ICF Complaints procedure

Aims and Objectives of the Policy

This complaints policy aims to:
• Encourage the resolution of problems by informal means wherever possible;
• Ensure that concerns are dealt with quickly, fully, transparently and fairly, and within clearly
defined time limits;
• Provide effective responses and appropriate redress;
• Maintain good working relationships between all people involved with the Innovation Challenge Fund

A complaint concerns the SNG Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF), which cannot be resolved via regular communication with SNG.

This policy is for beneficiaries of the ICF, grant candidates, or grant recipients who have a concern or complaint about any aspect of the ICF. Consideration will be given to complaints made by actors not listed above, and a determination made as to how to address such a complaint.

This policy will be available on the SNG ICF website, as well as in the terms and conditions signed by grant applicants and part of the ICF User Manual.

Resolving Issues and Concerns

In the first instance, stakeholders of the SNG ICF who have a concern or complaint are encouraged to write to innovation-kp@pk-sng.org (for KP-related concerns) and innovation-punjab@pk- sng.org (for Punjab related concerns) to see if their issue can be resolved without recourse to formal complaints process. Emails to this address will be responded to within 5 working days.

Stakeholders who write to this address should explain the nature of their concern, provide any context, as well as their contact details. The SNG team will engage with the stakeholder and seek to resolve their issue as quickly and smoothly as possible. The response will be finalized with approval from SMT.

Procedures for Handling Complaints

If a stakeholder feels that their concern has not been resolved via communication with SNG, they may submit a complaint through the innovationcomplaints@pk-sng.org. The Complaints procedure of the ICF follows the following summary steps:

  1. A complainant submits a complaint via email to the ICF on the email above
  2. The complaint is acknowledged within 5 working days, providing a reference number
  3. The complaint is reviewed by the SNGII team, who may request more information from the complainant
  4. A separate team investigates the complaint from SNGII within 25 working days of the original complaint
  5. The SNGII team will decide whether or not to uphold the complaint. SNGII will communicate the decision to the complainant within 30 working days of the original complaint.

All complaints and outcomes are reported to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Anyone wishing to submit a complaint about the ICF should write to innovationcomplaints@pk- sng.org

When they submit their complaint, they must ensure they include the following information:

  1. What is the fuss about?
  2. Any relevant dates
  3. Attach any relevant supporting information, evidence, or documents
  4. Appropriate name and contact details

If a complainant wishes to make an anonymous complaint or is concerned about confidentiality or fraud, they may also refer to the OPM Whistleblowing Policy.

 

The complainant will receive an email acknowledging their complaint and providing them with a unique reference number used in all future correspondence.

The SNGII team will review the complaint and information provided and determine whether there is sufficient information to investigate. If necessary, they will contact the complainant to request clarification or further information. SNG’s Senior Management Team (SMT) approved the decision to proceed to an investigation. The SMT will also appoint the investigation team. If a complaint were made anonymously, they would decide, subject to approval by the SMT, whether they can investigate.

The SNGII team will need to investigate the complaint and review any relevant documentation and information. If necessary, the team will speak to appropriate parties to look into the matter.

The investigation should be completed no later than 25 working days after the original complaint was acknowledged. In complex cases, the SNG team may inform the complainant of a longer timeline where necessary, where additional time shall not exceed 25 working days.

 

Once their investigation is complete, the investigating team will recommend to the SMT whether or not to uphold the complaint. The SMT will review this recommendation and make a decision.

The SNGII team will then communicate this decision to the complainant in complete written response. This will usually be received within 30 working days of the acknowledgment of the complaint. In complex cases, the SNG team may inform the complainant of a longer timeline where necessary.

The response will explain whether or not the complaint has been upheld, the reasons why, and what action (if any) will be taken. The answer will provide details of what other steps remain open to them if they are not satisfied with the conclusion offered. A final report will also be shared with UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

 

Additional information

All conversations and correspondence will be treated confidentially. Personal information will only be shared between SNGII staff on a ‘need to know basis. Confidentiality will be maintained within the ICF Team and SMT and between the investigating team and the complainant.

 

In general, the time limits and deadlines within this policy should be adhered to by the SNGII team. However, it may be inappropriate or impractical in certain circumstances; for example, the investigation cannot be conducted due to extenuating circumstances or for complex cases. Similarly, if a complaint leads to a referral to relevant authorities in the UK or Pakistan, this will likely cause a delay in SNGII being investigated. When it becomes necessary to alter the time limits and deadlines set out within this policy, the complainant will be told and explained as to why this has been the case.

 

Issues related to whistleblowing, criminal investigations, and employee grievances must all be dealt with separately from this policy.

 

A complainant tries to re-open the issue after the complaints procedure has been fully exhausted. The SMT (or another appropriate person) will inform the complainant that the matter is closed. If the complainant subsequently contacts SNGII again about the same issue, the program can choose not to respond. The typical circumstance in which it will not answer is if:

  • SNGII has taken every reasonable step to address the complainant’s needs, and
  • The complainant has been given a clear statement of the outcome of the complaints process and their options (if any), and
  • The complainant is contacting SNGII repeatedly but making substantially the same points
  • It has reason to believe the individual is contacting SNGII to cause disruption or inconvenience and/or
  • The individual’s letters/emails/telephone calls are often or always abusive or aggressive, and/or
  • The individual makes insulting personal comments about or threats towards a staff
  • Unreasonable behavior which is abusive, offensive, or threatening may constitute an unreasonably persistent complaint. Once SNGII has decided that it is appropriate to stop responding, the complainant will be informed in writing, either by letter or email.

 

SNG will record the progress of all complaints, including information about actions taken at all formal stages, the stage at which the complaint was resolved, and the outcome. The records will also include copies of letters and emails and notes relating to meetings and phone calls.

This material will be treated as strictly confidential and held centrally. This is except where the relevant and mandated authorities may request access to records or where such documents may be disclosed under the terms of the applicable legislation. Records will be kept for the duration of SNGII.

The SMT will review any underlying issues raised by complaints, where appropriate, and respecting confidentiality, to determine whether there are any improvements that SNGII can make to its procedures or practice to help prevent similar events in the future.

The SMT will monitor the effectiveness of the complaints procedure in ensuring that complaints are handled correctly.

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