In accordance with section 38 of the Act a person may make a complaint to the Personnel Officer of this organisation, if he / she considers that the organisation has failed to comply with sections 25, 26, 27 or 28 of the Act. Following receipt of a complaint, the Personnel Officer shall refer the matter to an inquiry officer.
If, because of a difficulty, a person needs assistance making a complaint in relation to the failure of this organisation to provide accessible services, he/she can contact our Access Officer who will try to assist them in making their complaint.
In accordance with section 39(1) of the Act, Ms Mary Byrne and Ms Phyllis Flynn have been appointed as inquiry officers for the organisation. In accordance with section 39(2) of the Act, the organisation has drawn up procedures for the investigation of complaints by inquiry officers. These procedures are as set out below.
Procedures for Inquiry Officers under the Disability Act 2005
Investigations by an Inquiry Officer will be conducted in private, in accordance with Section 39 of the Disability Act, 2005. All reports issued will set out the findings of the Inquiry Officer and will include a declaration regarding whether the complaint has merit, whether there has been a fault by the Organisation in relation to the matter complained of and where a failure is identified it will outline the steps to be taken to ensure future compliance.
- Complaint must be submitted in writing
- Complaint should clearly outline reason for complaint
- Complaint should be addressed to the Personnel Officer
- Complaint should be passed to an Inquiry Officer
Registering and Acknowledging Complaints
- Set up an electronic and paper file for the complaint.
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint as soon as possible but no later than five working days after receipt.
Screening of Complaints
- Screen the complaint to establish if it relates to an alleged failure by the body to comply with sections 25 to 28 of the Disability Act.
- If the complaint is invalid, i.e., it does not relate to matters covered by sections 25 to 28 of the Act, the Inquiry Officer will so inform the complainant and give supporting reasons and, if possible, he/she will advise on alternative avenues of redress.
- If the complaint is valid, subject to what follows, the Inquiry Officer should commence an investigation.
- If, in the opinion of the Inquiry Officer, the complaint is frivolous or vexatious the complainant should be notified of this and given an opportunity to make representations on the matter.
- If the Inquiry determines that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious the complaint will not be accepted for investigation. The Inquiry Officer will notify the complainant of this determination in writing.
Formal Request For Information/ReportsRequest for Information/Reports/Files
- Request further details/submission from the complainant.
- Notify the relevant Senior Investigator of the complaint and clearly indicate the content of the complaint in full.
- Seek a full report from the relevant Senior Investigator requesting that s/he set out the position on the matter in order to enable the Inquiry Officer to carry out an investigation of the complaint. The report should cover all the points raised in the complaint.
- In cases where guidelines or code of practices are referred to, the Senior Investigator involved should also be requested to furnish details of the guidelines/code of practice as appropriate.
- If appropriate, seek all relevant files.
- If deemed necessary, consult with all relevant parties/sections regarding the matter.
- If required, request further information/comments from the complainant and give him or her the opportunity to make further submissions.
Action while Awaiting Reports
- Information requested should be supplied to the Inquiry Officer within a maximum of three weeks of being requested.
- If full details are not supplied by the relevant section a further report should be requested.
- In the absence of a response, written reminders or telephone reminders are made as judged appropriate. It may be deemed necessary to bring the matter to the attention of the Personnel Officer.
- In the absence of receipt of a submission from the complainant the Inquiry Officer should proceed with the investigation.
- In the course of the investigation it may be necessary to interview the complainant or officials within the Organisation e.g. to discuss questions of interpretation or to elicit information.
- Any interviews should be informal but an accurate record will be required. At the end of each interview, a check should be carried out to ensure that the account contained in the notes is accurate.
- All interviews should be arranged in advance.
- All staff are obliged to co-operate fully with the Inquiry Officer's investigation.
Investigation of ComplaintExamination of Case
- Examine all information received.
- Identify the key issues.
- Set out relevant details e.g. whether there has been a fault by the Organisation in relation to the matter complained of, with reference to relevant statutory obligations.
- Where a failure is identified outline the steps to be taken to ensure future compliance.
Completion of the ReportPrepare a report in writing of the results of the investigation.
- An Inquiry Officer shall not make a finding or criticism adverse to a staff member or the Organisation in his/her report without having afforded the person or Organisation the opportunity to consider the finding or criticism and to make representations in relation to it to him/her.Concluding the InvestigationNotification of Decision
- A copy of the report will be given to the Senior Investigator with responsibility for the matter complained of seeking his/her response to the results of the investigation.
- A copy of the report, incorporating the response of the Senior Investigator, will be given to the Personnel Officer and to the complainant.
- The complainant should be advised of his or her right of appeal to the Ombudsman at Office of the Ombudsman, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.
Closing a Complaint
- Once the final report has been given to the complainant, the complaint file may be closed.
- The electronic and paper file should record the result, date file closed and any other relevant details.
- The Personnel Officer will present an annual report, including complaint statistics, to the Management Team on the operation of the complaints procedure.