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How to Make A Complaint

This Complaints Policy applies to:

Employees, freelancers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants, volunteers, those on work experience and student placements.

Relevant to:

Clients, service users

Language Empire is committed to maintaining good customer relations with all service users and clients in respect of complaints management and conflict resolution. We believe the professional and efficient handling of a complaint is a critical factor in ensuring good customer service and satisfaction for both private and the public sector organisations we work with.

We believe that complaints can provide an opportunity for growth and development within the business, and a chance to improve our services and practices.

We take seriously complaints of any nature, whether they are made by service users or clients, and are committed to investigating all complaints thoroughly, following a strict procedure to gain the best possible outcome from every complaint received.

Complaints arise when our clients and service users highlight to us that the service provided did not meet their expectations. We accept and acknowledge that there may be occasions where, despite our best intentions, our levels of service fall short of those which may be reasonably expected by our clients and service users, and a complaint may therefore be made.

Complaints may be made by our clients or by our customers or service users, their families or a direct relative where they have received unsatisfactory levels of service.

On these occasions it is our intention to conduct a timely and detailed investigation.

Complaints can be reported to us in person, by phone, by mail or by email. Where any issue is raised, we will always create a written record of this for audit trail purposes.

Our complaints policy forms the basis of our investigation process to ensure all issues are efficiently investigated.

Language Empire will:

  • Ensure that the process for making a complaint is simple, easily accessible and well publicised
  • Ensure that the resolution of issues is encouraged by informal means wherever possible
  • Ensure that service users who are not able to make a complaint in English are not unfairly disadvantaged as a result
  • Listen to all complainants and take complaints seriously
  • Take action where appropriate and necessary
  • Deal with all complaints confidentially
  • Ensure that investigations are carried out thoroughly
  • Ensure that if, during the course of investigating a complaint, a safeguarding issue emerges, we will notify the appropriate authorities
  • Take appropriate measures to avoid recurrence of a complaint
  • Provide responses to complainants within a reasonable time frame
  • Ensure that if we are unable to complete investigation into a complaint within five working days, we will keep the complaint fully informed of progress and the reasons for delay
  • Ensure that investigation into a complaint is only concluded once both parties are in agreement that the matter has been resolved
  • Monitor and report our performance in complaint handling against agreed targets.

This policy applies to all clients, service users and employees of Language Empire. It also applies to all those working for or on behalf of Language Empire such as freelancers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants, volunteers, those on work experience and student placements.

The policy applies to all areas of service delivery.

This policy is to be implemented in conjunction with consideration of other relevant company policies and information such as:

  • Complaints and Dispute Resolution Handling Procedure (see Appendix B)
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy and Procedure
  • Language Empire Code of Conduct
  • Serious Incidents Policy

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Management team and board of Directors of Language Empire Ltd and its associated companies.

Managers are responsible for ensuring that all staff are aware of the Complaints Policy and Procedure and are able to explain it to service users and deal with complaints effectively.

This policy will be reviewed every two years as a minimum and/or in line with legislative changes.

Appendix A

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of Language Empire services.

Appendix B – Complaints procedure

Anyone wishing to register a complaint can contact Language Empire using the following methods:

By telephone on: 0330 20 20 270

By post to: Complaints Department, Language Empire Head Office, Deeplish House, 174 Milkstone Road, Rochdale, Lancashire, OL11 1NA

By email on: complaints@empire-groupuk.com

Our timeframe for satisfactory completion of complaints is 5 working days.

Step 1

Verbal complaints – the recipient will log the complaint on our standard complaint form and pass it to the relevant contract manager who will contact the end/service user to acknowledge receipt of the complaint and assure the complainant that the complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the timescales set out in the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

The original recipient will send a copy of the complaint form to complaints@empire-groupuk.com to be added to our central complaints register.

Written complaints – the recipient will acknowledge receipt of the complaint (by email or a phone call to the end/service user) and will log the complaint on our standard complaint form, sending a copy of the complaint form to complaints@empire-groupuk.com to be added to our central complaints register. The recipient will notify the relevant contract manager, who will contact the complainant to report that a complaint has been received, apologise, and assure the client that the complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the timescales set out in the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

Email complaints – the email will be added to our central complaints register and the recipient will notify the relevant contract manager. The contract manager will contact the complainant to report that a complaint has been received, apologise, and assure the client that the complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the timescales set out in the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

The contract manager will open a file on the complaint.

