At Cardiff Institute for the Blind, we’re committed to protecting your online privacy and encouraging our customer/service-users to give us feedback.
Information that can identify you is called “personal information”. Personal information can include your name, birthdate, email address, postal address, telephone numbers, fax numbers and credit or debit card details.
We collect your personal information when you fill in forms on our website, sign up for our email newsletter, make donations or otherwise give us your personal information while using this website.
How do we use your information?
We reserve the right to share your personal information if we are ever in a situation where we are legally obliged to. We also reserve the right to apply our terms and conditions to your personal information. Any information we collect is stored in the UK.
Unfortunately, no data transmission over the internet is ever 100% secure, so we are not able to guarantee the security of the information you transmit to us – you do so at your own risk. That said, we do have stringent security features that protect information that we collect from unauthorised access.
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Changes to this policy
Customer Feedback Policy
1.1. We are committed to providing the best possible service to our customers. Critical to this is ensuring that customers can feedback on the service they have received in a way that suits them; their views are listened to and acted on; and they know their views have been listened to and acted on. It is vital for us to know when our services are (or are not) meeting customer needs and expectations.
1.2. This policy covers RNIB, Action for Blind People, Cardiff Institute for the Blind (CIB), RNIB Three Spires Academy, BucksVision and any third party providing a service on our behalf.
1.3. This policy focuses on customer feedback received from individuals about specific services or actions within these organisations. It does not cover when we proactively seek customer feedback, for example via surveys, focus groups or through our membership and co-production structures, although it does cover any specific customer issues identified through these mechanisms.
1.4. Our values underpin the policy.
1.5. The policy is also underpinned by the following principles:
- The customer is at the heart of the process and we will respond in a helpful and flexible way to what the customer needs;
- We welcome all feedback from customers as it helps us improve services to people with sight loss;
- We will resolve complaints as quickly as possible. All feedback should be acknowledged within 24 hours or sooner if possible (including at all stages of the complaints process);
- We will always communicate with customers in their preferred format and method including meeting with customers in person;
- It is the customer who determines whether their query has been responded to satisfactorily;
- We will accurately and promptly record all types of feedback internally so the data can be used for the benefit of customers and the organisation in future;
- We promise to treat customers in accordance with our values and with courtesy, fairness and respect. We will respect the right to their complaint being kept confidential;
- An individual who makes a complaint has the right to do so with the support of an advocate or other support.
2. Providing Feedback
2.1. We welcome feedback on all our services and activities, whether positive or critical. We are committed to communicating with our customers in ways they find accessible and comfortable.
2.2. We will accept customer feedback, including complaints, in any appropriate way. This could be by letter, e-mail, online, in person, or by telephone. Customers can:
- direct their feedback or complaint directly to the service or officer their feedback is concerned with. This will often mean the feedback is dealt with more quickly, especially if it is a complaint;
- submit their feedback via the Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected];
- submit their feedback via [email protected];
- contact us via social media such as Facebook and Twitter; or
- write to one of the following addresses:
2.2.1. RNIB Head Office
105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE;
2.2.2. Action for Blind People Head Office
2.2.3. RNIB Cymru (Wales)
2.2.4. Cardiff Institute for the Blind
- Jones Court, Womanby Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BR
(T: 029 2039 8900/[email protected])
2.2.5. RNIB Scotland
12-14 Hillside Crescent, Edinburgh, EH7 5EA
(T: 0131 652 3140/ [email protected])
2.2.6. RNIB Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man
Victoria House,15-17 Gloucester Street, Belfast, BT1 4LS
(T: 028 9032 9373/ [email protected])
2.2.7. RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning and RNIB Three Spires Academy
Wheelwright Lane, Ash Green, Coventry, CV7 9RA (T: 024 7636 9500/ [email protected] )
143 Meadowcroft, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 9HH
(T: 01296 487 55/ [email protected])
2.3. In some cases, such as in our care homes, the customer may want to raise a complaint with the relevant Regulator acting as the complainant. We will ensure that mechanisms are in places to enable this.
3. Handling positive feedback
3.1. We will make sure that feedback is shared with the staff members and volunteers who delivered the service so that we can ensure we continue to provide a service that is meeting customer need.
3.2. We will also ensure that any positive feedback from our customers is shared with the staff, volunteer(s) and team(s) that provided the service so that their hard work is appreciated.
3.3. Staff who receive positive feedback directly from a service user should make their manager aware of it as soon as possible. The manager will then ensure the feedback is shared with other members of the team and, if it is a particularly significant piece of feedback, will also ensure that their manager is made aware of it.
