Complaints Policy

Policy Statement

Richard House strives to ensure that all its services are delivered to a consistently high standard. However diligent and skillful our staff and volunteers are, there will inevitably be circumstances where service users or other stakeholders expectations have not been met.
It is in the best interests of service users/other stakeholders and the organisation that concerns or complaints are resolved as quickly and professionally as possible. Complainants should be able to express their views both negative and positive with the knowledge that they will be taken seriously, treated equitably and in a speedy and effective way.

Values, philosophy and quality

Our eight core values provide a framework in which to work, and this is expressed fully in our philosophy of care.
We have adopted five key working principles:

  1. To understand and take heed of the concept of Servant Leadership as we undertake the role of a hub for children’s palliative care supporting the local community of East London.
  2. To adopt a partnership approach with families and young people as we aim to support them within their own culture, traditions, needs and preferences.
  3. To embrace a compassionate attitude as we continue to use the various policies, procedures, statutory regulations and other guidelines, thus not allowing bureaucracy to dominate our work unnecessarily.
    To be flexible and adaptable in how we support children, young people and their families.
  4. To be courageous in how we progress the model of care agreed by Richard House and to be open to adjusting or amending the model if families and young people do not find it supportive or where it does not make a difference in their aspiration to lead enhanced family lives.
  5. The Complaints procedure is designed to be responsive and flexible to address the issues identified by the complainant. All complaints will be dealt with as soon as possible with a full record taken and passed to the Chief Executive for information and review.
    Richard House will ensure that all complaints where appropriate will be used in a way to improve the services offered. In all upheld complaints, action must be taken to rectify the cause of the complaint with lessons being learnt and communicated to the complainant and others, to inform best practice.
  • If a service user wishes to complain, please advise them to do so as soon as possible. Complaints will normally only be investigated if received within 6 months of the incident.
  • One of the principles of our Complaints Policy is to provide an accessible system that enables anyone to tell us about any concerns they have. This may involve using different communication methods such as the services of an interpreter if one is needed.
  • An important principle of our Complaints Policy is that we do discourage complaints being made anonymously, because this makes it difficult to investigate properly and impossible to respond to the person making the complaint. However, we will always consider anonymous complaints, but this is likely to be on a more limited basis than would otherwise be possible.
  • This policy sets out the way in which complaints within Richard House are managed. It emphasizes the importance of immediate resolution and the need for all staff to be responsive to concerns expressed by children, young people, their families, any member of the general public, or member of staff or volunteer. It is therefore applicable in both clinical and non-clinical settings. It applies to all staff and volunteers.


  • Richard House is responsible for ensuring that all service users/stakeholders are made aware of their right to make a complaint without prejudice.
  • The Chief Executive holds overall responsibility for the management of complaints.
  • The senior management teams are responsible for ensuring that all their staff and volunteers are aware of and implement this policy.
    Staff and volunteers are responsible for implementing this policy and for raising any issues that may affect the implementation to their manager.



Verbal Complaints

All verbal complaints, whenever possible will be dealt with as soon as possible. In most cases, this will be face to face with the individual who has cause for making a complaint. If the matter cannot be resolved in discussion with the complainant, then the complainant must put their concerns in writing. If the complainant is talking directly with a member of staff (in person or over the telephone), the member of staff must refer the individual to a more senior member of staff or the SMT member on call. This staff member will then must take notes of the concerns raised, including the date, time, any other person(s) involved, as well as summary of the complaint itself.

Written Complaints

  • Once the Hospice has received a written complaint (either directly from the complainant or through a note taken by a member of staff – see above), the Head of the Department under which the complaint falls, will in the first instance telephone the complainant to see if the complaint can be resolved, in the event that this cannot be resolved the SMT member will refer the complaint to the Chief Executive who will decide who should be appointed to lead an investigation. The designated officer chosen to investigate the complaint will then be briefed, and will be allowed access to all staff and volunteers, and any documentation relevant to the matter.
  • The lead person holding the investigation will provide a written acknowledgment letter to the complainant, within five working days, acknowledging receipt of the complaint and attaching a copy of the complaints procedure.
  • Where the investigation is still in process after 20 days, a letter explaining the reason for the delay is sent to the complainant.
  • A full response will be made within 5 days of a conclusion being reached.


  • The complainant has the right to respond once a full explanation has been offered, and when appropriate, an apology extended. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint, then he/she has the right to request a further investigation which will be carried out by the next most senior level within Richard House (this may include a member of the Board of Trustees).
  • If the complainant is not happy with the response, and their complaint is regarding the care received at Richard House, they can register a complaint with the Care Quality Commission on the number below.
    Tel: 03000 616161

Should the complainant feel they have been discriminated against and are not happy at the end of the process outlined above, they can gain advice and support from:

Equality and Human Rights Commission Disability Helpline
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 9BR

Telephone: 08457 622 633

Should the complaint be about how Richard House is run and they are not happy at the end of the process outlined above, they can gain advice and support from:

Charity Commission
Direct PO Box 1227
L69 3UG

Telephone: 0845 3000 218

Communication & Training

All staff and volunteers will be informed of the above guidance, and new staff will become aware of the Complaints Policy at the time of their induction to Richard House.
Briefing will be provided to all staff on:

  • What is a complaint, particularly informal complaints
  •  How to receive a complaint
  •  How to deal with someone making a complaint