Compliments and Complaints

Our aims in this procedure

Brixton Advice Centre is committed to providing a quality service and working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our clients and stakeholders, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right

Therefore we aim to ensure that:

  • making a compliment or complaint is as easy as possible
  • we welcome compliments, feedback and suggestions
  • we treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response
  • we deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially
  • we respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken etc.
  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures

We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly

Our aims are to:

  • resolve informal concerns quickly
  • keep matters low-key

This policy ensures that we welcome compliments and provide guidelines for dealing with complaints from members of the public about our services, facilities, staff and volunteers

Definitions

We define a compliment is an expression of satisfaction about the standard of service we provide.

We define a complaint as any written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction made by a client

A complaint may be identified in a letter, telephone call, email, fax or in the course of a face-to-face conversation

If we open a case for you, we will inform you in writing at the outset of your right to complain and how complaints can be made

You may raise concerns about the service during telephone and face to face conversations, in which case you will be encouraged, if you wish, to write to, or ask to speak to Patrick Torsney (Chief Executive), who has overall responsibility for complaints and who will be able to discuss your complaint or arrange a suitable time to discuss it or provide a complaints form for you to send us at your convenience.

Compliments or complaints or any other type of suggestion can be made using our feedback form (a copy will be provided on request) or can be made in person, or in writing to:

Brixton Advice Centre (Feedback)

167 Railton Road

London

SE24 0LU

Or by using our Contact Form here

Complaints Procedure

If a complaints form is requested this will be sent out by the member of staff who received the request, within three working days.

If the complaint is made in person, a member of the staff team, or you, the complainant, will write down the details in full. Should you have used our Complaints Form, you will be asked to sign in order to confirm accuracy where this is possible

The member of staff who received the complaint will, within three working days, inform you that the complaint has been received, and is being dealt with.

Once the complaint has been received, the Chief Executive will provide a written response to you within 14 working days, either dealing substantively with the complaint or advising of the complaint status and the reasons for further delay in providing a substantive response e.g. to allow further investigation. In this instance the Chief Executive will identify any further time necessary and will let you know when you will receive a full response.

If you are unsatisfied with the Chief Executive’s substantive response you have the right to elevate the complaint to Brixton Advice Centre’s Council of Management. This will be advised to you in the Chief Executive’s substantive response to the complaint

The Council of Management will consider any elevated complaint and will write a reply to you within 14 working days of receiving the elevated complaint. The reply will state any recommendations for further action if necessary

If you are still not satisfied with the our internal complaints procedure there are other avenues including local councillors and your local MP, though these channels do not carry any authority over Brixton Advice Centre.

If your case was a Housing matter or was dealt with by our Online Legal Clinic or any other solicitor working at BAC you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman after you have submitted a complaint to ourselves and we have either (a) not responded within eight weeks, or (b) sent you our final response, in which case you should normally complain to the Legal Ombudsman within a further six months. We will provide full details of how to contact the Legal Ombudsman when responding to your complaint. You can find out more information on the Legal Ombudsman here: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/

If your case was a Debt matter, our caseworker(s) will also inform you in writing at the outset of your right to complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman. This should normally be done within 6 months of our final response to the complaint you made to us or, if we did not respond to your complaint, within eight weeks of you submitting that complaint to us.

Complaints regarding MaPS funded services (Debt Free London)

All complaints regarding services funded by MaPS via Debt Free London (formerly Capitalise) will be copied to the Lead Partner (Toynbee Hall) no later than one month after the resolution/end of any complaint. This will allow the Lead Partner the opportunity to identify trends, highlight issues or concerns and raise these as appropriate with ourselves or others