Compliments & Complaints Policy
This policy applies to the following colleagues within the Seetec Group: –
- Interventions Alliance (trading division)
- Seetec Training (trading division)
- Employability UK
- Pluss Organisation CIC
This policy does not apply to Seetec Employability & Skills Ireland and Corporate Services.
2.0 Policy Aims
2.1 Policy Statement
2.1.1 This policy is designed to ensure that Seetec Group has a consistent approach to compliments and complaints handling that is in line with best practice and wider Government policy.
2.1.2 This policy is designed to achieve high standards in our work and greater public accountability.
2.1.3 This policy complies with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, the Immigration Act 2016, and the Data Protection Act 2018.
2.1.4 For the purposes of this Policy, anyone accessing the services provided by Seetec Group will be referred to as service users. Compliments and complaints relating to the delivery of services may be made by service users and any person affected by the delivery of our services. Eligibility of complaints is detailed in section 2.3.
2.2.1 Definition: The Seetec Group defines a compliment as “any expression of thanks or positive feedback that relates to the Seetec Group and its service.”
2.2.2 Compliments will be recorded centrally and reviewed regularly to share best practice and improve service delivery.
2.2.3 Each relevant business area, contract, team, and individual colleague will be informed of compliments received.
2.2.4 Compliments can be made by email to following business area mailboxes.
Alternative methods of submitting compliments are available on our websites.
2.3.1 To be eligible for consideration, complaints must arise from actions or decisions, or failures to act or decide, with respect to the delivery of services on the part of colleagues.
2.3.2 Anyone making a complaint must do so within one year of the actions or decisions, or failures to act or decide, or, if later, within one year of the time at which the complainant could reasonably have been expected to know of the matter.
2.3.3 Where a complaint is made on behalf of another person, that person’s written permission is needed before the complaint can be investigated.
2.3.4 Where a complaint is not from a service user, but it would be necessary to disclose information relating to a service user, we would seek the service user’s permission. If consent is not given, we may be unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion to the complaint.
2.3.5 Complaints in respect of someone who has died may be made by a member of the person’s immediate family or a nominated person/advocate. This would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
2.3.6 Support is available to anyone accessing the complaints process, including, but not limited to providing information and correspondence in alternative languages and scribing support for those that need it. Additional support during the process can be requested and agreed on a case-by-case basis, for example an advocate. This would not be in a legal capacity.
2.3.7 Complaints can be made by email to following business area mailboxes.
Interventions Alliance IAComplaints@interventionsalliance.com
Employability (UK) QualityandCompliance@seetecpluss.co.uk
Seetec Training TrainingComplaints@seetec.co.uk
Alternative methods of submitting complaints are available on our websites.
2.4 Exclusions to this policy
2.4.1 Complaints will not be eligible for investigation under the complaint’s procedure if:
- The colleague works for the Seetec Ireland business area or Corporate Services.
- The subject matter is under criminal investigation.
- Subject to the decision of a Court, statutory tribunal, the Parole Board, the Crown Prosecution Service, or the Criminal Cases Review Commission or if it has been determined by any of these.
- Matters for which there is a right of appeal to an independent tribunal, for example, the Parole Board.
- All complaints raised by colleagues, which are covered by HR policies.
- Any issue that is subject to any form of legal action by or against us.
- Complaints about a Commissioner’s Policy or Programme.
- Anonymous Complaints.
2.4.2 If a complaint is not eligible for investigation, the complainant will be signposted to the relevant procedure or policy.
2.5 Complaints about other providers or multiple providers
2.5.1 Where a complaint is received that refers to the responsibilities of another provider, Seetec Group will endeavor to assist the complainant. If necessary, Seetec Group will contact the relevant governing body or commissioner for advice.
2.5.2 Where a complaint relates to more than one provider of services, the normal approach will be for each provider to investigate the issues relating to it as a separate complaint and independently reply to the complainant.