Timescale: Within 4 hours of receipt of the complaint.

Step 2

Once the complaint has been logged on the central register, the LE-LSM system will automatically send a copy of this policy to the complainant to support the investigation process.

The contract manager will assign a risk level (high, medium or low) to the complaint, based on its severity, and will immediately suspend the linguist, updating LE-LSM in respect of current and future bookings.

The contract manager will inform the linguist that a complaint has been received, and that they have been suspended pending investigation. The manager will provide the linguist with a copy of the Complaints Policy and Procedure.

Timescale: Day the complaint is received

Step 3

The contract manager will assess the complaint for breaches of the Linguist Code of Conduct and related policies and will conduct an investigation, holding a meeting/conference call with the linguist to discuss the complaint in detail.

Following the meeting/conference call, the linguist will provide a written statement for the investigation audit trail.

The contract manager will gather evidence and request any further information which may be required from the relevant internal and external parties. They will check the linguist’s profile and records to verify the training the linguist has received.

Copies of any further written communication, and recordings of any further phone calls, will be stored within the complaint file.

The contract manager will maintain regular contact with the linguist throughout the investigation.

Timescale: Day 1-2

Step 4

A senior manager nominated by the Director will assess the evidence gathered and decide on an appropriate outcome, seeking independent advice if necessary.

The nominated manager will make decisions on:

  • Sanctions to be taken against the linguist
  • Termination of the linguist’s contract, where necessary
  • Any changes to be made to internal procedures
  • Complainant compensation, if required
  • Any additional training and development required (either individual or collective).

Timescale: Day 3

Step 5

The contract manager will prepare a response to the complainant which will include:

  • Detailed explanation of the facts determined in the investigation
  • Explanation of the nominated senior manager’s decision
  • Action/s to be taken against the linguist
  • Details of any compensation being offered
  • Any internal procedural changes to be implemented

Timescale: Day 3-4

Step 6

The nominated senior manager will approve the response to the complainant.

Timescale: Day 4

Step 7

The contract manager will send the response detailing the outcome of the complaint to the complainant, making a follow up call within 24 hours to ensure that the complainant has received the email generated by the system. The contract manager will mark the complaint as completed on the LE-LSM system.

Once the complainant has confirmed that they are satisfied with the response, the contract manager will formally close the complaint on the system. The contract manager will communicate the outcome of the investigation to the linguist and either reinstate them (implementing any sanctions) or terminate their employment, as appropriate.

If the complainant states that they are not satisfied with the response, the complaint will be escalated to the senior management team, with appeals ultimately being sent to a Director without direct operational involvement in the contract. Suspension of the linguist will remain in place.

Timescale: Day 4-5

If a complainant is not satisfied with the response provided to them by the contract manager, they should be advised to raise any issues with Language Empire in writing at the address above, including:

  • A statement of the reasons why they are dissatisfied and the further actions they require
  • The reference number of the complaint

The following process will then be applied:

Step 1

The contract manager will contact the complainant to acknowledge receipt of the escalation. The contract manager will complete an internal ‘Further Dispute and Dissatisfaction’ complaints form and send it to a Director without operational involvement in the contract.

If more information about the issue is required, the contract manager may contact the complainant to discuss.

Timescale: Within 1 working day

Step 2

The Director will assess the complaints form and the evidence in the complaint file, and if necessary, consult with independent advisors. The Director will compile a formal response to each point of dissatisfaction, which they will send to the complainant. The Director’s decision is final and there is no further appeal process.

Timescale: Within 5 working days

Step 3

Once the complaint has been resolved, the Director will close the complaint file. The contract manager will either reinstate the linguist (implementing any sanctions and/or other actions as agreed) or terminate their employment, as appropriate.

Managers must update the Complaints Log in real-time. The contract manager will send a copy of the log to the client either on a monthly basis, or at a frequency of the client’s choosing.

The register includes the following:

  • Date of complaint
  • Date acknowledged
  • Name of complainant
  • Name of client
  • Subject of complaint
  • Start date of investigation
  • Date of receipt of report
  • Date of final letter
  • Summary of outcome
  • Action taken internally as a result of complaint

The register is used as a tool to monitor trends and rates of incidence.