Financial Planning Complaints Procedure
The Financial Planning Division strives to operate in a professional and courteous manner. It is also focused on treating its clients and partners in an open, transparent and timely manner.
A complaints procedure has been established to provide external individuals and organizations, as well as City divisions, with a clear procedure to follow when making a complaint about Financial Planning.
Equally, the procedure provides Financial Planning and its staff with a clear process for handling and resolving complaints.
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with Financial Planning’s procedures, employees or quality of service. Examples include, but are not limited to the perception of:
- a failure to do something agreed to do;
- failure to observe policies or procedures;
- unacceptable delay;
- staff error; and
- unfair or discourteous actions/statements by staff.
How a Complaint is Made
A complaint may be received verbally in person or by telephone, or in writing by mail or fax. .
Receipt of Complaint
Written complaints are date-stamped and immediately referred to the staff person involved and his/her Manager and Director. Receipt of the complaint is acknowledged by the Manager within five days in the same medium as the complaint (e.g. letter).
Verbal complaints may be dealt with by the staff person involved. The Manager and Director must be informed of the nature of the complaint and its resolution.
Anonymous complaints are referred to the Manager and Director.
Complaints not within the jurisdiction of Financial Planning are forwarded to the appropriate Division and the complainant is advised.
Complaint Review and Escalation Process
Financial Planning use a five-stage escalation process to handle complaints:
The staff member involved in the complaint should attempt to resolve it, with input from their Manager, and if necessary, the Director.
If the complainant asks to be referred to the Manager or Director, the staff person should immediately comply.
If the complaint concerns the conduct of a staff person or if it cannot be resolved, staff should immediately refer it to the Manager and inform the complainant of the Manager’s name and contact information.
If the complaint is made directly to management, the staff member involved shall be notified.
The Manager reviews the complaint, and may attempt to resolve it immediately with the involvement of the staff member.
If further investigation is required, the Manager records the complaint and contact details and investigates the complaint to determine its validity and proposes a resolution (see Investigations below).
The Manager may request that a verbal complaint be put in writing, especially if it involves a serious or complex matter.
For all verbal and written complaints requiring investigation, the Manager indicates to the complainant when they will contact them with a resolution or update.
If not resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction, at the Manager’s discretion or at the complainant’s request, it is referred to the Director.
The Director reviews the complaint and any investigation already undertaken, and may attempt to resolve it immediately.
If further investigation is required, the Director records the complaint and contact details, investigates the complaint to determine its validity and proposes a resolution (see Investigations below).
The Director may request that a verbal complaint be put in writing, especially if it involves a serious or complex matter.
For all verbal and written complaints requiring investigation, the Director indicates to the complainant when he or she will be contacted with a resolution or update.
Where the complainant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Director, the Director refers the matter to the Deputy City Manager & Chief Financial Officer.
Where the complainant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Deputy City Manager & Chief Financial Officer, the matter is referred to the City Manager.
Where a complainant is dissatisfied at the end of the fifth stage, they are advised of the opportunity for external review by the Ombudsman.
Investigations may be conducted during the second, third, fourth and fifth step. The investigation may include:
- Discussion(s) with the complainant to clarify the complaint, confirm common understanding, clarify outcome sought, and explain complaint procedures.
- Discussion with staff involved (with union representative, if applicable).
- Review of background information such as policies and procedures, previous written communications and other documentation.
- Obtain and review other expert opinions or perspectives.
At each stage of escalation, it should be determined whether the previous investigation has been adequate.
Notice of Decision and Resolution
Written complaints receive a written notice of decision.
Verbal complaints receive written or verbal notice at the Director’s discretion.
If investigation determines that the reasons for the complaint are not justified, and no further action is required, the complainant is notified.
If investigation determines that the complaint is justified, the complainant is notified of corrective action to be taken and any remedy proposed.
Record of the Complaint
During complaint escalation, Financial Planning staff maintain a record at all stages including:
- name of the complainant
- details of the complaint
- communications with complainant and other parties
- the decision and action taken, and
- the complainant’s response.
- Complaints are dealt with promptly and resolved as quickly as possible.
- Staff treat complaints as confidential and protect complainant’s privacy.
- Complaint investigations are fair, impartial and respectful to parties involved.
- Complainants are advised of their options to escalate their complaint if they are dissatisfied with treatment or outcome.
- Complainants are provided clear and understandable reasons for how decisions on the complaint were made.
- Updates are provided to complainants during investigations.
- Regular monitoring and review of complaints will be conducted to identify issues, trends, areas of concern and opportunities for improvement.
Draft Revised: March 11, 2011