Our Complaints Policy and Procedure
The Association of Professional Virtual Assistants Ltd (APVA) is committed to providing a quality service for its members, trainees and wider community and working in an open and accountable way that builds the trust and respect of all our stakeholders. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our members, customers and trainees, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.
Therefore we aim to ensure that:
- making a complaint is as easy as possible;
- we treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response;
- we deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially;
- we respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken etc;
- we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures.
We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly. Our aims are to:
- resolve informal concerns quickly;
- keep matters low-key;
- enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred.
An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved. But if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.
Definition: a complaint as ‘any expression of dissatisfaction that relates to APVA and that requires a formal response’.
Purpose: The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.
In the event of a formal complaint, we will:
- acknowledge the formal complaint in writing;
- respond within a stated period of time;
- deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint;
- take action where appropriate.
A complainant’s responsibility is to:
- bring their complaint, in writing, to our attention within 8 weeks of the issue arising;
- raise concerns promptly and directly with APVA HQ,
- explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date;
- allow us a reasonable time to deal with the matter;
- recognise that some circumstances may be beyond our control.
Confidentiality: Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and VIP VA maintain confidentiality. However the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (with each complaint judged on its own merit). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.
Our Formal Complaints Procedure
In the first instance, if you are unable to resolve the issue informally, you should email us at [email protected], so that he or she has a chance to put things right. In your email you should set out the details of your complaint, the consequences for you as a result, and the remedy you are seeking.
You can expect your complaint to be acknowledged within 4 working days of receipt. You should get a response and an explanation within 15 working days.
If you are not satisfied with the initial response to the complaint then you can email our CEO at [email protected] and ask for your complaint and the response to be reviewed. You can expect the CEO to acknowledge your request within 4 working days of receipt and a response within 15 workings days, after discussion with our Advisory Board.
We aim to resolve all matters as quickly as possible. However, inevitably some issues will be more complex and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated. Consequently timescales given for handling and responding to complaints are indicative. If a matter requires more detailed investigation, you will receive an interim response describing what is being done to deal with the matter, and when a full reply can be expected and from whom.
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