Complaints and feedback mangement policy

1.    Introduction

1.1  Purpose

This policy is intended to ensure that Swing Dance Adelaide (SDA) handles complaints and feedback fairly, efficiently and effectively.

This policy provides guidance to association members, committee members, and people who wish to make a complaint or provide feedback on the key principles guiding our management of complaints and feedback.

1.2  Scope

This policy applies to all of SDA’s association members, committee members, event staff (paid and volunteer), DJs, teachers and attendees or participants in SDA events or activities. This policy applies to events (such as social dances, workshops, classes, and social gatherings) managed by SDA as well as its online platforms (inclusive of the SDA website and its social media pages/groups).

All handling of complaints and feedback will align with the SDA Association Rules and with the SDA Code of Conduct.

1.3  Roles and responsibilities

Who Commitment How
SDA Executive (Chair, Secretary, Public Officer, Treasurer) Promote a culture that takes complaints and feedback seriously, responds effectively, and supports a cycle of continuous improvement

Report to the association on SDA’s complaint handling

Provide support and direction to committee members responsible for handling complaints and feedback

Encourage committee members to be alert to complaints and to support their prompt and effective resolution

Encourage committee members to make recommendations for system improvements

Support the implementation of recommendations for improving SDA’s events and activities, committee proceedings, and complaints handling processes

SDA Committee members Demonstrate good complaints and feedback management practice

Treat all people with respect, including people who make complaints or provide feedback

Assist people to make a complaint or provide feedback

Comply with SDA’s Code of Conduct and Complaints and Feedback Management Policy and Procedure in responding to complaints and feedback

Respond promptly and work to resolve complaints effectively

Provide suggestions on improvements to complaints and feedback management practices

Implement changes arising from individual complaints and recommendations made to improve SDA complaints and feedback management policy and procedure

SDA Sub-committee members Understand and comply with SDA’s complaints and feedback management practices

Treat all people with respect, including people who make complaints

Comply with SDA’s Code of Conduct, and Complaints and Feedback Management Policy and Procedure

Provide suggestions on improvements to complaints and feedback management practices

Assist committee members handling complaints and feedback to resolve matters promptly (as required) 

Support the SDA committee in implementing changes arising from individual complaints and recommendations made to improve SDA complaints and feedback management policy and procedure (as required)

All SDA association members Understand and comply with SDA’s complaints and feedback management practices

Treat all people with respect, including people who make complaints

Comply with SDA’s Code of Conduct, and Complaints and Feedback Management Policy and Procedure

Assist committee members handling complaints and feedback to resolve matters promptly (as required)

 

2.    Terms and definitions

Complaint

An expression of dissatisfaction made to or about SDA, its events, activities, online platforms, committee members, association members or handling of complaints where a response or resolution is explicitly expected or legally required.

Complaints and feedback management system

All policies, procedures, practices, staff, hardware or software used by SDA in the management of complaints or feedback.

Dispute

An unresolved complaint escalated either within or outside of SDA.

Feedback

Opinions, comments and expression or interest or concern, made either directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly, to or about SDA, its events or activities, online platforms, or complaints and feedback management system where a response is not explicitly expected or legally required.

Grievance

A clear, formal written statement by an SDA association member or committee member about another association or committee member or SDA’s committee or sub-committee proceedings.

Online platforms

Online platforms refer to SDA’s online spaces, including its website and its social media pages, groups and profiles.

Policy

A statement of instruction that sets out how SDA will fulfil its vision, mission, and objectives.

Procedure

A statement of instruction that sets our how SDA’s policies will be implemented and by whom.

3.    Guiding principles

SDA, in managing complaints and feedback, will:

  • Facilitate complaints and provision of feedback
  • Acknowledge and respond to complaints and feedback
  • Manage and resolve complaints

3.1  Facilitate complaints and provision of feedback

SDA is committed to seeking and receiving complaints and feedback about its events, activities, online platforms, practices, procedures and complaints handling.

Concerns raised in feedback or complaints will be responded to within a reasonable timeframe.

People making complaints or providing feedback will be:

  • provided with information about SDA’s complaints and feedback management process and how to access it
  • listened to, treated with respect by the SDA committee, and be actively involved in the complaint process where appropriate
  • provided with reasons for any decisions made by SDA and options for review of that decision

No detriment to people making complaints

SDA will take reasonable steps to ensure that people making complaints or providing feedback are not adversely affected because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf

Anonymous complaints

SDA will accept anonymous complaints if there is a compelling reason to do so and will carry out a confidential investigation of the issues raised where there is enough information provided. In these circumstances it should be noted that SDA’s response may be limited where an individual making a complaint has chosen to remain anonymous.

Accessibility

Information about SDA’s complaints and feedback management processes will be available to association members and the general public through:

  • SDA’s online platforms; and
  • at SDA-managed events and activities

SDA will ensure that systems for managing complaints are easily understood and accessible to everyone.

