Public Complaints Policy

DATE IMPLEMENTED:      October 8, 2020

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Policy

This policy outlines a transparent process for members of the general public to express concerns regarding SPRC programs, services, operations and/or staff performance and code of conduct. Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC) is committed to providing quality service and accountability to its public stakeholders. We welcome feedback on aspects of our services and view this as integral to quality improvement and professional development. 

SPRC takes seriously every complaint that is brought forward and welcomes feedback on its services, programs, policies, actions and activities and those of its representatives.  SPRC views expressions of concern as healthy and something that ultimately helps our organization improve the quality of our services.  We believe that individuals who bring forward complaints and concerns should be heard and every effort made to resolve concerns quickly and fairly.  

Generally, complaint resolution can be done informally at the time of initial contact between staff and the public. This policy refers to complaints that are escalated and whereby the complaint has not been resolved and/or the complainant is dissatisfied with the process or outcome of an informal process.

Applicability

This policy is for any person who has received or is currently receiving a service from SPRC as well as community stakeholders, funders or anyone impacted by the services we deliver or our agency policies.  This includes those who have been impacted by the actions or inactions of the council or its representatives. 

Complaint – A written or verbal communication of dissatisfaction which has not been resolved informally through discussion with the employee directly involved and has been escalated within the organization.  Complaints may include but are not limited to concerns regarding a staff member, service delivery, inaction regarding an area of agency responsibility, concerns regarding operations, policy or practice or procedure.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy and procedure is to provide clear guidelines for handling public complaints.

Procedure

Complaints may be received in writing or orally. The SPRC commits to handling public complaints in a timely and efficient manner. 

Verbal complaints can be made as follows:

  1. Telephone the Executive Director at the SPRC office or,
  2. Schedule an appointment in-person, with the Executive Director.  Individuals may bring with them support persons as they deem appropriate and will be asked to provide names of those attending in advance.

Written complaints can be made as follows:

  1. Submit the complaint in writing and in as much detail as possible to the Executive Director. Written complaints may be received by email, postal service, courier or hand delivery to the SPRC office during regular business hours.    

In the absence of the Executive Director, complaints should be directed to the Associate Executive Director.

If the complaint concerns the Executive Director, individuals may contact the President of the Board.

Documentation

All complaints will be documented. In the case of verbal complaints, the person receiving the complaint will provide a full documented account of the concerns noted and review this with the complainant for accuracy.

Response

Complaints will be acknowledged within three (3) working days of receipt. All complaints will be investigated. Investigations may be conducted internally or where appropriate, utilizing an external resource.

All efforts will be made to resolve complaints within 21 days. In circumstances where this is not possible, the complainant will be kept abreast of adjusted timelines.

No Reprisal

SPRC will not withhold or jeopardize services due to a complaint being filed, and SPRC representatives are prohibited from engaging in any reprisal measures against the complainant.

Contact information:

Kim Martin, Executive Director

Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

350 King Street East, Unit 104

Hamilton, Ontario

L8N 3Y3

kmartin@sprc.hamilton.on.ca

(905) 522-1148 X 103

Dom Cocco, President of the Board

c/o Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

350 King Street East, Unit 104

Hamilton, Ontario

L8N 3Y3

(905) 633-4907 

Should individuals require accommodations to facilitate this process, please notify SPRC of the accommodations required.

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