Complaints Policy

Who can complain?

A person who has used the services of Kerith Counselling Service Ltd. (KCS) has the right to complain about their own experience. They might want to complain, for example, about delays, the quality of service or a refusal to provide a service.  A complaint can be made by a person on behalf of the service user, who is known as a representative, if the service user:

What is the time limit for complaining?

Normally any complaint needs to be made within 12 months of the matters that are the subject of the complaint. This time limit does not apply if it can be shown that there were good reasons for not making the complaint earlier and it is still possible to investigate the complaint properly.

 

How does the complaints system work?

In many cases a problem can be dealt with quickly by speaking directly to the person involved in providing the service, without the need to make a formal complaint. However, if the matter cannot be dealt with in this way then it will need to be investigated as a complaint.

Under the complaints procedure, we will make arrangements for dealing with complaints to ensure that:

  • Complaints are dealt with efficiently
  • Complaints are properly investigated
  • Complainants are treated with respect and courtesy
  • Complainants receive, as far as possible, assistance to help them understand the procedure and advice on where to get such assistance
  • Complainants receive a timely and appropriate response
  • Complainants are told the outcome of the investigation of their complaint and
  • Action is taken if necessary.

 

The Chairman of the Management Team is responsible for ensuring the complaints procedure is followed.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to the way complaints procedures are organised. If somebody has a disability which makes it very difficult for that person to use the complaints procedure, then KCS has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to the procedures to assist that person access the complaints service. A reasonable adjustment might be providing complaints information in larger font or identifying an advocate to support a complainant who has a mental health condition (See Disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010).

How do you make a complaint?

A complaint can be made verbally, in writing or electronically. Where the complaint is made verbally, KCS will make a written record of the complaint and provide a copy to the complainant. A form can be downloaded from the website by right-clicking on it and saving onto hard drive. Click here for the Complaints Form <<Complaints Form>>

 

What happens after the complaint is received?

A complaint has to be acknowledged within 7 working days of receipt. KCS must offer to discuss with the complainant how the complaint is to be handled, and how long it will take to complete an investigation and provide a response. If the complainant does not wish to discuss this, KCS still has an obligation to reach a decision

KCS will investigate the complaint as quickly and efficiently as possible and keep the complainant informed of progress. As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the investigation, KCS will send the complainant a written response. This must include an explanation of how the complaint has been considered and the conclusions reached. KCS will also confirm that it is satisfied that action needed has been taken or will be taken. It must tell the complainant of their right to take the complaint to the Counselling professional Regulating Body BACP or COSCA and/or the Local Government Ombudsman if they are not satisfied with the outcome.

If KCS fails to send the complainant the response within 6 months of the date the complaint was made, it must explain why and send a response as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.

Second stage Referral to Counselling Professional Body

This may be BACP (British Assoc. Of Counselling & Psychotherapy) or COSCA (Body for Scotland) Refer to the complaints procedure on the appropriate websites. 

Referral to the Ombudsman

If your complaint is not resolved through local resolution you can refer the matter to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) or seek a judicial review.

Generally you have to send your complaint to the Ombudsman within a year from when what you are complaining about happened from when you found out about it. If there are special circumstances, the Ombudsman may be able to extend the time limit. For more information about using the Ombudsman, see How to use an ombudsman in Scotland