In operating according to the standards required by the Code of Conduct of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), Beyond the Orphanage (BTO) is committed to achieving the highest standard in every area of its work and to continuous improvement.
BTO encourages the public to continually engage in dialogue to help improve the delivery of its services as well as accountability and transparency to its stakeholders. Through a range of mechanisms the public and stakeholders can directly engage with BTO to raise issues, provide feedback and to ask for and receive information about the organization.
BTO recognises the importance and value of listening and responding to inquiries, concerns and complaints. This is one of the most important ways of learning how to improve its work. The Complaints Policy provides an effective, accessible and safe process for stakeholders to raise feedback, a concern or a complaint and receive a response.
2. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
The Complaints Policy is based on the principles of:
- Providing a formal, public and accessible mechanism for receiving and responding to complaints.
- Ensuring that feedback, concerns and complaints are handled effectively, efficiently, objectively and in utmost confidentiality.
- Providing clear, well publicised and easily accessible information about the process for making a complaint to all stakeholders, irrespective of their gender, status or background, and without prejudice to their future participation.
- Fostering, where applicable, an innovative community-orientated complaints handling process that includes training of staff based on continuous improvement.
- Taking special care to train in-country program partners to encourage, receive and respond to feedback, concerns and complaints.
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction made to AHF related to its activities where a response or resolution is requested. A complainant means a person, organisation or its representative making a complaint. A stakeholder refers to a person or group having an interest in, or benefiting from, BTO programs.
4. SCOPE OF POLICY
This Complaints Policy refers to complaints related to the BTO Board, staff, volunteers, program partners, consultants or anyone else acting on behalf of BTO. A concern or complaint may be made by any stakeholder be it an: BTO supporter; a staff member; a volunteer; a consultant; a program partner; an employee of a government authority with whom BTO’s program partners work; or a person affected by BTO services.
This Complaints Policy is distributed to all Directors, staff, volunteers, and program partners. The Policy is also communicated to primary stakeholders as a part of in- country project activities. When working in communities BTO will endeavour to translate the Policy into the local language.
A link to this Policy can be found on the homepage of the BTO website – https://www.beyondtheorphanage.org This provides information about who the complaint can be made about, the required information, the handling process, time frames and feedback processes.
6. PROCESS FOR RECEIVING COMPLAINTS
BTO’s preference is to receive feedback, concerns and complaints in writing or by email. If the complaint is made orally BTO commits to recording the complaint in writing. In all cases the confidentiality and anonymity of the complainant will be respected.
7. HANDLING PROCESS
The BTO CEO has prime responsibility for the management of this Policy and its mechanisms. When a complaint has been made BTO will not take sides, lay blame or become defensive. It will ensure that the complainant is satisfied with the intended process. To determine how the complaint is to be managed BTO will assess it in terms of: severity; health (including mental health) and safety; financial implications; the complexity; the impact on the complainant; systematic implications; and potential timeframes, including the need for and possibility of immediate action.
8. MINOR COMPLAINTS
BTO may receive minor concerns or complaints that may be based on a misconception or insufficient information that can be readily provided or corrected by a member of staff. If the complainant is satisfied with the response the complaint may be considered an enquiry.
9. METHOD OF INVESTIGATION
BTO will make every reasonable effort to investigate all relevant circumstances and information relevant to the complaint. The level of investigation will match the seriousness and frequency of the complaint.
BTO commits to acknowledging written complaints within five working days, and oral complaints immediately. It further aims to resolve complaints within thirty working days. If the complaint is not resolved by then it will inform the complainant of the progress and keep them regularly updated regarding the progress of their complaint.
11. RESPONDING TO A COMPLAINT
Either the CEO, or the BTO staff member delegated by the CEO to investigate the complaint, will normally make the decision in relation to resolving the complaint. Serious complaints may be referred by the CEO to the Board for consideration and decision. The complaint will be addressed in writing or orally in exceptional circumstances in remote rural locations. The complainant will also be asked whether they are satisfied with the decision. If they are not satisfied, a review of the process and decision will be undertaken.
In some cases BTO will advise that the complaint be referred to the Code Committee of ACFID. BTO will provide all necessary information for referral to the Code Committee and offer to assist in referral.
12. OUTCOMES OF COMPLAINTS
In order to learn from complaints BTO will ensure that all relevant personnel are informed of the outcomes of complaints and the implications for the delivery of programs.
BTO will take all required remedial action, be prepared to change the way in which it operates, and commit to further training of staff if necessary. Where needed staff or volunteers will be counselled or disciplined. Where appropriate BTO will consult and take advice from ACFID and/or relevant regulatory/enforcement authorities.
BTO will at all times respect the confidentiality of the complainant.
14. RECORD KEEPING
All complaints will be registered. A record of the complaint will include the date of receipt, a description of the complaint, supporting and related documentation, and details of the response.
15. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT IN COMPLAINT HANDLING
BTO will monitor the effectiveness of its complaints handling on a regular basis and make amendments as appropriate.
16. BTO CONTACT PERSON
A complaint should be addressed to:
Chairman of the Board, Beyond The Orphanage, c/o the Australian Office at Level 10, 179 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia OR by phone on 1300 673 651 or email at complaints[@]beyondtheorphanage.org.
17. PUBLIC COMPLAINTS POLICY
BTO is a member of ACFID and adheres to the ACFID Code of Conduct. As such, BTO draws to the attention of its donors, supporters and members of the public that complaints can be made directly to ACFID if it is believed that BTO has breached any aspect of the ACFID Code of Conduct. Complaints should be marked ‘confidential’ and emailed to:
Chair, ACFID Code of Conduct Committee
Email to: [email protected]
Or posted to:
Chair, ACFID Code of Conduct Committee
Care Of ACFID, Private Bag 3, Deakin ACT 2600