Services Departments Government

Clackamas County Social Services Division
Administrative Manual

SECTION: 5. CLIENT AND CONSUMER CONFIDENTIALITY AND RIGHTS
SUBSECTION: 5.D
TOPIC: Citizen Consumer Grievance Process
DATE: March 29, 2000
Revised July, 2007

Citizen Consumer Grievance Process
Clackamas County Social Services Division

Clarification Statement –

Philosophy Statement – Clackamas County Social Services prides itself on the excellent work performed by the staff of the agency. However, from time to time complaints are made and can be a natural result of being a visible, active organization providing service to the public. In order to provide quality services and meaningful opportunities for the elderly, persons with a disability and low-income residents of Clackamas County, we must be aware of any concerns about the programs and services we provide, take all complaints seriously, and have a consistent procedure for responding to complaints.

In addition, everything CCSS does should be conducted consistent with our values:

The preferred way to handle complaints is to solve them informally by the parties involved. This informal process encourages persons to freely express their concerns so that immediate action may be taken to resolve the issue in a positive and timely way. While the informal process is preferred, it is also necessary to make available a formal process for taking a complaint elsewhere if it cannot be solved informally.

Informal Procedure

  1. When staff or volunteers receive a complaint, they should encourage the consumer to talk directly to the staff person with whom the consumer had the interaction. This includes asking the consumer whether they have talked with the staff person involved. If the consumer has not talked directly to the staff person involved and is willing to, the person receiving the complaint should take the name and phone number of the consumer. The consumer should be advised that the staff person responsible will call the consumer within one working day or when the staff person will be available. It is the responsibility of the staff person first receiving the complaint to inform the staff person responsible for the activity about the pending complaint. It is preferable that consumers not be passed from one staff person to another in order to have their complaint heard.

    If the consumer is unwilling to discuss the issue directly with the staff person involved , the person taking the call will take the name and phone number of the consumer and advise the him/her that the program manager will call within one working day or when the manager is available. It is the responsibility of the person taking the call to inform the program manager about the complaint and the need to follow up with the consumer.

  2. When staff receive a complaint about an activity for which they are responsible they should try to resolve the problem as follows:

    • treat the complaint seriously,
    • listen carefully and ask the consumer to explain his/her concerns and expectations,
    • discuss possible solutions with the consumer,
    • inform the consumer of what action will be taken or why no action is necessary or possible.
    This may require more than one conversation.

  3. If the consumer is not satisfied with the resolution, or insists on talking to the program manager initially, the staff person should refer the consumer to the program manager. The staff person will make the manager aware of the pending complaint. The program manager will try to resolve the issue as follows:

    • treat the complaint seriously,
    • listen carefully and ask the consumer to explain his/her concerns and expectations,
    • ask the staff person directly involved for his/her information on the situation,
    • involve the consumer and staff in the process of discussing possible solutions, if appropriate,
    • inform the consumer and staff of what action will be taken or why no action is necessary or possible.

  4. If the consumer is still not satisfied the program manager will refer the person to the Director. The Director will be advised of the referral and the program manager will provide a brief summary of the situation. This will allow the Director to begin to take any appropriate steps and/or follow-up with concerns.
  5. If, after discussing the issue with the Director, the consumer is still not satisfied, the consumer will be informed of the formal grievance process. The consumer will be asked to complete a Consumer Complaint Form. (To view or use this form, select it from the Forms folder on Trillium Net.) This can be done over the phone, in person, or through the mail.

Note: If the consumer chooses to go first to the program manager or Division Director, the informal process as described here will normally still be used. The program manager or Division Director will refer the consumer to the appropriate staff person according to the informal process before initiating the formal process. If the consumer insists on discussing the issue with a manager, the process will start with the manager.

Formal Procedure

  1. The formal procedure consists of a meeting between the consumer, the program manager and the CCSS Director. The contact to schedule this meeting will take place within two working days of receiving the written Consumer Complaint Form.
  2. All facts will be considered at this meeting with information being provided from both the consumer and the staff. The program manager and CCSS Director will document the results of the meeting on the Consumer Complaint Form. The consumer will accept or reject the decision and sign the form. The consumer will also receive a copy of the form.
  3. A copy of all Consumer Complaint Forms and the log of complaints received by the CCSS Director will be kept.

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Public Services Building

Social Services

Phone number 503-655-8640
Fax: 503-650-5722
Address 2051 Kaen Road #135
Oregon City, OR 97045
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Hours Monday to Thursday
7 a.m. to 6 p.m.