The Service Complaints Reviewer is entirely independent of IMPRESS. The Service Complaints Reviewer does not work for and is not influenced by IMPRESS.
Stephen Thacker has 40 years’ experience as an investigator and is an associate member of the British and Irish Ombudsman’s Association, a former operational police detective and Lay Chair appointed by the Secretary of Health to investigate unresolved Health Service Complaints.
Any publisher member of IMPRESS or member of the public who is dissatisfied with the service provided by IMPRESS may have their service complaint considered by the service complaints reviewer provided that the:
- complaint has been responded to by the relevant member of staff, their manager AND a senior IMPRESS member of staff and,
- request to refer the complaint for Review is made within three months of completion of internal procedures.
A service complaint is NOT an avenue to appeal against a disputed decision by IMPRESS or its arbitrators but rather an avenue to obtain redress where you believe the standards of service to be expected were NOT met including:
- clarity of communication
- courtesy and respect, and
- adherence to proper process.
The service complaints reviewer cannot investigate complaints arising from:
- the merits of any decision involving a complaint against a publisher
- the merits of any decision made, or the process employed, by an IMPRESS arbitrator
- issues involving commercial transactions between IMPRESS and third parties
- interpretation of scheme rules or any other decision made under those rules.
Generally, service complaints will not proceed whilst a complaint against a publisher or an arbitration referral is in progress.
Where the service complaints reviewer considers that a service complaint is justified they may recommend that IMPRESS:
- take such steps as the Reviewer believes would be fair and reasonable, and
- pay reasonable compensation for damage, distress and/or inconvenience.
The service complaints reviewer’s role is to ensure service complaints are properly recorded in in a consistent way and progressed expeditiously.
There are two stages to the Service Complaints Procedure.
Stage 1 – Internal Investigation steps
- Complete the Complaints Form at the end of this section and send it to IMPRESS either by post or electronically. If you wish for a paper copy of the form IMPRESS will send you a copy.
- Return the completed form to IMPRESS who will send a copy to the Service Complaints Reviewer to log and monitor.
- The service complaints reviewer will initially determine if the complaint is a Service Complaint and inform you accordingly. Your completed complaints form will be allocated to the responsible manager for resolution.
- At the end of the internal investigation [which should be completed within 4 weeks] if your complaint remains unresolved to your satisfaction you may make application to IMPRESS for the Complaint to be referred to the service complaints reviewer for formal investigation by COMPLETING PART 2 of the Complaints Form. Once Part 2 is completed the case file will be sent to the service complaints reviewer together with your original complaint form and the IMPRESS file and correspondence.
Stage 2 – Independent service review steps
- Once your complaint has been referred to the service complaints reviewer by IMPRESS, the service complaints reviewer will be contact you within 5 days to arrange a face to face meeting at a location convenient to you so that you can discuss your complaint against IMPRESS and take a formal statement, [should you consent to do so]. The matter can also be dealt with on the papers via email or in writing.
- The investigation should be normally concluded within 4 weeks.
At the end of the investigation, the service complaints reviewer’s findings will be provided to IMPRESS and to you in writing. There is no further appeal against the service complaints reviewer’s decision to IMPRESS.