We operate a written complaints handling procedure that is made readily available and accessible to clients when it is apparent that they may wish to have recourse to it. In the rare event that complaints arise, we look to deal with them in a frank and forthright manner and not seek to hide from the difficulty. In addition, our complaints procedure incorporates formal procedures inasmuch as it may not be common sense to identify and respond to complaints. All complaints are centrally kept by the practice for good management and resolution at a high level.
A critical element of our dedication to customer service is ensuring that we have adequate file and case management processes. Central to these processes are the unforgiving maintenance of our clients’ confidentiality and standards for telephone enquiries and how enquiries by correspondence and email are considered and dealt with professionally.
Other aspects that are a requirement for our practice management accreditation include:
- Checking for conflicts between clients, and declining instructions where the interests of one client would potentially conflict with an existing client;
- Ensuring compliance with the Solicitors’ Conduct Rules;
- Keeping our clients informed of the progress of their files;
- Strict adherence to rigorous procedures when dealing with our clients’ finance;
- Orderly management and maintenance of files; and
The firm will treat seriously and will take action where appropriate concerning all complaints of breaches of this policy made by members of the firm, clients, barristers or other third parties. All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the firm’s grievance disciplinary and/or complaints procedures and the complainant will be informed of the outcome.
Mediation will be offered at all points in the process. An independent mediator from either the College of Medicators or the Civil Mediation Council will be instructed. More details of this process are available on request.
My complaints procedure is as follows:
- I will deal with your complaint in the first instance. I will send you a letter/email acknowledging your complaint and ask you to confirm or explain the details. You can expect to receive my letter within two working days of me receiving your complaint.
- I will record your complaint within a day of receiving your complaint.
- When I acknowledge your reply I will confirm what will happen next.
- I will then start to investigate you complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps.
a) If you agree, I will investigate your complaint within 10 days. I will send you my detailed reply or invite you to a meeting to discuss the matter. OR
b) If you agree I will ask another independent professional to investigate your complaint and report to me. I will do this within 3 days.
- I will then write inviting you to meet me and discuss and hopefully resolve your complaint. I will do this within 3 days.
- Within 2 days of the meeting I will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions I have agreed with you. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, I will send you a detailed reply to your complaint. This will include my suggestion for resolving the matter. I will do this within 5 days of completing my investigation.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you can write to me again. I will then arrange to review my decision.
- If you are still not satisfied with your complaint I will either with your consent, ask a member of the Solicitors Sole Practitioners Group or my local Law Society or another solicitor to review your complaint and respond to me within 10 days. I will let you know how long this process will take.
- I will let you know the result of the review within 5 days of the end of the review. At this time I will write to you confirming my final position on your complaint and explaining my reasons. I will also give you the name and address of the Consumer Complaints Service. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact them about your complaint.