DLS wants to provide good quality service in a timely fashion. We understand that many of the people that come to us for support will be in positions of pressure or stress and need help quickly. We have limited funding to do our work, but we will always strive to do our best. Nevertheless, we understand that sometimes things don’t go as well as we would like.
We aim to resolve any expression of dissatisfaction as quickly as possible to restore good relationships and promote satisfaction. Where a complaint is upheld, we learn from it to improve staff development and delivery of our services. Even where a complaint is not upheld, we consider whether there might be organisational learning.
We publicise our complaints procedure on our website and provide all users of our services with information about how to complain.
Where a formal complaint is raised, our policy is that it should be investigated fairly and in compliance with relevant regulatory and quality requirements.
We encourage you to raise any issue with the person you are dealing with in the first instance if you feel able. We often find that misunderstandings can easily and quickly be resolved.
This will also allow us to address your concern promptly and resolve the issue without the need to use our formal complaints procedure. This benefits both you and our restricted resources.
However, if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may of course raise the issue as a formal complaint. How to do this, and what will happen next, is explained below.
You should put your complaint in writing and either email it to email@example.com or send it by post to:
Complaints, Disability Law Service, The Foundry, London, SE11 5RR
Please try to set out why you are complaining clearly, explaining what has (or hasn’t) happened, and why it didn’t meet your expectations. Please try to include as many facts as possible and, where possible, give evidence supporting your complaint. Where appropriate you might consider explaining what resolution you would like. If the person investigating feels they need more information they will contact you directly.
The Chief Executive will review the complaint and, if appropriate, will pass it to another staff member (independent of your adviser) to conduct the investigation. Alternatively, they may conduct the investigation themselves.
If your complaint is about the Chief Executive, it will be passed to a Trustee for them to conduct the investigation.
You will receive an acknowledgement within two working days. We aim to investigate and respond to complaints within 8 weeks. If it isn’t going to be possible to meet this deadline you will be notified in writing before 8 weeks has passed, giving the reasons why it will be delayed, and advised of when you should expect to hear.
At the end of the investigation you will receive a response in writing saying whether or not your complaint was upheld, and why. Where there is obvious organisational learning we will clarify that where appropriate.
If you are still unhappy
We hope you will be satisfied with the outcome of the investigation. But if you are not, and your complaint relates to a solicitor, or someone supervised by a solicitor, you will have the right to make a further complaint to be independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman and/or may be able to complain to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers. Where this applies, we will provide further information on how to do this in the outcome of our investigation above.
The Legal Ombudsman expects complaints to be made to them within one year of the date of the act or omission about which you are concerned or within one year of you realising there was a concern. You must also refer your concerns to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of our final response to you.
If you think we have not handled your personal data correctly, you may complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at www.ico.org.uk