Complaint Standards Framework: Summary of core expectations

Being thorough and fair

An effective complaint system makes sure staff take a thorough, proportionate and balanced look into the issues raised by a complaint, and makes sure people get a fair and open answer to their questions based on the facts and takes full accountability for mistakes identified.

  • Organisations make sure staff are properly trained and have the appropriate level of experience and authority to take a thorough look into  complaints. 
  • Organisations make sure all staff who look at  complaints have the appropriate resources, support and protected time to do so in order to consistently meet the expectations given in this Framework.
  • All staff handling  complaints do so impartially. Where possible, organisations make sure they assign complaints to staff who have had no prior involvement or who have no actual or perceived conflict of interest.  Where that is not possible, staff take clear steps to demonstrate their impartiality and how they will avoid any conflict of interest. 
  • Organisations publish a local  complaints procedure that meets the standards set out in this Framework.  Each procedure clearly sets out how staff will handle  complaints and what quality standards and behaviours they are expected to follow when doing so.  
  • Staff actively listen and demonstrate a clear understanding of what the key issues are for the individual, and what outcomes they seek. 
  • Staff make sure everyone involved in a complaint (including staff) know how they will look into the issues.  This includes what information complaints staff will need, who they will speak to, who will be responsible for making the final decision and how they will communicate that decision.  
  • Staff will agree timescales with everyone involved and will agree how people will be kept informed and involved.  Staff provide regular updates throughout. 
  • At all times, staff have the freedom to look for ways they can resolve  complaints at the earliest opportunity. 
  • Staff make sure everyone involved in a complaint has the opportunity to give their views and respond to emerging information.  Staff act openly and transparently and with empathy when discussing this information and make sure they take everyone’s comments into account.
  • In complaints that involve multiple organisations, local complaints procedures identify and set out the roles and responsibilities of a lead organisationand the other organisations involved to deliver a co-ordinated investigation and a holistic response.