When you take the opportunity to summarise how you will look into the complaint, you should explore what could resolve the concerns. That might be an apology, confirmation that you will improve a practice, clearer explanations, or asking another solicitor to complete the work. A complainer expects any actual or emotional loss to be acknowledged and put right.
Whatever your internal processes are for deciding on redress, a user-focused and personalised process should allow you to explore different options that will satisfy the complainer. Even if you were not able to control a situation, such as a delay, think about whether you had properly managed the complainer’s expectations and kept them advised.
A focus on resolution could incorporate the following steps:
- Assure the complainer that their complaints have been taken seriously
- Explain your decision in clear, neutral and respectful language. The complainer might not have understood the original correspondence, so it can help to paraphrase or explain any quotations that you include
- Be prepared to explore resolution opportunities even if you don’t fully agree with the complainer; in most cases a situation could have been better managed
- Set out any resolution proposals clearly, making any conditions and dates for acceptance very clear
- Action any resolution agreements promptly
- If you don’t think that resolution is appropriate, explain why, keeping the language neutral and respectful
- Signpost the complainer to the SLCC
Remember that even if the complaint is referred to the SLCC, you can continue to discuss resolution with the complainer, or via the SLCC staff