Policies

Complaints

Workforce Solutions Group (WFSG) views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person who has made the complaint.

Our policy is:

  • To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
  • To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
  • To make sure everyone knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
  • To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
  • To gather information which helps us to improve what we do.

Definition

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of WFSG.

Origin of Complaints

A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing.

Confidentiality

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

Responsibility

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with WFSG.

Review

This policy, along with other policies and procedures, is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

Receiving Complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have.

Written complaints may be sent to by e-mail to ian@workforcesolutions.group.

Verbal complaints may also be made in person.

Stage One

Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded. The person who receives a phone or in person complaint should:

  1. Write down the facts of the complaint
  2. Take the complainant’s contact details
  3. Note down the relationship of the complainant to WFSG (for example: client, course participant)
  4. Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure and offer to e-mail them a copy of the procedure
  5. Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take

Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.

In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.

On receiving the complaint, it should be recorded in the complaints log. If it has not already been resolved it will be delegated to an appropriate person to investigate and to take appropriate action. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within a week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached. Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within a month. If this is not possible for example, because an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

Stage Two

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within a month of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The person who receives Stage Two complaints may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the documentation of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond. The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.

Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within three months. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint. The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.

Practical Guidance for Handling Verbal Complaints

  • Remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation
  • Listen – allow the person to talk about the complaint in their own words. Sometimes a person just wants to “let off steam”
  • Don’t debate the facts in the first instance, especially if the person is angry
  • Show an interest in what is being said
  • Obtain details about the complaint before any personal details
  • Ask for clarification wherever necessary
  • Show that you have understood the complaint by reflecting back what you have noted down
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings (even if you feel that they are being unreasonable) – you can do this without making a comment on the complaint itself or making any admission of fault on behalf of the organisation e.g “I understand that this situation is frustrating for you”
  • If you feel that an apology is deserved for something that was the responsibility of your organisation, then apologise
  • Ask the person what they would like done to resolve the issue
  • Be clear about what you can do, how long it will take and what it will involve
  • Don’t promise things you can’t deliver
  • Give clear and valid reasons why requests cannot be met
  • Make sure that the person understands what they have been told
  • Wherever appropriate, inform the person about the available avenues of review or appeal
Data Protection
Directors and Associates

Confidentiality

Directors and Associates must recognise that they owe a fiduciary duty of care to WFSG. This includes a duty of confidentiality. All information and documentation received from WFSG and others in connection with services provided will be treated with strict confidentiality. Neither the contents nor the existence of this information or documentation will be shared with anyone other than the officers, directors, employees and authorised agents of WFSG. Any questions regarding confidentiality obligations should be directed to the Director of WFSG.

Conflicts of Interest

Directors and Associates must recognise that they owe a fiduciary duty of loyalty to WFSG. This duty requires them to avoid conflicts of interest and to act at all times in the best interests of WFSG. The purpose of the conflicts of interest policy (set forth below) is to help inform Directors and Associates about what constitutes a conflict of interest, assist them in identifying and disclosing actual and potential conflicts, and help ensure the avoidance of conflicts of interest where necessary. This policy may be enforced against individual Directors and Associates as follows:

  • Directors and Associates have a fiduciary duty to conduct themselves without conflict to the interest of WFSG. When engaged by WFSG they must subordinate personal, individual business, third party and other interests to the welfare and best interests of WFSG.
  • A conflict of interest is conduct, a transaction or relationship that presents or might conflict with a Director or Associate’s obligations owed to WFSG and the Director or Associate’s personal, business or other interests.
  • All conflicts of interest are not necessarily prohibited or harmful to WFSG. However, full disclosure of all actual and potential conflicts is required.
  • All actual and potential conflicts of interest shall be disclosed by Directors or Associates.

Duties, Responsibilities and Liabilities

WFSG uses the Institute of Directors guidance for governance of Directors. See http://www.thefis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Directors-Duties-Responsibilities-and-Liabilities.pdf

Accessed 6 December 2016.

Employment of Freelance Workers

WFSG employs freelance workers according to project funding.

