Our inhouse complaints handling procedure.
We are trying our best to provide our client the best services available, however, however there are unfortunate situations where a client of ours becomes dissatisfied and wants to raise issues/complaints about the same. To entertain these complaints as well as to address these issues evenly, promptly and fairly during our retainer the client’s good will and the ongoing relationship.
To keep the practice’s smooth running and to avoid any complaints Adam Bernard’s has designed and developed annual risk review management system. In case any such complaint has been reported to address these our designated complaints handler and deputy designated complaints hander (Mr. Aslam and Mr. Hashmi) handle complaints.
Defining a complaint and what is not a complaint
In normal course of business when a client shows has dissatisfaction as serious, it will be brought to the notice of client care officer. Well, it must be defined and to be ascertained whether the actual complaints procedure must be activated for example;
“The price for the services is very high”, or “vague exclamations “I don’t comprehend why these matters have been delayed?”.
It is understood that reporting these notions or exclamations may not be a problem/complaint, however, the designated complaints handler and risk manager will take notice and will keep record of these trends. The annual review of these records/trends may formulate a definite policy to create a robust strategy. This strategy would be helpful to maintain and to achieve the set thresholds in coming years.
What is a complaint?? Or how to define a complaint??
A situation arises, where a client approaches to make inquiry to lodge a complaint or to seek information about the complaint procedure, to lodge a formal complaint against the services he received from Adam Bernard Solicitors. A complaint in writing, by phone, by letter, email, fax or in any other means. The same has been brought to the designated complaints hander and at this point, it will be assessed that caseworker has failed or is unable to satisfy a client who complains in any other way. This is the stage when the in-house complaints procedure will be triggered and strict step by step procedure will be adhered.
To address the complaint lodged by the dissatisfied client, the firm’s best policy is to try to resolve the issues within the office between the client and the firm and make all possible reasonable means to settle down the disputes amicably. This will not only save valuable time but costs of the parties and Ombudsman. This process will reduce the likelihood of claims against the firm that could tarnish the valuable reputation and goodwill of the firm.
To adhere the same our firm Adam Bernard solicitors defined a comprehensive Complaint Procedure that must be followed the same is elaborated as under:
The firm has defined a complaint procedure for the client and the same can be provided on request. The firm has a convention that at the first meeting once the instructions to act has been acknowledge the client will be handed over the complaint procedure in writing.
The procedure maintains:
The client’s complaint must be taken care by the designated complaint hander, a copy of the same must be provided to the risk manager. The best available means to resolve the complaint to be provided. In a written complaint from the client, the firm must respond immediately, the procedure to lodge a complaint must be provided to the client, explaining how and when the same will be handled with the time scales for the various stages in the complaint handling procedure.
The process will be monitored by the client care officer to meet the given deadlines as mentioned and promised in the procedure. Also, to offer any possible and required redress, this will be monitored by the risk manager and quality executive, seek to improve the set procedures. The designated complaint handler keeps the record of the same and to maintain the complaints procedure up to date and continues to meet the needs of the clients and the complaint procedure is kept up to date to the needs of the business and to the SRA defined standards.
The designated complaints handler and quality executive will work together to refine the systems and to create more defined ways to stream line the systems to avoid future complaints of identical nature. The designated complaint handler must review the complaint/s once in a year (or more as needed) to provide a feedback including the analytical prognosis of the complaints, their causes to create a system to avoid these in future, and of course the report will be an integral part of the Risk Manager’s overall annual review of risk data.
Designated Complaint Handler’s Authority
The assessment and the judgement of the Designed Complaint Handler’s will be accepted by the firm regarding the validity of the complaint, the same included the responses and the remedies rendered by the firm.
Complaints about the designed complaints handler
In case a situation arises where a complaint against the designated complaints handler is imminent, the complainant must contact the deputy complaint hander. The deputy designed complaint hander will adopt the procedure.
The complaints records/documented to be reviewed at least once a year to ensure that the same meet the effective standards set by the regulators for the firm and its clients. This review would also provide testing systems about the effectiveness of this system.
How to complain
The firm must display and provide the materials to the clients mentioning how to complain? Clients have a right to know how to make complaints, the same will be dealt promptly, fairly and effectively.
Client is at freedom to adopt any possible means to lodge a formal complaint, the designated complaint handler must reply to the complaint and the same can be about the bill issued by the firm by making a complaint to Ombudsman, or to seek court’s intervention for an assessment of the bill under the Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. This also defines that if all or part of the bill remains unpaid the firm may be entitled to charge interest.