Australia HOPE International Inc believes a well-organised and managed complaints policy will provide information that will identify areas and systems within our organisation that need to be improved to lift the overall quality and accountability of our operations and strengthen the overall confidence of all stakeholders. We acknowledge any stakeholder, without limitation, has the right to lodge a complaint. We welcome any feedback which may come through the complaints process and will be proactive in quickly and positively responding to all complaints received.
We acknowledge the long-term value of complaints and will ensure the process is effective, confidential, free of cost to the complainant, and accessible to all stakeholders irrespective of their gender, status, or background and without any prejudice to any future involvement with our organisation.
Our commitment to this policy will ensure our commitment to transparency and strengthen the overall accountability of our organisation to all of our stakeholders.
Australia HOPE International Inc regards complaints as “any expression of dissatisfaction about our organisation, our staff, our volunteers, our partners, or anyone else acting on our behalf of Australia HOPE International Inc”. The complaint can be, without any limitation, about a project, program, staff member, volunteer, distribution of funds raised, fundraising activity, partner, or promotional activity
This policy will set in place systems and procedures:
- To record and deal with complaints in a timely and efficient manner by the use of a standard, but adaptable format;
- To provide an easy to follow the path through multiple mediums for the lodgement of complaints by members, sponsors, donors, the community, partners, and other stakeholders;
- To obtain detailed feedback from complainants to identify areas where we may have failed and need improvement;
- To confirm to all of our stakeholders we can be fallible but are willing to team from errors and move towards even stronger relationships in the future.
3.0 Scope of Policy
This policy will apply to any complaint regardless of who the complainant is. This includes, without limitation, members, donors, sponsors, staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, government agencies, the community at large, or partners. Complaints can be made about any aspects of our international programs and projects, reporting, our fundraising, and promotional activities. Examples could include a complaint from a donor regarding the distribution of donated funds, a complaint from a partner regarding the overall management of a project, or a query from a government agency in a host country regarding land use.
3.1 Publicising our complaints policy
The policy is available on our website www.ahi.org.au
To ensure as wide as possible visibility and exposure of our policy and maximum access for any complaint to be lodged.
- Copies will be available from our main office 72 Main Road Nairne SA 5252.
- All partners will be made aware of the policy and procedures.
- Our annual report will contain a summary of complaints for the previous year together with a summary of outcomes (without mentioning individual complaints).
Australia HOPE International Inc will
- Maintain a formal complaints procedure to ensure that all complaints are responded to in a timely and impartial fashion.
- Maintain an ongoing log of all complaints.
- Continually analyse all complaints to see where processes have failed and outcomes can be improved.
- Encourage all stakeholders and members of the community who have a complaint in relation to any aspect of the organisation or to the actions of a volunteer or staff member/partner to express this through the detailed procedures set out in this document.
- Complaints are to be addressed in a confidential manner. Only the people directly involved in making, investigating, or resolving a complaint will have access to information about it.
- Ensure that the complaint investigation process is impartial. No assumptions will be made nor any action taken until all relevant information from all parties has been collected and considered.
- The interests of the complainant will be foremost in our assessment of a complaint.
- Ensure that any complaint is free of repercussions for the complainant. Australia HOPE International Inc will take all necessary steps to ensure that no victimisation occurs against anyone who makes a complaint.
- The Chief Executive Officer will be responsible for managing the complaints procedure and will ensure that complaints are promptly considered and resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant.
- Where the actions of the Chief Executive Officer are the subject of the complaint, the full board will be responsible for assessing and responding to the complaint. The CEO will be excluded from any deliberations. Likewise, when a complaint is directed against any board member or staff, or volunteer, they will be excluded from the assessment and response.
- Australia HOPE International Inc shall ensure that all stakeholders as well as other members of the broader community are able to directly contact the Chief Executive Officer should they wish to do so.
