Policy Name: Complaints Handling
Date: 23rd March 2019
Policy Number: WAC001
Review: 3rd October 2019
1 Purpose
We Are Community welcomes all feedback that may improve the quality of its work, enhance the trust and confidence of stakeholders, ensure the safety of its staff and volunteers, identify areas of work that may need to be improved, and ensure it learns from the feedback provided through this process.
We Are Community will respond constructively to all internal and external complaints. This policy applies to all Management Committee members, Members, staff, and volunteers and will provide protection to anyone reporting a complaint.
We Are Community defines a complaint as:
“A grievance made against We Are Community or against one or more of its Management Committee, staff, volunteers, partner organisations or anyone else acting officially on its behalf, where the organisation has allegedly failed to meet a requirement or legitimate expectation. The complaint might be related to We Are Community’s use of resources, values, particular individuals’ conduct/behaviour, legal requirement, or any other expression of dissatisfaction with the organisation’s performance.”
2 Scope
The following principles will guide We Are Community’s complaints handling process:
• Visibility: information about the process for making a complaint will be clear and well publicised to our stakeholders on We Are Community’s website.
• Accessibility: the process for making complaints is easily accessible to all stakeholders. Complaints should be addressed to We Are Community’s Chair and will be accepted in written form.
• Objectivity: all complaints are addressed in a fair and equitable, objective, and unbiased manner throughout the complaints handling process. Issues of conflict of interest will be identified to ensure objectivity.
• Confidentiality: confidentiality relating to the complaint will be safeguarded as required by law.
• Stakeholder-focused approach: We Are Community has a stakeholder-focused approach, actively welcomes feedback including complaints and has a commitment to actively address all complaints.
• Responsiveness: all complaints and constructive feedback will be taken seriously and handled as swiftly as practicable, subject to applicable legislation and legal advice. All complainants will be updated on the progress of their complaint through the complaints handling process.
• Accountability: accountability for handling complaints and reporting on the actions and decisions of We Are Community with respect to complaints handling will be clearly established. All complaints will be recorded through one central point before allocating responsibility to the Chair.
• Organisational commitment to this policy: We Are Community will ensure sufficient resources and expertise are provided to handle complaints.
3 Complaints Handling Process
Once a complaint is received by We Are Community, no matter the nature or relevance of the complaint, all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure the gathering of all necessary information for the ultimate resolution of the complaint.
The process We Are Community follows for the initiation and resolution of complaints is as follows:
a) Receiving and Acknowledging Complaints 
• People wishing to lodge a complaint with We Are Community can do so in writing.
• This policy, specifically highlighting the central point for all complaints is also publicised on We Are Community’s website as follows:
• The Chair is empowered in the first instance to deal with the complaint and enact any steps to resolve the complaint at the initial point of contact. All complaints must be logged and marked CONFIDENTIAL.
• If the complaint is unable to be resolved at this first point of contact then the Chair will inform the Management Committee and complete the Complaint Record Form (see Annexure A).
• The Chair will ensure an acknowledgement of the complaint is provided to the complainant within five business days of the complaint being received. This acknowledgement will confirm that the complaint has been received and outline next steps, the contact officer, and likely timeframes.
• Where a complainant is anonymous the complaint will be assessed for validity and whether further investigation or caution is called for. This will be determined by the Chair.
• Complaints about the Chair will be referred to the Deputy Chair. The Deputy Chair’s email address will be provided.
• The identity of the complainant will be protected unless permission to disclose is obtained from the complainant. 
• Complainants will receive a response outlining the outcome of the complaint. We Are Community will refer any complaints to a more appropriate forum if the matter is outside its jurisdiction.
b) Registering and Analysing Complaints
• All complaints will be logged on the Complaints Record Form at Annexure A.  
• These forms will be collated by the Chair and a report prepared for the Management Committee at a minimum on a quarterly basis.
• The Management Committee has an important role to play in overseeing the number and nature of complaints received and ensuring they have been handled satisfactorily, that appropriate corrective action has been implemented and that trends are identified and addressed
Annexure A: Complaint Record Form
Complaint Record Form – CONFIDENTIAL
Task Responsible Person Date
Complaint acknowledged
Complaint assessed
Investigation of events
Resolution with complainant
Confirmation with complainant
Complaint closed
External referral offered
Complaint filed
1. Initial receipt of complaint
Date received: ____/____/_____ Reference Number:

Received □ in person  □ via email  □ via phone  □ via mail 
Initial action taken (if applicable):
2. Details of complaint
Complainant’s name: 
Complainant’s address:

Complainant’s email:

Complainant’s phone: 

What happened, when and who was involved:
Outcome sought by complainant: 
3. Complaint resolution details
Approach: □ early resolution  □ mediation  □ conciliation  □ investigation □
Staff member involved:

Issues investigated / findings:
Interviews with relevant parties (include names, positions and dates): 
Other notes: 

4. Complaint outcome details
Date resolved: _____ / _____ / _____
Describe outcome: 
Did complainant agree to outcome?   □ yes □ no
Complaint referred to external agency?  □ yes □ no
If yes which agency? 
Actions taken: □ apology  □ explanation  □ fee reduction  □ fee waiver  □ policy / procedure review  
□ other:

Recommendation for changes to policies / procedures (where applicable):
Date complainant informed of outcome: ___ / ___ / ___ 
5. Complaint closure 
Complaint closed?   □ yes □ no
Date closed: ___ / ___ / ___