If a person prefers or needs another person to support them in making or resolving  their complaint, SDA will communicate with them through their support person if they wish. Anyone may represent a person wishing to make a complaint or provide feedback to SDA with their consent.

3.2  Respond to complaints and feedback

Early resolution

Where possible, complaints will be resolved at first contact with SDA. Where appropriate, SDA may offer an explanation or apology to the person making the complaint or providing feedback.

Responsiveness

SDA will promptly acknowledge receipt of complaints. SDA will assess and prioritise complaints based on the seriousness and urgency of the issues raised. If a matter concerns an immediate risk to safety, the response will be immediate and will be escalated appropriately.

SDA is committed to ensuring that people making complaints and feedback are aware of what to expect as part of the complaints process. SDA will, in acknowledging complaints, inform them as soon as possible of:

  • the complaints and feedback management process
  • what SDA’s timeframes are for responding to the complaint or feedback
  • progress of the complaint and reasons for any delays
  • their likely involvement in the process
  • the possible outcome of the complaint or feedback

SDA will advise people as soon as possible when SDA is unable to manage any part of their complaint or respond to their feedback (in cases where the complaint or feedback falls outside of the scope of this policy) and provide advice on where they may direct their complaint or feedback (if known and appropriate).

SDA will advise people as soon as possible of any delay to responding to a complaint or feedback and the reasons for the delay.

Objectivity and fairness

SDA will address each complaint with integrity and as far as possible ensure that complaints and feedback are managed equitably, objectively, and without bias.

SDA will ensure that in cases where a complaint has been made about a committee member, that committee member will not be included in committee proceedings for responding to and resolving that complaint.

Conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, will be managed responsibly.

Responding flexibly

SDA will respond to complaints promptly and with as little formality as possible. SDA will adopt flexible approaches to problem solving to ensure that the complaints and feedback management process.

SDA will assess each complaint on its merits and involve people making complaints and/or their support person in the process as far as possible.

Confidentiality

SDA will protect the identity of people making complaints where this is practical and appropriate.

Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed or used by SDA as permitted under relevant privacy laws, secrecy provisions and any relevant confidentiality obligations.

3.3  Manage and resolve complaints

Complaints involving other organisations

Where a complaint involves other organisations (such as swing dance schools or event organisers working in partnership with SDA on an SDA-managed event or activity), SDA will work with the other organisation/s where possible to ensure that communication with the person making the complaint is clear and well coordinated.

Subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations, communication and information sharing between SDA and other organisations will be organised to facilitate a timely response to the complaints.

Where a complaint is made regarding another organisation and where SDA has no involvement, SDA will refer the complainant to that organisation for a response.

Empowerment of SDA committee members

SDA committee members are empowered to implement SDA’s complaints and feedback management system and are encouraged to provide feedback on the effectiveness and efficiency of all aspects of SDA’s complaints and feedback management systems.

Managing unreasonable conduct by people making complaints

SDA is committed to providing an accessible and responsive system for complaints and feedback management. SDA’s success in responding to complaints and feedback effectively relies on:

  • SDA’s ability to perform its functions in the most effective and efficient way possible
  • the health, safety and security of SDA’s committee and association members
  • SDA’s ability to allocate time and resources fairly to complaints and feedback.

When people behave unreasonable in their dealings with SDA, their conduct can significantly affect the progress and efficiency of SDA’s work. SDA will take proactive and decisive action to manage any conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects SDA and will support the SDA committee to do the same in accordance with this policy.

Levels of complaint handling

Informal complaints

SDA will aim to respond to complaints and feedback early and at first contact. This may occur at an event or activity managed by SDA (where a complaint or feedback is raised directly with an SDA event or activity manager) or on its online platforms (through moderation of posts and interactions made by association members or members of the general public). Wherever possible, SDA committee and sub-committee members will be adequately equipped to respond to complaints and feedback, including being given appropriate authority and training.

All complaints and feedback managed at this level will be reported to the SDA committee.

Formal complaints

Where a complaint is unable to be resolved at first contact, the complaint will be raised in writing to SDA and will be responded to by the SDA committee. This response will include:

  • assessment and possible investigation of the complaint and any decision/s already made and/or
  • facilitated resolution (where committee members not connected to the complaint attempt to achieve resolution and find an outcome acceptable to the relevant parties)

4.      Accountability and Learning

4.1   Continuous improvement

SDA is committed to improving how it operates, including management of the effectiveness and efficiency of its complaints management system. SDA will:

  • Support people to make complaints and facilitate appropriate complaint resolution
  • Implement good practice for complaints handling
  • Regularly review the complaint management system; and
  • Implement appropriate system changes arising out of complaints resolution processes and continual monitoring

 

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