2.5.3 Delivery Partners are expected to follow their own complaints procedures in the first instance and copy Seetec in at each stage. However, if a complaint escalates to the third stage, this would be handled by Seetec to ensure our involvement prior to any potential escalation to Independent Case Examiner or other commissioner. Assurance around Delivery Partner complaints procedures are gathered through the annual questionnaire and complaints are checked by Supply Chain Leads at monthly meetings. Where appropriate, complaints and corrective actions will also be captured on Delivery Partner Quality Improvement Plans.
2.6 Colleague Involvement
2.6.1 When a complaint is about the conduct or competence of a colleague, the Investigating Officer would discuss this with them.
2.6.2 The Investigating Officer may also interview others, as necessary, to gather sufficient evidence and to answer concerns fully.
2.7 Learning, Best Practice and concerns of misconduct
2.7.1 At each stage of the complaints process, consideration must be given to whether there is learning or best practice to be shared. An action plan must be completed, by the Investigating Officer, in these instances.
2.7.2 Where actions are set, they will be discussed with the colleague and relevant line management as appropriate and reviewed in line with an agreed timeframe within the action plan.
2.7.3 If concerns of misconduct are evident when the complaint is being dealt with, these must be discussed with the Human Resources (HR) department. Next steps will be agreed and action, in accordance with the disciplinary policy, will be taken, if deemed necessary.
2.8 Unacceptable Behaviour
2.8.1 Unacceptable behaviour by complainants will not be tolerated, and if necessary, the Seetec Group Complaints Unacceptable Behaviour Policy will be used.
2.9 Withdrawal of Complaint
2.9.1 A complainant has the right to withdraw their complaint at any stage during the process. The outcome will be recorded as withdrawn and the complaint closed. A written confirmation will be sent to the complainant.
2.9.2 All reasonable efforts will be made to support complainants, as detailed in section 2.3.6. If a complainant refuses to cooperate with the complaints process, they may be given notice that the complaint will be closed, and the outcome recorded as withdrawn.
2.10.1 All data relating to complaints will be retained for a period of 2 years, from the closure of the complaint or according to the operational contract requirements.
3.0 Responsibilities and Timeframes
3.1 At each complaints stage
3.1.1 Pre-Complaints – All colleagues are responsible for responding to low level issues or concerns. Service Users should be directed in the first instance to the colleague working with them. The aim should always be to try and resolve issues and concerns before escalation to the official complaints process. The colleague should notify their Line Manager and the Complaints Team of any concerns raised and actions taken to resolve.
3.1.2 All official complaints and escalations will be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt.
3.1.3 All official complaint responses (at informal stage 1, formal stage 2, and appeal stage 3) will be provided in writing and within 20 working days of receipt.
3.1.4 Informal Stage 1 Complaints – Line managers or above will be allocated official complaints for investigation, unless it is felt that the complaint is so serious that it cannot be resolved informally.
3.1.5 Formal Stage 2 – An investigating officer, not previously involved with the subject of the complaint, will be allocated the complaint, if the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at the informal stage 1. The complainant may request escalation to the formal stage 2, in writing (this can be by electronic means), stating the reasons for their dissatisfaction, within 10 working days of receiving the Informal Stage 1 written response.
Assistance can be provided as detailed in section 2.3.6.
3.1.6 Appeal Stage 3 – An appeal panel of a minimum of two people will be convened. The members of the panel will not have previously been involved in the subject of the complaint or its investigation. A complainant can request an appeal where they are dissatisfied with the outcome of the formal stage 2. The request to appeal must be submitted in writing (this can be by electronic means). This must be within 10 working days of the date of reply and must state the reasons for their dissatisfaction.
The panel will determine if the original formal stage 2 complaint investigation was sufficient and reasonable.
If the panel feels that the formal stage 2 investigation requires revisiting, then the panel will write to the complainant to explain the decision and the complaint will be reopened at the formal stage. This could result in a re-investigation of the whole complaint or certain aspects of the complaint.
3.2 Next steps
3.2.1 Following completion of the Seetec Group complaints process, the internal process (informal stage 1 and formal stage 2, including appeal) is exhausted. Dependent on which contract the complaint relates to, there may be other avenues that the complainant can explore. Details of these would be provided in the appeal stage 3 response letter.
Date of issue: 30.09.2023