3.4. Service managers will keep records of positive feedback and the services it relates to.
4. Handling complaints
4.1. Whilst we aim to provide a high level of service in all areas of our work, occasionally we may fall short of the standards we set ourselves or those our customers have come to expect of us. Customers may wish to express dissatisfaction about the standard of a service provided by us, as well as the actions or lack of action by our staff, volunteers or a contractor acting on our behalf. If we promise to do something and we fail to do it, customers have the right to complain to us.
4.2. This section sets out guidelines for all staff and volunteers to follow when handling customer complaints. We will make all staff and volunteers aware of this policy and it will be published on the RNIB, Action for Blind People and Cardiff Institute for the Blind websites. The policy is available to any customer who wishes to see a copy.
4.3. Resolving Customer Complaints
4.3.1. Resolving complaints as close as possible to the point of service delivery means we can deal with them locally and quickly. Where possible we will deal with and correct any errors as soon as possible and, if appropriate, apologise quickly. This encourages customers to keep using our services and helps us to learn lessons and improve our services. In responding to complaints, we will comply with all specific regulatory requirements that apply to specific services such as our education and care services.
4.3.2. We will assure our customers that if they tell us something is wrong we will:
- Try to resolve any complaint as soon as possible and within the time frames set out in this policy;
- Explain our complaints process in plain English, Welsh or in a language of the customer’s choice (where possible and appropriate and subject to regulatory requirements);
- Tell the right people in the organisation and keep a copy of the customer feedback so that improvements can be made where they need to be;
- Let customers know what action we have taken and keep them informed of progress;
- If the customer prefers a more ‘informal approach’ at stage 1, such as a phone call or brief discussion, we will do this.
4.3.3. Each team is responsible for ensuring that any decisions and outcomes are also passed on to staff as well as customers. This includes feeding back to staff who are involved in the complaint (i.e. the complaint was directed against them) as well as feeding back more general conclusions to the wider staff group (and volunteers).
4.3.4. There are three stages to our complaints procedure. Flexibility and discretion may be required in applying this policy but the usual course of action should be to follow these stages.
4.4. Stage 1
4.4.1. Stage 1 complaints should be handled by the relevant Service Manager. Wherever a complaint is received, it should be passed to the relevant Service Manager responsible for the service that is being complained about. It is the Service Manager’s responsibility to record and log the complaint. Where appropriate, service managers may nominate a suitable alternate to investigate the complaint (their nominee). Where possible we should try to ensure that a complaint is handled by one individual within each stage so the customer has one point of contact.
4.4.2. After acknowledgement, resolution of the complaint should be achieved within five working days of receipt of the complaint. (If the complaint was received on a non-working day i.e. a weekend or on a public holiday then day one will be the next working day).
4.4.3. The Service Manager or their nominee should follow the following steps at stage 1:
- Assess the nature of the issue;
- Ask the customer what outcome they would like to achieve;
- Respond sensitively to the complainant and, if possible, resolve the complaint straight away – this could be done face to face or by telephone, although in both cases it should be followed up in writing;
- If the complaint can’t be dealt with immediately, then we will explain to the customer what process we will take and when it will be resolved;
- If appropriate, explain the complaints procedure to the customer.
4.4.4. The response to the complainant should set out what action the customer can expect from us including, if appropriate, how services will be improved as a result of the feedback. If there is specific feedback for members of staff or volunteers, then that will be directed to the individuals concerned with any appropriate action taken in line with our HR policies.
4.4.5. If the Service Manager believes the complaint to be sufficiently serious, if it cannot be resolved at stage 1, or if the complainant is dissatisfied with our response, it should be referred to stage 2.
4.4.6. The customer will be informed about what steps they can take if they are not satisfied with the outcome of stage 1.
4.4.7. Within the regulated services such as our care homes, a record of ‘low level’ issues and comments is kept within the service. We will aim to resolve these issues within the local management team and a record will be reflected in team’s monthly monitoring. Therefore not all of this feedback will be dealt with at stage 1.
4.5. Stage 2
4.5.1. Stage 2 complaints will be dealt with by the relevant Head of Service, Director or Country Director (or an appropriate nominee).
4.5.2. Complaints that progress to this stage of the procedure will be typically more complex or require a more detailed examination. These complaints may already have been considered at stage 1, or may have been identified from the start as needing more thorough investigation by a senior manager.
4.5.3. A complaint should be escalated to stage 2 when:
- frontline resolution was tried, but the customer remains dissatisfied and requests further action;
- the customer refuses to take part in the frontline resolution process;
- the issues raised are complex and require detailed investigation;
- the complaint relates to serious, high-risk or high-profile issues;
- the complaint is about the individual or Service Manager who dealt with the initial stage; or
- there is a safeguarding concern. In this instance, the safeguarding elements of the complaint should be handled in line with our Safeguarding policy.
4.5.4. At stage 2, we should aim to establish all the facts relevant to the complaint and give customers a full, objective and proportionate response. It is important to discuss and confirm the points captured in stage 1 with customers, as it is critical to establish why they are dissatisfied and what outcome they are seeking.
