COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCEDURE
- To comply with the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019 and EU Directive on consumer ADR.
- To provide a procedure for complaint.
- To state the action which is desirable to overcome the complaint and hopefully notify the client.
- To indicate possible solutions.
- To ensure that complaints are recorded.
- To use complaints as a means of improving systems and procedures.
Complaints Handling Procedure
A complaint is any expression of client dissatisfaction or criticism however it is expressed, with the services provided by the firm.
Clients are informed at the outset by way of a client care letter, that they are entitled to complain.
Identification of Complaints
- Written complaints via incoming post, fax or email.
- Verbal complaints either by telephone or personal attendance.
- Comments added to the Feedback Questionnaire.
The Complaints Partner handles the complaint as set out below:
- RESPOND QUICKLY – Contact the client by return where possible.
- MAKE IT PERSONAL – Meet or telephone the client where necessary.
- GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE CLIENT’S CONCERN – Clarify the issues.
- RESOLVE PROBLEMS QUICKLY – within 14 days if possible.
- RESPOND POSITIVELY – If the complaint is considered to be justified.
- CONFIRM IN WRITING – The firm’s final response to the complaint.
* Complaints may be notified to the Quality Manager or the Practice Director but the Complaints Director will have ultimate responsibility.
The solutions may be:
- An apology.
- An explanation.
- Transfer of the matter to another fee earner.
- A cost concession
- The complaint must be recorded in the Central Complaints Register under the compliance section of the practice management system. A new matter number is opened on the system under entity CMM16 which is the complaints entity listed under the name of Gwyn Lewis. All documentation must be stored in digital format under the relevant matter number.
- A letter of acknowledgement must be forwarded to the client within three days of receipt of the compliant confirming that their concerns are being dealt with under the complaints procedure, a copy of which must be forwarded at the same time.
- Within two days, if the complaint cannot be immediately resolved, a note of the circumstances and proposed action must be noted in the Central Complaints Register.
- Respond to the client within 21 days of receipt of the complaint ensuring copies of correspondence are filed in the Central Complaints Register.
- All other procedures in accordance with the Complaints Procedure – extract below.
What will happen next?
- Your complaint will be acknowledged in writing within two days of receipt.
- We will record your complaint in our central register.
- We will then start to investigate your complaint and the Complaints Partner will reply to your complaint within five working days of receiving it, either to send a detailed reply and a proposed solution or request further information from you.
- Upon receipt of further information, she will investigate further and then write to you again in detail within a further 5 working days.
- You may be invited to a meeting to discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint, if that cannot be achieved in correspondence.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied you can contact us again and the Client Care Principal will review her decision within 5 working days.
- We may arrange as part of this process for someone who has not been involved in dealing with your complaint to review it. We will carry out this review within 10 working days.
- We will let you know the result of the review within 5 working days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and our reason.
- If we are unable to resolve your complaint, then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers. The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern. You must also refer to your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman withing six months of our final response to you. The contact details of the Legal Ombudsman are: email@example.com, telephone: 0300 555 0333. If you are concerned about your solicitors behaviour then you can contact the SRA at sra.org.uk
- Alternative complaints bodies such as Ombudsman Services www.ombudsman-services.org exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services but we do not agree to use this service.