Complaints Policy

This policy is intended to ensure that complaints are dealt with properly and that all complaints or comments by customers and their relatives, carers and advocates are taken seriously

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Our Policy

Policy Statement
Key 2 Care Limited’s policy is intended to comply with Regulation 16 of the Fundamental Standards Regulations. This organisation accepts the rights of customers to make complaints and to register comments and concerns about the services received. It further accepts that they should find it easy to do so. It welcomes complaints, seeing them as opportunities to learn, adapt, improve and provide better services.

The Policy
This policy is intended to ensure that complaints are dealt with properly and that all complaints or comments by customers and their relatives, carers and advocates are taken seriously

Aim of the Complaints Procedure
We aim to ensure that the complaints procedure is properly and effectively implemented, and that customers feel confident that their complaints and worries are listened to and acted upon promptly and fairly. Specifically, we aim to ensure that:
Customers, carers and their representatives are aware of how to complain and that the company provides easy to use opportunities for them to register their complaints
A named person will be responsible for the administration of the procedure
Every written complaint is acknowledged within 5 working days
All complaints are investigated within 14 days of being made
All complaints are responded to in writing within 28 days of being made
Complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly and sensitively, with due regard to the upset and worry that they can cause to both customers and staff.

Key factors for best practice
The business promotes a ‘No Blame Culture’ to allow us to develop from lessons learned and encourage staff to raise issues as soon as they are reported, allowing them to be resolved quickly and satisfactorily.
It is not acceptable to overlook or ignore a complaint.
You should not make excuses or blame other staff.
You must remain polite, courteous, sympathetic, and professional to the complainant. Do not become defensive or rude.
Investigations into the complaint should commence immediately.
Complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly, and sensitively, with due regard to the upset and worry that they can cause to both customers and staff.
If front-line care staff receive a verbal complaint, they should try and resolve the matter immediately. If they are unable to resolve the problem, they should offer to get their line manager to deal with the problem. If the complaint is being made on behalf of the customer by an advocate, it must first be verified that the person has permission to speak for the customer, especially if confidential information is involved. (It is very easy to assume that the advocate has the right or power to act for the customer when they may not). If in doubt it should be assumed that the customer’s explicit permission is needed prior to discussing the complaint with the advocate.
After discussing the problem, the manager or member of staff dealing with the complaint will suggest a means of resolving it. If this course of action is acceptable then the member of staff should clarify the agreement with the complainant and agree a way in which the results of the complaint will be communicated to the complainant (i.e. through another meeting or by letter).
If the suggested plan of action is not acceptable to the complainant, then the member of staff or manager will ask the complainant to put their complaint in writing to the Care Manager or Registered Manager. The complainant should be given a copy of the company’s complaints procedure if they do not already have one. An investigation will commence, and the     process steps below must be followed.  

Process Steps

Upon receiving the complaint
If the complaint is received by letter, email or fax, the document must be printed and filed in the complaints folder along with the printed Complaint Log, for audit purposes.
If the complaint is received by telephone or meeting, then full details of the discussion must be recorded and printed and filed in the Complaints folder along with the printed Complaint Log, for audit purposes.
Relevant actions and required due dates must then be added to your calendar to ensure deadlines are not exceeded. Your line manager must be copied in. The following timescales apply:

The complaint must be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days (see Appendix 1)  
The investigation is to be completed within 14 working days
A response letter is to be sent in writing within 28 days of the complaint being made (see Appendix 2)  

The complaint is to be added to the Customer Complaints Record, Complaints Summary Spreadsheet, and the relevant Local Authority Documents.  
If the issues are too complex for the investigation to be completed within 28 days, the complainant will be sent a holding letter to inform them of any delays (see Appendix 3).

Establishing the Facts - Investigation
Gather factual information (e.g. MAR charts, logbooks, body maps, electronic call monitoring data) and investigate the complaint.
Fact find. Invite staff members to investigation meetings, if necessary, to discuss the issues raised. Make sure all meeting minutes are recorded and signed and a copy is filed in the complaints file with the Complaints Log.
The outcome of each investigation should be clearly documented on the Complaints Log Sheet.
If there is a Safeguarding concern, please refer to the Safeguarding Policy. If CQC needs to be notified, please refer to the Notifications Policy for guidance.

The investigation will try to establish the following facts:

When did the incident occur?
Where did it occur?
Who was involved?
What happened?
Why did it happen?

The investigation must aim to address each aspect of the complaint using the facts obtained by interviewing all parties involved. Where possible speak to the complainant directly as soon as possible ,as this will help;

Understanding, from their perspective, the gap between what happened and what was expected to happen.
Provide an opportunity to clarify what they would like to see happen and to manage any unrealistic expectations.
Help to obtain any information or documentation you need.

