Complaints Policy Rosemont After School is committed to providing a quality service to children and their parents/guardians and we regularly evaluate our services in order to ensure this and to monitor the standard of our performance. While this is always our aim, we accept that sometimes things do not always go to plan. In such circumstances, we want to know, so that we can put things right and learn from our mistakes. We welcome all comments on our services, positive or negative. Complaints will be accepted and investigated irrespective of the nature of the complaint or who the person making the complaint is. It is our policy to act on these complaints to the best of our ability and in an efficient, competent and timely manner. Rosemont After School gives a commitment to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. All complaints will be dealt with seriously, sensitively and appropriately to ensure that the standard of service provided by Rosemont After School is maintained at a high level. The quality of the service provided to any child and family will never be adversely affected because a complaint has been made. The complaints procedure is kept as simple as possible. Anyone making a complaint will be supported through the process as needed and given a copy of the ‘Complaints Policy and Procedures’. The complaints policy and procedures are displayed on the website: www.rosemontafterschool.ie and a hardcopy will be kept in the after school office for parents review upon request. All complaints / comments will be listened to and followed up either with a verbal or written response. When a complaint is received the manager will be informed immediately. Every effort will be made to address the issue informally before moving to a formal procedure. If necessary, the complaint will be fully and appropriately investigated. A written acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint will usually be sent within 3 working days and a response within 10 days. If a complaint is made against the Manager, a representative of the management committee (usually the chairperson) will conduct an investigation and ensure appropriate management and recording of the complaint. In the event of errors being made, Rosemont After School will endeavour to correct them as quickly as possible and to give an explanation and, where appropriate, an apology. All complaints made – both formal and informal – will be recorded in detail. Records will be stored in the Complaints Records File and will be retained for at least two years following resolution of the complaint as required by regulation. All information relating to any complaint will be treated as confidential and shared only on a need to know basis. In the case of a Child Protection concern the Child Protection Policy will apply. All records of complaints will be kept in full compliance with the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Registration of School Age Service Regulations 2018, Data Protection Act 2018 and Freedom of Information Act 2014. The Complaints Records File will be available to those authorised to inspect it, including the Tusla Inspector. The evaluation of the outcome of the complaint will form part of the considerations for future policy and practice and risk management procedures. There is a child friendly version of this policy available to Rosemont After School children to read. They will be supported in reading and have any doubts explained by a member of staff. Procedures & Practices How a complaint is received Rosemont After School is committed to open and regular communication with parents/guardians. We welcome all comments on our services, whether they are positive or negative. Complaints will be accepted irrespective of the nature of the complaint or who the person making the complaint is. How to make a complaint A complaint can come to the attention of the service in a number of different ways: o Contact, by phone or in person, with a staff member or by letter, email, and/or text. o The complaint may be made by the person directly affected or by a person acting on their behalf. To whom a complaint can be made If a person has a complaint about some aspect of the service’s activity, or about the conduct of an individual member of staff, it will often be possible to resolve the problem by simply speaking to the individual concerned and/or to the manager, Grainne Wood. Some complaints may fall more into the category of disagreements or differences of opinion and may be resolved through discussion and compromise on the part of both the person making the complaint and the staff member concerned.
How a Complaint will be Managed
Stage One: Informal Process In the first instance, those who wish to make a complaint are encouraged to speak directly to the relevant member of staff. If they do not want to do this, they can speak with Grainne Wood, Manager who will try to resolve the problem. The details of the complaint and the response will be recorded by the Grainne Wood, Manager. If the manager has a direct or indirect involvement in the matter being complained of, the complaint will be passed to Sarah Just, General Manager of Rosemont School (or, if necessary, another person who has had no involvement in the matter). If a satisfactory resolution cannot be found, then Stage Two of the procedure will formally come into operation. Stage Two: Formal Process If informal discussions of a complaint or problem have not produced a satisfactory resolution to the situation, those making the complaint should be encouraged to put their complaint in writing to the manager. All necessary support will be provided. Relevant names, dates and any other important information on the nature of the complaint should be included. Grainne Wood will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing as soon as possible – usually within 3 working days – and fully investigate the matter within 10 working days. If there is any delay, those who made the complaint will be advised of this and offered an explanation. The manager will be responsible for sending them a full and formal written response to their complaint. The manager, with the assistance of appropriate staff members, will carry out a full investigation. This may involve:
Interviews with all relevant individuals
Minute taking of all meetings
Individuals being informed that they may have an appropriate individual present with them during the investigation.
The manager will also inform the chairperson of the board of management (registered provider) that the investigation is taking place. Where no grounds for the complaint are found, the person making the complaint will be notified and information detailing the next stage will be provided. Where the manager (or other appropriate person) investigating, finds grounds for the complaint, they will ensure that all of the required details are available from the person making the complaint. Staff members must participate and support the investigation of any complaint, where requested. Any staff member involved in the complaint will be supported throughout the process. Any complaints not within the scope of the service to investigate, will be referred appropriately. For example: o If the manager has good reason to believe that the situation has Child Protection implications, they must inform the designated Child Protection Officer and ensure that the local Tusla Duty Social Worker is contacted, according to the procedure set out in the Child Protection Policy. o If any person involved in the complaint has good reason to believe that a criminal offence has been committed, they should contact An Garda Síochána. Where a complaint relates to Health and Safety it may be appropriate to notify the Health and Safety Authority.