4.5.5. A full response will be provided to them and this will be followed up in writing, i.e. via letter or e-mail, as soon as possible. We will get back to customers no later than 20 working days from when the complaint has been received at stage 2.
4.5.6. Our response will address all areas of the complaint for which we are responsible, and explain the reasons for our decision. We will also communicate this outcome to relevant staff and volunteers so that any recommended action can be taken to address the customer’s concerns.
4.5.7. The customer will be informed about what steps they can take if they are not satisfied with the outcome of stage 2.
4.5.8. It may be appropriate at both stage 2 and 3 for a member of staff who is not directly involved in the management of the service to manage the complaint. For example if the customer asks for an ‘independent’ person to investigate. Provision should be made to enable this to happen.
4.6. Stage 3
4.6.1. If the customer remains dissatisfied with the resolution provided by a Senior Manager at Stage 2, they can ask for a review. The customer should, wherever possible, request this within three months of the notification of outcome of Stage 2. However, we should be prepared to consider requests for a review outside this timescale in exceptional circumstances.
4.6.2. It will be the responsibility of the relevant Group Director, Managing Director, or Chief Executive (or their nominee) with responsibility for the relevant service to handle the final stage review and ensure a suitable and appropriate process for the review is agreed with the customer and followed. Unless circumstances make it inappropriate, this review should be conducted in partnership with a customer representative. We will establish a panel of customer representatives which may include representatives drawn from the Customer Council. All investigations should take place and resolved within 20 working days of the customer’s request.
4.6.3. The Chief Executive, Director or their nominee should review how the complaint has been handled up to this point. As part of the process, it is suggested to meet the complainant to understand in detail their concerns.
4.6.4. They should decide whether to uphold, partially uphold or not uphold the outcomes from the previous investigation of the complaint and identify any further actions that need to be taken.
4.6.5. The Chief Executive or Director responsible should communicate the outcome to the complainant via their preferred method of contact and this outcome should be followed up and confirmed with them in writing, i.e. by letter or e-mail where possible. Any action and outcomes should be recorded and formally notified to the customer. It is the responsibility of the individual handling this stage to log details of the complaint and outcome and ensure any actions are carried out. The outcome should also be communicated to all relevant staff, volunteers and teams so that any necessary action which needs to be taken is taken.
4.7. Further appeals
4.7.1. Stage 3 will be the final stage of our complaints procedure. If the customer remains dissatisfied with the complaint or the way in which it was handled, then they have the right to contact our External Regulator the Charity Commission (England and Wales), the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland or in Scotland, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).
4.7.2. For educational establishments or services regulated by the Care Quality Commission or Scottish Care Inspectorate, there are specific requirements which must be complied with.
4.8. Extensions to the normal timescales
4.8.1. In exceptional circumstances it may be impossible for us to achieve the timescales we have detailed in this process. The reasons for an extension might include the following:
- essential accounts or statements, required to establish the circumstances of the case, are needed from staff, volunteers, customers or others, but they cannot help because of long-term sickness or leave;
- it is not possible to obtain further essential information within normal timescales;
- operations are disrupted by unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances, for example industrial action; or
- severe weather conditions.
4.8.2. The person responsible for handling the complaint should keep the complainant updated on the reason for the delay and agree with them a revised timescale for completion. During stage 2 and 3 of the complaints process then this should be on a weekly basis.
4.8.3. Extending the investigation period should be very much the exception rather than the rule, and we will always try to deliver a final response within the timescales set out in this document for each stage.
5. Communicating with staff and volunteers
5.1. It is important to ensure that all feedback is communicated to relevant staff and volunteers so that the feedback received from customers can be used in the best possible way to improve our services.
5.2. This should ideally be verbally so that the staff members, volunteers and/or teams have the opportunity to discuss the feedback. Therefore if any changes to how a service is being delivered need to be made, this means the staff members, volunteers or teams can fully understand how this is going to be achieved.
6. Recording Feedback
6.1. As well as keeping written records of all complaints, we should record and report quarterly details of all customer feedback, to our most senior managers. This is to ensure that our most senior managers are aware of the levels of customer feedback that we are receiving.
6.2. Complaints need to be recorded as soon as the feedback is received. It is also the responsibility of managers to record feedback on each directorate’s scorecards, including:
- The total number of complaints received by stage;
- The proportion of complaints that are resolved by the deadlines within each stage and their outcomes.
6.3. Complaints must be fully resolved or closed and not merely acknowledged within the deadlines specified at each stage. These statistics will also be reported on the RNIB Group scorecard, covering figures for the number of complaints at all three stages. Directorates may wish to collect additional information, such as information about the nature of the complaints they receive, and should make provision for this on their scorecard.