Complaints Procedure for External Stakeholders

Revised January 2017

Intent:

The intent of this policy is to set out a clear process by which external stakeholders, including donors, supporters and members of the general public can make a complaint about LOFT’s activities, programs, services, staff or volunteers.

LOFT provides a complaints procedure for internal stakeholders: service users, staff and other LOFT community members. This is located in the LOFT Policy Manual on-line under the About Us tab of the LOFT website. Once in the Policy Manual, look under the heading  of Human Rights, Safety, Responsibilities.

For a complaint of Workplace or Sexual Harassment or a complaint of Human Rights violation, please refer to the policies written to address these specific concerns and the relevant procedures set out in those policies also included in the on-line LOFT Policy Manual.

LOFT has formally adopted Imagine Canada’s Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code in order to ensure the highest standards in the treatment of donors, in our fundraising practices and in our financial transparency. Information on the code, and how to make a complaint specific to it, can be found on the LOFT website on the Commitment to our Donors page under the Support LOFT tab and under the Fundraising Practices heading in the online Policy Manual.

Definitions:

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the service, actions, or lack of action by LOFT as an organization or a staff member or volunteer acting on behalf of LOFT.

Procedure:

LOFT is committed to dealing with complaints promptly and resolving them as quickly as possible. All complaints are reviewed fairly, impartially and in a manner that is respectful to all parties.

Complaints can be made in person, by phone, mail, fax or email. LOFT requests that the complainant include their name and a means of contacting them: a phone number, email address or mailing address. Please note that although all complaints are taken seriously it may not be possible for LOFT to respond or act on a complaint if it is made anonymously or does not include contact information.

Complainants are informed that they have the option of escalating their complaint to a more senior staff person if they are dissatisfied with treatment or outcomes. Complainants are also provided with clear, understandable reasons for decisions made regarding their complaint.

If the resolution of a complaint takes an unduly long time, complainants will be updated during the review process.

LOFT uses complaints to assist in improving services, policies and procedures.

Procedures for Staff or other LOFT Representatives Receiving and Handling a Complaint:

A complaint can be received verbally (by phone or in person) or in writing (by mail, fax or email).

Any LOFT staff member or volunteer who receives a complaint from an external stakeholder will use the following guideline in handling the complaint:

  • Name the problem

The person who receives the complaint should acknowledge to the complainant that the complaint has been received and will be acted upon either by him/herself or by another staff member. If a timeframe for resolution is available, it should be included in the acknowledgement.

  • Own the complaint

When a staff or volunteer receives a complaint, first determine the proper person to handle it. This will generally be the person who has the primary relationship with the complainant or the person with the specific knowledge needed to resolve the problem.

Basic contact information for the complainant – name, phone number and email address – should be recorded immediately.

It is the responsibility of the person who receives the complaint to either resolve it or transfer it to another person who can resolve it. If a complaint is transferred, the person to whom it is transferred must acknowledge that he/she has received it and will act on it.

  • Apologize

Regardless of the nature or validity of a complaint, it is not LOFT’s intent to cause distress or inconvenience to a supporter or member of the public. It is appropriate for the person receiving the complaint to apologize for any distress or inconvenience experienced by the complainant and thank the complainant for making contact.

  • Fix it: for the complainant now.

Every effort should be made to resolve complaints in a timely fashion. When receiving a verbal complaint, staff should listen and seek to understand it, and may attempt to resolve it immediately. Complaints received in writing should be acknowledged within 2 business days. Staff should attempt to resolve all complaints within 10 business days.

Where a complaint cannot be easily resolved, it should be escalated to the relevant Senior Staff. If this person cannot resolve the issue it should be escalated to the CEO. If the complaint is about the CEO, it will be handled by the board chair.

Complainants should be kept informed of the status of their complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved within the allotted time, the complainant should be informed and every effort made to resolve it within an additional 10 days.

All complaints should be resolved within 1 month of being received.

  • Fix it: for the future.

All complaints should be documented including a description of the complaint, who handled it, the timeframe and what was done to resolve it.

A complaint that cannot be resolved immediately should be followed-up after it is resolved to review the nature of the complaint, how it was resolved, and whether it can be used to improve services, policies or procedures.

  Reporting on Complaints:

At least once a year, the board is informed of the number, type and disposition of complaints received under this policy.