Communication of the Response/Outcome - Closing the Complaint The formal response to the complaint will be sent from the chairperson of the board of management to the person who made the complaint and copied to all relevant members of staff if appropriate. The response will include recommendations for dealing with the complaint and any necessary amendments to the service’s policies and/or procedures and/or risk management procedures, arising from the investigation. The manager may arrange a time to meet the person who made the complaint and any other relevant individuals, such as members of staff, to discuss the complaint and the service’s response to it. The manager will judge if it is best for all parties to meet together or if separate meetings are more appropriate. The person making the complaint will be notified of the progress of an investigation on an ongoing and regular basis by the manager in writing, by email or letter. The person making the complaint will be immediately informed of the outcome of the complaint once it has been completed. Once the person making the complaint has been informed and the relevant documents filed, the complaint will be deemed closed. Stage Three: Review If, at the conclusion of the above process, those who made a complaint are dissatisfied with the response they have received, the original complaint along with the service’s response will be passed to the chairperson of the Management Committee/registered provider who will ensure that there is a complete review of the complaint. This review will be undertaken by a person not previously involved. The Board of Management chairperson will communicate a detailed response, including any actions to be taken, to both the Manager and the person who made the complaint, within 30 working days. Stage 4: Appeal Step One: If the person making the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome from the formal complaint, then they have the right to appeal the decision made by the Board of Management where reasonable grounds can be established. Step Two: To activate the appeals process, the parent can address a letter to the Chairperson of the Board of Management. Step Three: The parent will summarise the basis of the appeal and the reason why they feel the outcome to be unfair within 14 days of receiving the outcome of the original complaint. Step Four: Once the appeal has been received, the Chairperson will determine the validity of the appeal and where necessary organise a meeting with all parties involved in the matter in an attempt to seek resolution where appropriate. The process for all formerly lodged appeals will commence within 14 working days from the date of the appeal lodgement. Recording of Complaints and Confidentiality Records of complaints must be kept in the Complaints Records File, separate from children’s files. All information relating to complaints is to be shared only on a need-to-know basis. Where a complaint involves a child protection concern the Child Protection Policy will apply. Where a complaint involves an allegation of a breach of a person’s rights (child or adult) and/or a criminal action or behaviour the appropriate authorities must be informed. The record of the complaint must be kept for at least two years from the date on which the complaint has been dealt with. The record is to include: o The name of the complainant o The nature and details of the complaint o The date and time the complaint was received o The manner in which the complaint was received o The name of the person who received the complaint o The level of risk to the child or children arising from the subject of the complaint o The manner in which the complaint was dealt with, including: Any local resolution implemented Any specific meetings held with the person making the complaint and minutes of any such meetings Timelines for investigation of the complaint and notification of the outcome to the person making the complaint Details of the investigation carried out The outcome of the investigation Details of any corrective or preventive actions to resolve the complaint Information given to the person making the complaint about the progress and the outcome of the complaint of the investigation and whether the action taken to resolve the complaint was accepted Details of any plan implemented for the child’s care as a result of the complaint as agreed with the child’s parents/guardians Details of any review to the risk management process in light of the complaint. Details of any changes to practice or policy.
All records of complaints must be kept in full compliance with the Child Care Act 1991(Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, Data Protection Act 2018 and Freedom of Information Act 2014. Only members of staff authorised by the manager can access the Complaints Records File. Role of Tusla If a person making a complaint is dissatisfied with the service’s response or feels for any reason that they cannot bring the concern directly to the manager/registered provider, they can contact Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate. Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate does not investigate individual concerns or complaints. All information received is assessed to determine if any concerns relating to the health and welfare of children exists within the remit of the 2016 Regulations. The information determines the focus and timing of Tusla’s inspections. Where Tusla Early Years Inspectorate considers that there is a potential risk to the health, safety and welfare of children in an Early Years Service, Tusla Early Years Inspectorate will take appropriate actions with the service provider to ensure that the risk is addressed. To contact Tusla regarding a concern about this or any early years service you can contact in the following ways: o Email: firstname.lastname@example.org o Call: 061 461700 o Or download a complaints form at: www.tusla.ie/services/preschool-services/concerned-about-the-operation-of-a-eys/ Send it to: Tusla Early Years Inspectorate, Unsolicited Information Office, 2nd Floor, Estuary House, Henry Street, Limerick. The Tusla form can also be posted on request. Communication Plan [For Staff & Families] All parents/guardians are to be informed of the policy and procedures regarding Comments and Complaints on enrolment. Staff members will check with parents/guardians that they have read and understood the policy and provide any assistance needed. A summary of this policy will be included in the Parent/Guardian Handbook. This policy will also be reviewed with staff at induction and annual staff training. When a complaint is received, the person making the complaint will be given a copy of this Policy and Procedures. A copy of all policies will be available during all hours of operation to staff members and parents/guardians in the Policy Folder located in the after school office. Parents/guardians may receive a copy of the policy at any time upon request. Parents/guardians and the staff team will receive written notification of any updates.