Our definition of a complaint is:
"any written or verbal expression of dissatisfaction referred to any person in our organisation by the client.
Complaints can be identified through incoming mail, telephone calls, e-mails or faxes.
Examples of complaints could be:
- Dissatisfaction with the handling of a case,
- Disappointment with lack of communication to the client,
- Frustration with the perceived lack of progress of the case,
- Displeasure with the outcome of the case.
- Dissatisfaction with the bill
However, issues of a very minor nature, for example, not returning a non-urgent telephone call until the following day will not be recorded as a complaint.
It is the policy of the firm to ensure that:
- Every complaint made by a client is reported and recorded centrally;
- Every complaint received is responded to appropriately;
- The cause of a problem is identified, appropriate redress is offered, and unsatisfactory procedures are corrected.
All clients are informed in writing of the action they should take if they feel they have grounds for complaint. This letter states:
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- Who the client should contact in the first instance of a problem;
- Who the client should contact if the problem is not resolved.
All complaints are notified to John Dowling in the first instance, who will: -
- Review the matter with the adviser;
- Determine what degree of validity the complaint has;
- Decide how the complaint should be remedied
John Dowling has overall responsibility for handling complaints and carries out an analysis of complaints annually. All practices are obliged to make a copy of their complaints procedure available on request. A copy ofthis procedure is located in the appendix to this manual. The existence of the procedure is referred to in the practice's client care letter and the full complaint procedure will be supplied on request to the client.
If it is necessary to report a complaint, please complete the complaint/problem on file report form and forward it to John Dowling as soon as possible. Client complaints will usually involve no risk of loss to the practice or the client, but if there is any chance that the complaint could amount to circumstances that should be reported to the practice's insurers you must err on the side of caution by reporting it as such.
As required by the complaints procedure John Dowling will consider any complaint received in as objective a manner as possible and seek to resolve the dissatisfaction by liaising with the fee earner concerned reviewing the file and asking the client for further details in writing or by interview and suggesting any appropriate redress. John Dowling will acknowledge all complaints within 21 days of receipt and provide a substantive response within 8 weeks.
Complaints referred by the Legal Ombudsman
It is possible that a client may complain direct to the Legal Ombudsman without first following the procedures given in the previous paragraphs. In such circumstances the Legal Ombudsman will immediately refer the complaint to John Dowling who is the designated liaison Client Care Partner. The normal compla ints procedures will then be followed.
John Dowling will maintain records of all complaints received and action taken on them. John Dowling is also responsible for conducting an annual review of all complaints records to enable identification of any trends. This will form part of an Platinum Partnership Solicitors V 2.8 75 annual management review which is considered by the Partners and reported to all staff. It is essential that all personnel learn from their experience and address any underlying problems. In this way the practice can use its complaints data to he lp to prevent future difficulties.
There may be occasions when a complaint may be made by the practice, either against another solicitor through the Legal Ombudsman or through other procedures. The agreement of John Dowling is needed before doing so in order that the professional and commercial standing of the practice can first receive proper consideration.
We are keen to ensure that users receive a first class service from all members of our team.
We measure this by using a client satisfaction questionnaire that includes the following areas:
- Approachability and friendliness of the service provided;
- Keeping the user informed;
- Managing the case in a competent and timely manner;
- Explanation of information and advice;
- Diligence and concern for the user.
The questionnaire is given to the client at the conclusion of the case. It will be at the fee earner's discretion whether to supply the client with a pre-paid envelope or to ask the client to complete the questionnaire at our offices.
The data is analysed by Nasreen Karim on an annual basis.
The findings of the questionnaires are considered annually as part of the business planning