves.

If you cannot or do not feel able to do this then you should contact the Clinical Manager if the matter concerns counselling or group therapy services or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) if the matter concerns the Clinical Manager, befriending or helpline/webchat services. You can advise them of what has happened and how you feel that things could have been done better.

The Clinical Manager or CEO will speak to the member of staff involved and come back to you with a response within 2 weeks, at which point we hope the matter will have been satisfactorily resolved.

Making a formal complaint

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the informal complaints process, or if you wish to go straight to a more formal complaints process you should contact Womankind within 12 months, directly by letter, email or phone:

Womankind, Bristol Women’s Therapy Centre

3rd Floor Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8PE

Telephone: 0345 4582914 or 0117 9166461

Email: info@womankindbristol.org.uk

You will be given a copy of this complaints procedure and a complaints form which we ask you to complete. If you need assistance with filling in the form, you could ask a friend or relative, or a designated Womankind worker can meet with you to go through it with you.

The completed complaints form will be given to the CEO of Womankind who will decide whether to further investigate and if so, will appoint an investigating officer which will either be the Clinical Manager or the CEO of Womankind. In the event of the complaint being about the CEO of Womankind, the Chair of the Board of Trustees will appoint a Trustee to investigate the complaint. The investigating officer will speak to any staff or volunteers involved in the complaint and anyone else who may have useful insight into what has happened.

The investigating officer may also wish to talk through the complaint with you either in person or on the telephone, in order to find out more information. If you meet in person you are very welcome to bring along a friend or relative to support you.

The investigating officer will report their findings to two independent members of the Board of Trustees, who will act as the Adjudicating Panel, within 2 working weeks.

The Adjudicating Panel will review the information provided by you in your complaints form and the report by the investigating officer. The Adjudicating Panel will make a decision on next steps.

The Adjudicating Panel will notify you of the outcome of the formal complaints process within 2 working weeks of the end of the investigation process.

Appeals Process

If you are unhappy about the outcome of the formal complaints process you can write to the Chair of the Management Committee outlining why you are unhappy and what you would like to happen next.

The Chair of the Management Committee will convene an Appeals Panel of three members of the Management Committee who have not been involved in the process so far. They will review your letter of appeal, the investigation report and the notes and findings of the Adjudication Panel.

The Appeals Panel will make a decision on whether to uphold your appeal or support the findings of the Adjudication Panel. They will notify you of their decision within 3 weeks of receipt of the appeal.

The decision of the Appeals Panel shall be final.

What happens after a complaint?

Where a complaint is upheld Womankind, reparation may take the form of an apology, written or verbal, from Womankind’s representative and/or the member of staff concerned.

Where a member of staff or volunteer is found to have behaved improperly, the Management Committee reserves the right to invoke the disciplinary procedure.  This will be an internal, confidential process which will be separate to this procedure.

All upheld complaints will be discussed at the full Womankind Management Committee and a plan of action will be agreed which may include changes to policy and practice, or staff training and development.