Acknowledging the complaint
In relation to all written complaints, the Complaints Officer will acknowledge the complaint in writing within five business days. In relation to all verbal complaints, the Complaints Officer will acknowledge the complaint in writing within five business days, setting out his understanding of the complaint and inviting the client to confirm in writing the accuracy of that statement. The acknowledgement letter will outline the result of the investigation, if complete.
If it has not been completed, the acknowledgement letter will:
- Confirm that the company will investigate the complaint and respond within four weeks;
- Highlight that if the investigation is not completed within four weeks following the initial receipt of the complaint, the client will be informed of the reasons for the delay; and
- Point out that on completion of the investigation, the client will be informed of the outcome and options available to him/her.
A copy of this complaints procedure summary for clients will be enclosed with the acknowledgement letter.
The Complaints Officer will investigate all complaints and may, where he considers it necessary, consult the advisor/member of staff whose actions or omissions gave rise to the complaint. The investigation will include a review of the client file and may, where necessary, involve contact with third parties to obtain information. If the Complaints Officer is subject to the complaint, the investigation will be conducted by another manager or director.
Immediately on completion of the investigation, the Complaints Officer will write to the client notifying him/her of the outcome of the investigation and the nature and terms of any settlement. If the client is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she may refer the matter to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The letter must incorporate the name, address and telephone number of the ICAEW.
Any compensation offered must be fair and the basis of calculation should be explained to the client.
If the investigation is not concluded within four weeks, the Complaints Officer will write to the client informing him/her that the investigation is continuing, the reasons for the delay and when he expects to be able to contact the client again.
If the investigation is not concluded within eight weeks, the Complaints Officer will write to the client informing him/her of the reasons for further delay and that if the client is not satisfied with the progress, he/she may refer the complaint to the ICAEW.
Where a complaint goes to the ICAEW
The firm will co-operate fully with the ICAEW in resolving any complaints made against it and agrees to be bound by any awards made by the ICAEW. The firm undertakes to pay promptly the fees levied by the ICAEW.
Closing the complaint
A final letter will be issued to the client setting out the result of the investigation and offering redress if appropriate, as outlined in the investigation section above.
Where the firm receives confirmation from the client that he/she is satisfied with the findings of the investigation and any resolution, the complaint will be considered closed by the Complaints Officer.
Where no confirmation has been received from the complainant within eight weeks of the firm’s final response, the complaint will also be considered closed.