- All information relating to a complaint will be kept in a Complaints Register, a complaints log with a copy on individual files if appropriate. Australia HOPE International Inc shall ensure that all staff, including volunteers, are aware of this policy and its related procedures.
- Australia HOPE International Inc will ensure that all stakeholders are informed of the existence of this policy and its related procedures.
- Australia HOPE International Inc recognises the right of individuals to approach an external agency if the formal complaints procedure has not resolved the issue to their satisfaction.
- All complaints will be handled without monetary cost to the complainant.
- The outcome of each complaint will be reported directly to the complainant using the same form of communication used for the lodgment of the complaint.
- Frivolous complaints i.e. those of a very minor nature such as a spelling of a name will be dealt with immediately by the staff member/volunteer taking the information.
- Monthly summary reports derived from the complaints log will be made available to Australia HOPE International Inc Board members.
Complaints involving fraudulent or criminal conduct by our volunteers, staff, volunteers, or partners will be referred directly to relevant police authorities either in Australia or if overseas to the local authorities ‘in-country’.
It is the responsibility of the CEO to ensure that:
- All Board members are aware of this policy;
- All Complaints are handled respectfully, confidentially, and in accordance with natural justice.
- The policy is placed on our website with summaries included in our annual report.
6.1 Complaints can be received by the following methods:
To ensure consistency of response and to manage complaints effectively. The CEO will be responsible person responding to complaints, including putting in place appropriate mechanisms allowing complainants to express complaints in a practical and safe manner.
6.2 Formal Complaints Handling Procedure
When a complaint cannot be resolved quickly and informally or is determined by the CEO staff person/volunteer receiving the complaint to be of a serious nature the following procedure should be used.
- The staff member/volunteer/partner receiving the complaint will do so in a positive manner, inform the CEO, and will record the details in the format as set out in Annexure No 1 (Complaints register) for the information and use of the CEO.
- It is the responsibility of the CEO to fully follow through with the complaint to its resolution stage and communication of its outcome to the complainant.
- The Australia HOPE International Inc CEO is responsible for ensuring that follow-up action occurs in a timely fashion. A brief record of the actions taken will be made and copies of any correspondence or other communication will be kept.
- If the complaint is unable to be resolved by the CEO, an acknowledgment of the complaint is to be sent by email or letter to the complainant within 5 working days of the complaint being received, and an approximate timeframe is given for the complaint to be fully resolved.
- If the matter is still unresolved and requires additional action it will be referred to the Executive Committee. If still unresolved the complaint is to be referred to the full board.
- Complaints that relate to a member of staff or volunteer will be directed to the CEO. If the matter involves a complaint against an International Partner it should be referred to the CEO. If the complaint involves the CEO it should be referred to the full board meeting by the board secretary without the CEO or board committee excluding the CEO.
- Australia HOPE International Inc is a signatory to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Code of Conduct. If a complainant believes that Australia HOPE International Inc has breached the Code, they will be made aware of their option to complain to the:
ACFID Code of Conduct Committee.
Private Bag 3
Deakin ACT 2600
Australia HOPE International Inc is NOT a member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia. However, should any stakeholder, member of the public, sponsor, or donor have any concerns regarding any of our fundraising procedures they will be made aware of their option to complain to the Institute at:
Fundraising Institute of Australia
PO Box 642
Chatswood NSW 2057
7.0 Recording of Complaints
Recording of details including those points specified in 1, 4 and 5 (above) should be kept on the relevant existing record, where that exists, e.g., partner project file; sponsor or donor’s record; file. If no appropriate record exists a new file will be created for the purpose of recording the complaint and the file will be kept in the Complaints Register and on the Complaints Log.
7.1 Trend Analysis
On a monthly basis, an analysis of all complaints for the period will be undertaken by the CEO to ascertain trends and isolate and correct any systemic failures which may have come to fight. The outcome will form part of our ongoing continuous improvement program.
8.0 Annexure No 1