Comments & Complaints
All users of our service should feel free, at any time to make comments
about the quality of our service and how we may improve the service we
offer. Your comments are always welcomed.
Our complaints procedure can be accessed on our website. It can also be requested from our office by text, telephone or post. It is also displayed on notice boards in the office.
This complaints procedure adheres to the quality standards and requirements of our organisational COSCA membership.
Making a complaint
Stage 1: Informal Complaint
ACSRS will endeavour to resolve complaints at a local level and complainants are asked to first raise their concerns with their counsellor or member of staff.
Stage 2: Formal Complaint to ACSRS
If you are not satisfied with the response, complaints can be made in writing by post or email or in person. Assistance is available with this if required with translation facilities also available if required.
These can be given directly to your counsellor or staff member or alternatively marked confidential and sent by post to:
Ms Alison Foggo
Alcohol Counselling Services Ross & Sutherland
St. Duthus House
St Duthus Street
Tain IV19 1AL
If the complaint is against the Chairperson/Executive Committee it will be dealt with by an external agency currently Rae Jack, University of Highlands & Islands Inverness.
As a small part-time agency we aim to acknowledge any complaints within seven days.
Complaints can only be dealt with if made within three years of the incident.
Following receipt of a formal complaint letter a letter of acknowledgement will be sent within seven working days.
A responsible individual will be identified to investigate the complaint which will be treated in confidential and respectful manner.
An investigation will take place within one month of the receipt of the complaint and will be completed within one month.
The aim of the investigation will be to:
- Establish what went wrong and offer an explanation
- Enable discussion between ACSRS and complainant
- Ensure that an apology is given where appropriate
- Identify action to ensure the problem does not happen again.
The investigator will be impartial and separately hear evidence from either complainant or the party complained against or their representatives. Local advocacy service information will be shared and used if requested. In the event of the complainant having regular contact with the chairperson or being known to the chairperson then the complaint will be dealt with by an external agency.
Complainants will be notified of the progress including any subsequent delays and kept informed throughout the process.
The responsible individual can halt the process at any time in the event of pending or intended legal action which can then be restarted on completion of legal process.
Stage 3: Formal complaint to external agency
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal investigation or we are not able to deal with the complaint we will refer you to an external agency currently Rae Jack, University of Highlands & Islands Inverness.
Stage 4: Formal complaint to relevant professional body
If you are not satisfied with the outcome from the external agency
Then we will refer you to the relevant professional body or you may choose to contact them directly. Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA) for Counselling. To access COSCA’s complaints procedure please use the following link :–
Complaining on behalf of other parties
ACSRS is acutely aware of the need for confidentiality and will not accept a complaint on behalf of a third party without prior consent from the person involved.
If you are unhappy with the decision an appeal in writing, within three months from the date of the decision, can be made.
An appeal can be made on the following grounds:
- New evidence or information has been submitted
- Evidence provided did not warrant decision made
- Sanction is disproportionate to complaint
- Unjust circumstances
Records will be kept detailing the nature of the complaint raised, ACSRS response, any action taken, and the reasons for it.
These records will be kept confidential and retained in accordance with the Data protection Act 1998, which requires the release of certain data to individuals on their request. Copies of any meeting records will be given to the individual concerned, on request, although in certain circumstances some information may be withheld, for example to protect a witness.
On completion of this process the complainant will be notified of the outcome in writing and a written report will be submitted to the Executive committee.
ACSRS is also required to submit to COSCA immediate reports at the conclusion of our complaints procedures and any sanctions applied to COSCA members.
COSCA will consider taking appropriate actions on receipt of notifications about sanctions.
COSCA will conduct audits and/or other measures as necessary to ensure that ACSRS’s complaints procedures and handling of complaints meet COSCA standards/requirements.
Copy of COSCA Complaints procedure can be seen on COSCA’s website under Complaints: www.cosca.org.uk
Conflict of Interest
Any of the parties involved can declare a conflict of interest to the responsible person i.e. Service Co-ordinator.
In the event of an anonymous complainant the report will be made to Executive Committee and made available on the ACSRS website.
All staff, volunteer counsellors, supervisors and executive committee members of ACSRS are fully aware of the process and strictly adhere to its guidelines.
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