NFRS Complaints Procedure
- Receipt and recording of complaints
The Customer Service Team (CST) will be responsible for the receipt and recording of all complaints against the NFRS.
Complaints can be received via:
Details of how to submit a complaint can be found on both the NFRS and OPFCC websites. All NFRS staff should be aware of how members of the public can raise dissatisfaction.
Upon receipt of a complaint the CST will log the complaint on the NFRS Complaint Log and will make initial contact with the complainant within 2 working days, at which point a reference number will be provided. Contact will be made via the same method of contact used to make contact unless the complainant states a preference for a different contact method.
The CST will assess the allegations to determine how the complaint should be handled. The test applied will be:
Would the allegations, is proven, justify the bringing of misconduct proceedings?
If the answer is yes, the complaint will be passed to the NFRS Officer of the day (OOD) to allocate to an investigating Officer.
If the answer is no, the complaint will be retained and dealt with by the CST for service recovery.
Where the complaint has been assessed as requiring investigation, the CST will continue to administer the complaint. They will provide updates at least every 28 days to the complainant, based on updates received from the assigned investigating officer. These updates should be meaningful and contain an estimated timescale for finalisation of the complaint.
The NFRS will take all steps they deem to be reasonable and proportionate to resolve the complaint. This should include engagement with the complainant to ensure that the complaint is fully understood.
Upon completion of the investigation the NFRS will submit a report using the CST IO Report Template to the CST, who will write to the complainant to inform them of the outcome of the complaint. The CST will include a determination as to whether the complaint was upheld or not upheld, in line with the findings of the investigating officer. The final letter will also include details on how to request a review.
- Service Recovery
Where a complaint has been assessed as suitable for service recovery, the CST will retain ownership. In relation to NFRS complaints, service recovery refers to the resolution of less serious complaints by completing reasonable and proportionate enquiries in order to remedy dissatisfaction. This could include, for example, offering an apology or explanation.
The CST will have access to information and systems required to carry out effective service recovery.
The CST should aim to complete service recovery within 28 days of receipt of the complaint and should raise any complaints that have been live for longer than 10 working days at the CST weekly team meeting for discussion as to how they should be progressed.
- Right to Review
Upon finalisation of all complaints, the complainant will be entitled to request a review of the handling and outcome of their complaint. The OPFCC will be responsible for conducting reviews and the PFCC will delegate decision making to the Director for Delivery. The CST will log and acknowledge all requests for review within 2 working days of receipt.
The review process will not be a reinvestigation of the complaint but will take in to account the below:
- Have all aspects of the complaint been addressed?
- Were appropriate lines of enquiry followed?
- Was the outcome reasonable and proportionate?
The OPFCC will aim to complete all reviews within 28 days of receipt and the complainant will be notified as to whether the review was upheld or not upheld.
Where the review decision maker upholds a review, they are able to make recommendations to the Chief Fire Officer with a view to remedying dissatisfaction. The Chief Fire Officer does not have to accept recommendations, however, should a recommendation not be accepted, they should write to the PFCC and the complainant to explain why.
Once the review process is finalised, should the complainant remain dissatisfied,
- DIP Sampling, Quality Assurance and learning
The Customer Service Team will carry out monthly analysis on demand and provide an update to the NFRS, however the NFRS may request data held on complaints by the CST at any time.
Any learning identified via the complaint process will be fed back to the NFRS. The NFRS will consider learning and provide an update to the OPFCC as to what action was taken as a result and what changes, if any have been made.
The OPFCC will produce a monthly and annual report on NFRS complaints handling that will include demand analysis and an overview of learning.
The CST and NFRS Assurance Manager will jointly conduct bi-annual Dip Sampling of 3 closed NFRS complaints to ensure that they have been handled in lines with relevant policy and procedure. Issues identified via the DIP Sample procedure will be logged by the CST and raised with the relevant department.
The CST will carry out regular quality assurance audits on service recoveries to ensure that they have been handled in line with relevant policy and procedure.
NFRS Complaints Process Flow