1. Commitment to good complaints handling
While we have a commitment to excellence in all we do, Oro Community Development Project Inc (OCDP) recognises there may be occasions when we may not live up to this expectation. If a person wishes to complain about our organisation, we are committed to acting speedily in investigating the matter.
Recognising the potential cultural and language difficulties of the context in which we operate, we will make every effort to ensure our complaints processes are accessible to all, especially children, women and those with a disability.
All complaints will be treated confidentially, and where the organisation has erred in not meeting particular obligations or standards, we undertake to learn from this, and to take immediate and transparent steps to rectify the situation.
2. Scope of Policy
This Policy is intended to apply to any complaint, regardless of who makes it.
- We regard a complaint as any concern about our organisation, our staff, our volunteers, our partners, our contracted service providers or anyone else acting on our behalf.
- A complaint may be made by any person to whom we deliver services or who is affected by our services, a partner, a local organisation with which we work, our staff, volunteers, donors or a member of the public.
This Policy applies if:
- A member of the public contacts us to express their concern about the way in which we have conducted a fundraising campaign;
- A local person or partner raises with us concerns about one of our programs;
- A volunteer is concerned about aspects of his/her involvement in a particular project;
- A local person lodges a complaint about the ownership of land in the vicinity of projects initiated with a partner organisation.
3. Publicising this Policy
In Australia, we will ensure that volunteers to PNG are fully briefed about this policy, and copies will be made available to members and others via OCDP newsletters, the website and Facebook.
In the field, we will make it clear to our local representatives that the disadvantaged including children and the disabled, must be afforded access to make a complaint/s and where this occurs the OCDP policy must be followed by our representatives.
The school Principal will brief staff, members of the school Board and parents on the OCDP policy. Staff will be expected to speak with children in their classes about the complaints policy and the initial reporting options available to the children.
4. How complaints may be made
In the field, complaints to any staff or volunteers will be reported to the team leader who will decide how the various complaints will be handled.
Complaints will be accepted by post, email, and telephone or in person. In publicising the policy, the options available to the complainant will include the OCDP postal and email address and telephone number. Complaints can also be raised in person at functions conducted by the organisation.
Within the school, a staff member will be designated for children or their parents to talk to if they have a complaint.
The website has contact details for those wishing to provide feedback and this facility is proving effective and an easy way for anyone who wishes to complain or make a positive comment.
The OCDP Facebook page currently provides an opportunity for feedback.
- In the field, complaints can be expected to be made orally by the person to a team member they trust;
- A complaint raised on behalf of another person, in the field, should be reported in the first instance to the team leader;
- At OCDP functions, participants will be encouraged to raise issues of concern with key personnel.
5. How we will handle minor complaints
Minor complaints, through whatever medium, will always be handled in a dignified and gracious manner with the complainant afforded maximum opportunity to express their complaint without interruption.
Where the complaint is based on a misconception the complainant will not be subjected to ridicule or humiliation.
When a complaint is settled, this will be made clear either orally, in writing or online.
- Minor complaints to the organisation are often considered more significant by the complainant and should be handled sensitively;
- Ignoring a minor complaint can sometime result in it becoming a more serious matter;
- Persons representing the organisation should refer the complaint if unsure of the response.
6. How we will handle complex complaints
Complex complaints are handled by reference to all those involved in the process. This complaints process is conducted with a minimum of formality and technicality and is handled as efficiently as possible in terms of time and cost.
- In the field, local persons makes a land claim to school land and prevent any activity occurring including the general functioning of the school;
- In the field, a compensation claim is made against OCDP when a vehicle in which volunteers are travelling hits and injures a young child.
7. Responding to and closing a complaint
In Australia responses to a complaint will be approved by the OCDP President. In the field the team leader will undertake this responsibility. Where possible there will be liaison between the team leader and the OCDP President. All responses will remind the complainant that they may re-engage if they are not satisfied. If it appears that there is little possibility of reaching a solution, the option of taking the issue further will be discussed.
8. Our time frames
Complaints lodged in Australia will be responded to immediately and full details of the complaint will be sought. It is anticipated that most complaints would be in person, by telephone or email.
Complaints of a minor nature will be settled as soon as possible and within 5 working days. For more complex problems involving the gathering of further information and perhaps a series of meetings, an end date for resolution of the matter should be provided to the complainant. This may need to be revised depending on the progress achieved.
Full details of all complaints will be recorded by the organisation. Letters or emails will be sent to the complainant acknowledging the problem and then at the end of the process confirming that the matter has been resolved.
In Papua New Guinea it is expected that most complaints will be in person to the school Principal or a member of the OCDP Management Committee. They will apply the same principles of listening carefully to all the details of the complaint and resolving the matter in an amicable fashion as soon as possible. Where the issue is more complex they will contact our organisation in Sydney to discuss possible ways forward.
All the details of any person making a complaint will be treated with the utmost confidence.
Members of the OCDP Management Committee are required to maintain confidentiality in all matters that come to their attention.
Any person/s involved in addressing a complaint is required to treat details of the complainant as confidential.
10. Recording complaint data
Records are kept at the school level, the in-country project level, and in Australia.
The complaint register will contain details of:
- the name, gender, address and contact details of the complainant;
- the date the complaint was made;
- to whom the complaint was made;
- how the complaint was made, e.g. email, telephone, in person, mail;
- how, when and by whom the complaint was officially acknowledged;
- a summary of the details of the complaint;
- the current status of the matter.
- the name of the person responsible for addressing the issue;
- how, when and by whom the complaint was officially concluded.
- whether the complainant is satisfied with the proposed resolution and whether they may wish to take further action.
11. Reporting about complaints
Serious complaints range from potentially major breaches of protocol within the organisation to matters which the complainant believes have not been resolved and the person continues to prosecute his/her complaint. The President of the OCDP Management Committee is made aware of all complaints and is kept updated on their resolution or otherwise. Quarterly reports are provided to the OCDP Management Committee on any complaints received, and are discussed at each quarterly meeting.
12. Continuous improvement
OCDP continuously reviews the effectiveness of its complaint handling and with each complaint there are lessons to be learned and adjustments to be made. We also continually seek to identify weaknesses in the organisation and improve what we do and how we do it. An annual review is conducted by the Management Committee in relation to the effectiveness of our complaint handling protocols.
Australian Standard: Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations (IS0 10002:2004)
Revised May 2017
Mike Steketee – President, Management Committee
Address: PO Box 219
Hunters Hill NSW, Australia 2110
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