23 August 2018

CEO update | August 2018 | Complaints handling

Fiona Hollier, CEO Resolution InstituteDear members and colleagues,

An important aspect of Resolution Institute service, as a professional membership body, is addressing complaints from clients. The Resolution Institute frames its complaints handling policy in terms of “feedback”. The policy opens with:

Resolution Institute welcomes compliments, suggestions and complaints. Resolution Institute believes that each of these forms of feedback enables us to improve and extend the services we offer. It also enables members to engage in continuous improvement in their delivery of high quality, professional DR, education and advice.

When a compliment comes our way, we say “thank-you” and true to the statement above, we consider how we can embed and build on the service which has attracted approbation.

When we receive a complaint, even if we feel discomforted, we demonstrate our “welcome”, true to the statement above, by listening carefully and respectfully to ensure that we understand the concern being raised.

When the complaint is about a Resolution Institute service, we show how it “enables us to improve and extend the services we offer” by describing what we will do differently as a result of the complaint. As well, as appropriate, we provide clarifying information, reference to the relevant legislation, regulation or procedure, acknowledgement of error, apology and/or rectification.

When the complaint is about a service provided by a member, we let the member know and seek the member’s perspective. In most cases, complaints relate to the outcome of the service provided. In such cases, we provide the client with information about the DR process, professional requirements, legislation or regulation. True to our policy’s opening statement about complaints enabling “members to engage in continuous improvement”, Resolution Institute provides professional coaching to support members who have received a complaint to reflect on their practice, to learn from the complaint and to consider approaches they could adopt in the future which may address similar concerns and underlying interests of clients in the future. In cases where the complaint suggests inappropriate conduct or inadequate professional practice, our complaints procedure includes that the member can be referred for investigation and disciplinary action. Fortunately, cases resulting in disciplinary action are very rare indeed.

Overall, Resolution Institute receives relatively few complaints about its services or about its members. This suggests that our members demonstrate in their behaviours and professional practice a commitment to the Resolution Institute Code of Ethics. This code requires members to be honest, to behave with integrity in both their professional and personal lives, to be appropriately qualified, to undertake ongoing learning and development, to communicate respectfully and even-handedly, to exhibit fairness, diligence and independence and “to be faithful to the relationship of trust and confidentiality inherent in the role of DR practitioner”.

It is a testament to the professionalism and lived values of our members that Resolution Institute receives few complaints and even fewer that need legal defence. As a result of these low numbers of complaints, Resolution Institute has been able to negotiate and maintain for ten years, an inexpensive professional indemnity and public liability master policy. The number of claims on this policy have been very low, not ever coming close to reaching the maximum for either individual claims or claims in the aggregate. For our more than 700 members who have opted to hold this policy, it provides peace of mind at a very reasonable price to cover legal costs and expenses of defending a potential allegation about providing inadequate services, should one ever arise. (Members who are policy holders: keep a lookout for a policy renewal notice which will be sent shortly from the provider of our master policy, Astute Insurance Services.)

Whether through the Resolution Institute master policy or through a different policy, cover is the necessary backup protection should a complaint not be resolved directly between the client and practitioner or through Resolution Institute.

The most fundamental protections rest in members individually and collectively delivering professional services with skill and integrity and being responsive to feedback we receive from our clients.

Best wishes,


23 August 2018