FENIKS sets high standards and aims to provide first class services. However, there may be times when you are unhappy about something. If this is the case it is important that you tell us.
We want to maintain high quality services and hearing your concerns, criticisms or complaints will help us to do this. If there are any problems we would like to sort them out as soon as possible.
These guidelines tell you what to do if you are not happy about any of our services. We cannot promise to resolve every complaint or agree with every suggestion. We do promise to take your concerns seriously, to carry out a full investigation of complaints and to tell you what we intend to do.
Who can make a complaint?
Any person who has any contact with our services may use this complaints procedure. The complaint may be made directly or by a third person representing the interests of the person using the service. Complaints may therefore come from service users, their carers, key workers, friends or family.
If you are attending our Counselling Service we would like to assure you that we follow standards set by COSCA Statement of Ethics and Code of Practice. You were informed about it at the first session with your counsellor or therapist. You can access this Policy anytime. It is available in the counselling room as well as on our website in the Documents section.
Who should you speak to?
You can make a complaint to any member of the FENIKS team. If you are using a volunteer led service you should ask to speak to a member of staff.
Making your complaint
We understand that you may feel upset or angry if you have to make a complaint and we will do our best to deal with your concerns or complaints in a patient, understanding and sensitive manner. In return we would ask you please to be courteous and respectful when talking to our staff or volunteers. Most of the time, you will find that things can be sorted out in an informal way without using the complaints procedure or having to see the manager. However, if we are unable to resolve issues at this stage any member of the team will be able to arrange for you to talk to the manager or register a formal complaint.
Making a formal complaint
It will not always be possible to resolve issues informally. If this happens you should make it clear that you wish to use the formal complaints procedure by informing the manager or a member of staff. You can make a formal complaint verbally to any member of staff or by using the complaints form attached. Verbal complaints will be recorded by the member of staff dealing with the complaint and a copy will be made available to the complainant. If you make your complaint by phone we can send out or e-mail a form for you to complete.
In this first stage your complaint will be dealt with by FENIKS staff, usually the manager, but in the manager’s absence, another member of the team. We will let you know who will be looking into things within five days of receiving the complaint.
We aim to complete our investigations within four weeks of receiving your complaint. We will write to you and may meet with you to explain our findings. We will do everything we can to reach an acceptable resolution. You are welcome to bring along a representative to any meetings – this could be carer, professional support worker or advocacy worker, whoever you feel is best suited to provide you with the support you need.
Time limits for complaints
Complaints can be accepted up to three years from the time of the problem arising. If the complaint refers to specific client work the maximum is three years from the date the client ended counselling with the Feniks. However, it is much easier to sort out difficulties if the complaint is brought to our attention as quickly as possible.
Taking things further
If you are not happy with the response you receive in the first stage of the formal complaints procedure (from the manager or member of staff dealing with the complaint in the manager’s absence), you can ask for a review. You should do this within the four weeks and in writing if possible, by letter or e-mail. The review will be carried out by a maximum of three members of the FENIKS Management Committee and may also include one Committee advisor. You will be informed within five days of our receiving your request for a review who will be dealing with it. This will give you and all parties an opportunity to declare a conflict of interest with them. We will try our best to keep the numbers of people involved to a minimum, but this will largely depend on the nature of the complaint.
The Review Panel will have access to relevant documents and policy papers within Feniks and to staff members, if appropriate. They may ask you and other involved individuals for evidence. This will be sought in person and will meet with each party separately. You, as well as other parties will have the right to be accompanied, and/or represented, by a supportive person of your choice. Neither you, other parties and/ nor your representatives will be asked to attend the meetings together.
You will be informed in writing within four weeks of the outcome of the review; however we will try our best to keep your wait to a minimum and will make every effort to resolve issues speedily and efficiently. The result of this review will be final and following our response FENIKS will consider the matter closed.
If your complaint regarded Feniks’s Counselling Service and you are still unsatisfied after the decision of the Review Panel or you are unhappy about the content of the Committee Advisor’s report, you as well as other parties, will have a right to appeal to COSCA within the fourteen days from the decision. The report will be send to COSCA on completion of the procedure.
The procedure will be halted, at any stage, upon discovery that legal action is underway, pending or intended, until such time as any legal process is complete.
Complaints to COSCA
COSCA is the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland. It provides formal professional Recognition for the Feniks Counselling Service and we are therefore also covered by the COSCA Complaints Procedure.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied after the decision of the appeals panel or remains dissatisfied about the content of the investigator’s report he/she will be advised that they can submit a complaint to COSCA under their Complaints Procedure.
16 Melville Terrace
All complaints will be treated as confidential. We will only disclose information to others that is necessary to carry out the investigation. We will always try to be as open as we can with you in the process of managing your complaint, however, there may be times when we cannot disclose information because of other people’s right to confidentiality.
Monitoring of complaints
FENIKS keeps a record of all complaints, formal and informal and this information is used for evaluation and to inform the planning and development of services.
We appreciate that it can be difficult and distressing to make a complaint and that you may require information and/or support in order to help you define your feelings and concerns and communicate them to us. You may find the following resources helpful:
CAPS Independent Advocacy
5 Cadzow Place, Edinburgh. EH7 5SN
Tel: 0131 538 7177
332 Leith Walk, Edinburgh. EH6 5BR
Tel: 0131 554 5307
OSCR (Office of Scottish Charities Regulator)
2nd Floor, Quadrant House,
9 Riverside Drive,
Tel: 01382 220 446
E: firstname.lastname@example.org (fao investigation officers)