The investigating officer must then collate the information detailing;

What the complaint is about
The facts collated as above in a chronological order
Contributory factors
The outcome of the fact finding
The route cause
Any actions that have arisen as a result of your investigation
Any recommendations/lessons that can be learnt to prevent the incident(s) occurring again.

Final Response
The final response letter must be sent within 28 days of the complaint being raised.

If the deadline cannot be met, the responsible manager must send a considered response to the complainant informing them of the delay and seekagreement with the complainant on the expected new completion date.
This must be recorded on the Complaints Log in the complaints file stating the reasons for the delay.
Once the investigation is complete, the responsible manager must send a final response letter to the customer confirming the following;

An overview if the original complaint
The steps taken to investigate the complaint
Information you have obtained
Your decision and reasons for it
What will happen next; if action is to be taken; how, when and by whom
The escalation process when the complainant is not happy with the outcome, including signposting to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO)
An apology, where appropriate
The response letter must be approved by your line manager and a copy must be filed in the complaints folder, with the complaints log.

If the customer remains unhappy their complaint can be escalated to the Registered Manager.  

Closing the complaint
Once the complaint handler is satisfied that the complaint has been resolved, the complaint log should be completed and passed to the Registered Manager to sign off.
Depending on the severity of the complaint, the complaints log will be sent to the Business Manager for closure approval.
The complaints log, customer complaints record and the relevant Local Authority documents must be updated with the outcome of the complaint at this point.

Follow-up action;
A weekly quality telephone call must be arranged over a four week period, or longer if necessary, to ensure that the customer or their representative is satisfied. Observations and spot checks of carer performance within the customer’s home should be carried out. With the permission of the customer/next of kin or representative, these observations and spot checks can be unannounced.

Vexatious Complainers
This organisation takes seriously any comments or complaints regarding its service.  However, there are customers who can be treated as “vexatious complainers” due to the inability of the organisation to meet the outcomes of the complaints, which are never resolved.  Vexatious complainers need to be dealt with by the arbitration service, so that the repeated investigations become less of a burden on the organisation, its staff and other customers.

Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)
Since October 2010 the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) can consider complaints from people who arrange or fund their own adult social care.  This is in addition to complaints about care arranged and funded by local authorities, which the LGO has dealt with for more than 35 years.

The LGO’s new role includes those who “self-fund” from their own resources or have a personalised budget. It will ensure that everyone has access to the same independent ombudsman service, regardless of how the care service is funded.  In most cases they will only consider a complaint once the care provider has been given reasonable opportunity to deal with the situation.  It is a free service.  Their job is to investigate complaints in a fair and independent way; they are not biased and do not champion complaints; they are independent of politicians, local authorities, government department, advocacy and campaigning groups, the care industry, andthe CQC;  they are not a regulator and do not inspect care providers.

The link below is to the LGO’s web-page on “Adult social care” and has a short film that provides an overview of their adult social care service; it explains their role and how the service will benefit both customers and care providers. A free copy of the film and manuscript is available to download from the same location.

The LGO is fully independent of the CQC. They deal with individual injustices that people have suffered and the CQC will refer all such complaints to them. The CQC deals with complaints about registered services as a whole and does not consider individual matters. They can share information with the CQC but only when deemed appropriate.  The CQC will redirect individual complaints to the LGO, and the LGO will inform CQC about outcomes that point to regulatory failures.

Local Authority-funded Customers
Any customer part or wholly funded by their Local Authority can complain directly to the complaints manager (Adults) who is employed directly via the Local Authority.  

Relevant Contacts
Derby City Council
Service Quality and Brokerage Officer
Integrated Commissioning Unit 
People Services Directorate
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby DE1 2FS
Telephone 01332293111 

Derbyshire County Council
Adult Care Complaints Administrator
Derbyshire County Council
County Hall
Telephone 01629 532236 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Telephone 01782 234567 

Staffordshire County Council
Complaints Team
Staffordshire Place 2
ST16 2DH
Telephone 0300 111 8004 

Lincolnshire County Council
County Offices
Telephone 01522 552222     

Leicestershire County Council
County Hall
Telephone 0116 232 3232

Other Contacts 
County Police HQ
St. Mary's Wharf
Enquiry Office
Prime Parkway
Chester Green
Derby DE1 3AB
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies and 999 for emergencies 

Staffordshire Police HQ
Biddulph Town Hall
High St, Biddulph
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies and 999 for emergencies

Lincolnshire Police HQ
Deepdale Lane
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies and 999 for emergencies 

Leicestershire Police
Loughborough Police Station
Southfield Road
LE11 2XF
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies and 999 for emergencies

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Tel.0345 015 4033 

The Local Government Ombudsman
Millbank Tower,
Advice Line Tel: 0300 061 0614 (for complainants)

The Care Quality Commission
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tel. 03000 616161 

They will take details of concerns and respond appropriately and proportionately to the information divulged.  

