It is the policy of The Apple Tree Centre to welcome the views of its associates, volunteers, service users and members of the public about all aspects of its service delivery and the day to day running of the organisation.
Comments and complaints help to ensure that views, preferences, suggestions and concerns are taken into account in the development of its services and, where appropriate, are acted upon. In this respect positive comments are as valuable as negative ones.
The Apple Tree Centre records comments relating to clients’ experiences of using our services. These are stored anonymously, and are collated and monitored within the service. We provide feedback forms for our structured group activities, and a confidential ‘post box’ is available in the waiting room.
Anyone wishing to make comments on any aspect of The Apple Tree Centre’s service delivery or organisation should do so verbally or in writing to the centre’s co-directors Rosie Dymond or Jenny Reid, directly to your counsellor or therapist, or via the waiting room ‘post box’.
If you require a formal response, your comments should be made in writing and Rosie or Jenny will acknowledge receipt as soon as possible (usually within 7 working days) and respond to your comments within 28 working days. If a response can not be made within this period, they will inform you of the reason for the delay and provide you with a full response as soon as possible thereafter.
All complaints will be taken seriously, and we aim to treat our clients with respect and consideration throughout the complaints process. This policy outlines the procedures to follow when things have gone wrong. We aim to:
- Listen carefully to all concerns
- Deal with all complaints promptly, politely and, where appropriate, confidentially
- Respond in the most appropriate way to resolve the cause of the complaint
- Learn from complaints and use them to improve the quality of our service
- If you are unhappy about any aspect of your counselling or therapy, we encourage you to discuss this directly with your therapist in the first instance. Our therapists are trained and supported to work in a person-centred way, including responding appropriately to the needs, wishes and concerns of our clients.
- If you do not feel able to address your concerns with your therapist, or wish to complain about any other aspect of The Apple Tree Centre’s service provision or organisation, you may wish to deal with this informally by discussing your concerns with one of the directors, who should make every effort to resolve the issue with you.
- If you are dissatisfied with the response or if your complaint is of a serious nature which requires a formal response, you should use the following procedure to register a formal complaint. The Directors will, on request, supply you with a copy of the relevant procedure.
All formal complaints should be made in writing (by letter or email) and addressed to the Co-Directors Rosie Dymond and Jenny Reid. When making a formal complaint, it is your responsibility to:
- Bring your complaint promptly to the attention of the Apple Tree Centre Co-Directors;
- Include as much detail as possible to enable us to fully understand the nature and extent of your complaint;
- Include any action which has already been taken, and an explanation of what you require in order to resolve the issue;
- Allow The Apple Tree Centre a reasonable time in which to deal with the complaint.
It is our responsibility to:
- Provide a written acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint within seven days;
- Make appropriately thorough and fair investigations of the complaint;
- Make recommendations and take action where appropriate;
- Inform the complainant of the response to the complaint within 28 days.
All Associate Therapists are members of an appropriate professional body, with its own code of conduct and ethical practice guidelines. Details of these can be provided on request. Any serious concerns about the conduct of a therapist can be passed to the appropriate professional body, with the consent of the complainant.
All information will remain confidential in accordance with the Apple Tree Centre Confidentiality and Record Keeping Policy. However, in exceptional circumstances, the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain complete confidentiality. In this case, if at all possible, the situation will be explained to the complainant before confidentiality is breached.