When employing freelance workers, WFSG undertakes to ensure that:

  • Workers will be paid at least minimum wage
  • Workers will not be expected to work more hours than those permitted under the European Directive on working time
  • Workers will receive at least a minimum 4 weeks’ notice if services are no longer required if on an open-ended contract.

WFSG will:

  • Comply with Health and Safety regulations
  • Ensure that we comply with our own policies including equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion
  • Be flexible when responding to requests for changed hours/leave
  • Provide role descriptors
  • Advertise the post to stimulate fair competition
  • Provide a letter of appointment
  • Pay invoices for services rendered at least monthly into a designated bank account
Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion

WFSG is committed to equal opportunities policy and practice and will ensure that all are treated equally and as individuals regardless of age, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, marital or parental status, political belief, race, religion or sexual orientation.

In implementing this policy NWS will take account of the following legislation:

Equal Pay Act 1970

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Race Relations Act 1976

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Human Rights Act 1998

Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

Civil Partnership Act 2004

Disability Discrimination Act 2005

Equality Act 2006

Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999

Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003

Equal Pay Act (EPA) 1970 (Amendment) Regulations 2003

Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003

Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005

Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006

WFSG will be responsible for ensuring that this equal opportunities policy is properly implemented, monitored and reviewed.

Health and Safety

Introduction

The policy of WFSG is to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work space by ensuring that work equipment is safe and that a safe system of work is provided for all our clients, visitors and staff. We will also provide suitable and sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the health and safety of our clients, directors and associates and this shall include suitable and sufficient welfare, sanitary and working facilities as required.

Director and Associates have a duty to ensure that they work in a safe manner and that their acts or omissions do not cause harm to themselves or others that may be affected by their work.

WFSG recognises its duty of care towards others. These people include visitors and contractors who have reason to come into contact with our activities. These persons will be given suitable and sufficient information and instructions to ensure their health and safety.

In order to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, good housekeeping is extremely important. All Directors and Associates have a part to play in the delivery of this requirement. Work spaces and work equipment should be kept in a clean and tidy condition, items and equipment must not be left on the floor to present a trip, slip or fall hazard and any cables are tucked away or routed away from traffic routes.

Legal Duties and Responsibilities

It is the duty and responsibility of the Director(s) under the Health and Safety at Work Regulations and this policy to:

  1. Ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all our Directors, Associates and Clients
  2. To provide and maintain plant and safe systems of work that are, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to a person’s health or safety.
  3. To make arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety and absence of risks in connection with the use, handling, storage and transportation of articles and substances.
  4. To provide information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable health and safety at work
  5. As far as is reasonably practicable, we will maintain any place of work in our control in a safe manner and provide and maintain so far as is reasonably practicable a safe working environment with adequate facilities and arrangements for the welfare of our clients, directors and associates

We also recognise that a breach of health and safety legislation by WFSG constitutes a criminal offence.

Legal Duties of Employees (Staff)

In addition to the previously described general responsibilities, the Health and Safety at Work Regulations place legal duties on all.

These are:

Section 7 ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 1974’

  1. To take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work.
  2. To cooperate with the management and Board to enable WFSG to carry out legal duties or any requirements as may be imposed.
  3. Section 8 ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 1974’
  4. No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse any item provided in the interest of health, safety, and welfare.

Directors and Associates should bear in mind that a breach of health and safety legislation by an individual constitutes a criminal offence and action may be taken by an Enforcing Authority against an individual. Such action can result in penalties, i.e. fines and/or imprisonment.

Health and Safety Responsibility

The overall responsibility for health and safety within WFSG rests with the Director, who will ensure that sufficient resources, both financial and physical are available so that the Policy and its arrangements can be implemented effectively

Duties will include, but may not be limited to:

  1. Identifying hazards present within any business activities.
  2. Ensuring risk assessments are undertaken and any actions are followed through to completion
  3. Ensuring that hazardous substances are assessed and any actions are followed through to completion.
  4. Liaising with the Enforcing Authorities as and when required.
  5. Identifying any training needs.
  6. The development and implementation of safe systems of work.
  7. The maintenance of the workplace and buildings.
  8. Fire and emergency management.
  9. Ensuring waste is managed.
  10. Ensuring accidents are reported and investigated.
  11. Ensuring that any ill-heath situations that are caused by work activities are reported and investigated.

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