Related Policies
Accessible Information and Communication
Adult Safeguarding
Dignity and Respect
Duty of Candour
Good Governance
Quality Assurance 

Training Statement
The Registered Manager is responsible for organising and co-ordinating training on the complaints procedure.

All staff receive training in dealing with and responding to verbal and written complaints. The complaints policy and procedures are included in new staff members’ induction training and any apprenticeships that are undertaken, all agree that the policy and access to it is used and adhered to. In order to learn from mistakes, staff group meetings and supervisions are used to discuss formal complaint issues, in order that all staff can share and learn from the experiences.   

This policy will be reviewed by the Business Manager.

Date: 30th November 2021 
Review date: November 2022       

Appendix 1
                                                                                                                               Key 2 Care Ltd T/A Derbyshire Care Services
                                                                                                                                                                                          Head Office
                                                                                                                                                                                146 Burton Road,
                                                                                                                                                                                                DE1 1TN
                                                                                                                                                                            Tel: (01332 275060)
                                                                                                                                                                            Fax: (01332 912976)

Private & Confidential 


Date in full 

Dear xxxxxx  

Acknowledgement of Complaint 

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email/letter/telephone call on …………………(date). Key 2 Care/Derbyshire Care Services always values the views and concerns of its customers and in accordance with our complaints procedure your complaint is being dealt with by myself to address the issues regarding……………………………………………………….

(Name) will be responsible for dealing with the issues you have stated and is also the person you can contact should youwish to discuss this matter further. You should however receive a written response by……………………(date) usually 14 days after complaint received 

I have enclosed a copy of our complaintspolicy which provides useful information on how complaints are managed by Key 2Care/Derbyshire Care Services 

Yours Sincerely   


Appendix 2
                                                                                                                             Key 2 Care Ltd T/A Derbyshire Care Services
                                                                                                                                                                                       Head Office
                                                                                                                                                                              146 Burton Road,
                                                                                                                                                                                             DE1 1TN
                                                                                                                                                                          Tel: (01332 275060)
                                                                                                                                                                          Fax: (01332 912976) 

Private & Confidential 


Date in full 

Dear xxxxxx  

Complaint Details and Outcome  

You notified us, on the xxxx, of your complaint regarding…………………... Key 2 Care/Derbyshire Care Services values customer service highly and treats any complaint seriously. I am therefore writing to advise you that this matter has now been investigated by xxxxx. 

The investigation has shown that xxxx.   

In order to rectify this situation, the following steps have been taken xxxxxx. 

I trust that you are satisfied with the outcome of this investigation and the action taken. However, should you still consider this unsatisfactory please state the reason why you believe your complaint should be progressed to the next stage, based on the following criteria: 
·        the issues have not been fully addressed;
·        new information has become available
·        the matter remains unresolved. 

You can escalate your complaint inwriting to Key 2 Care/Derbyshire Care Services, or alternatively, you can contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman via their website 

Where an offer or payment of compensation has been made, complaints will not be escalated on the grounds of increased payment being sought.

I would advise you that if I do not hear from you within 10 days of the date of this letter I will consider the complaint closed.   

Yours sincerely 


Appendix 3

                                                                                                                               Key 2 Care Ltd T/A Derbyshire Care Services
                                                                                                                                                                                        Head Office
                                                                                                                                                                                146 Burton Road,
                                                                                                                                                                                               DE1 1TN
                                                                                                                                                                            Tel: (01332 275060)
                                                                                                                                                                            Fax: (01332 912976) 

Private & Confidential 


Date in full 

Dear xxxxxx  

RE: Complaint dated (insert date)  

I previously wrote to you and advised that you should receive a response to your complaint by (insert original response date). 

Please allow me to reassure you that your concerns are of importance tous however, unfortunately the issues that you have raised require further investigation before I can respond to your complaint fully. Please accept my apology for this delay.  

I therefore endeavour to respond to your complaint by (insert date). 

Yours sincerely 


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We are regulated by the Care Quality Commission which is the independent regulator of health and care in England.
Derbyshire Care Services is a trading name of Key 2 Care Limited,  a company registered in England and Wales.
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