Our Complaints Procedure…

How can I make a complaint?

Complaints can be made in person, by telephone, letter, email or fax.  The complaint must be made to the Regional Manager of LSP (Manager@lifestartsp.ie). A complaint about a particular person which includes the staff member’s/volunteer’s name may be given in writing, verbally or by email.  It should include dates and locations.

A complaint can be made by anyone about any action of LSP, which is considered to be unfair, unsatisfactory or is thought to have a negative impact. If a complaint is made anonymously it may not be possible to investigate it properly or to decide if action needs to be taken.

Who can make a complaint?

All parties including any parent, child, family member or related person who is accessing LSP services; volunteers in LSP (including student placements, interns and those on employment schemes); members of the wider community and those providing services to the LSP organisation

What Complaints are outside the scope of this policy?

  • A matter that is or has been the subject of legal proceedings before a court or tribunal
  • A matter relating to the recruitment or appointment of an employee by LSP
  • A matter relating to a contract of employment that LSP proposes to enter into
  • A matter that could prejudice an investigation by An Garda Siochana
  • A matter that has been brought before any other complaints procedure established by law
  • Matters that give rise to child protection or welfare concerns

What can complaints be about?

Complaints can be made about any action or lack of action by LSP that is considered unfair and has negatively affected the person making the complaints. It includes actions that are believed to have been:

  • taken without proper permission or authority
  • Taken for unnecessary reasons
  • The result of carelessness or negligence
  • Based on wrong or incomplete information
  • Discriminatory
  • Based on bad administrative practice

How to make an informal complaint

  • Please raise informal complaints directly with the parties concerned. We encourage complaints to be resolved at this level in as far as possible. However, LSP reserves the right to escalate the informal complaint to a formal complaint depending on the issues raised.
  • Parents, children and volunteers have the option to use an advocate to support them in the process – please discuss this with your LSP staff.
  • If the person making the complaint does not wish to discuss the issue with the other party, they are encouraged to contact their Family Visitor, LSP Assistant Manager or the Regional Manager

Informal Complaints Process

  • It is strongly recommended to try to resolve the complaint directly with the parties involved
  • LSP staff have the authority to discuss and resolve informal complaints directly with young people, volunteers and members of the community in consultation with their line manager.
  • Your LSP Family Visitor will provide assistance in the resolution of the complaint
  • A record will be kept of the details of the complaint; parties involved, desired resolution, actions taken to achieve the resolution and the outcome of the complaint.
  • If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, information will be provided to all parties in relation to the next level of action for making a formal complaint or other external options.

How to make a formal complaint

  • If the informal complaint process has proven to be unsuccessful the formal complaints process may be initiated

  • Formal Complaints must be made in writing

  • Please request a copy of the LSP Complaints Form from your LSP Family Visitor or from

  • Complete the LSP Complaints Form with as much detail as possible, clearly outlining the areas of complaint

  • Return the completed LSP Complaints Form to your LSP Family Visitor or to lifestartoffice@gmail.com.

  • You will receive acknowledgement of receipt of your complaint within 10 working days

  • A member of LSP staff will contact you with ten (10) working days so that a process for resolving the complaint can be developed and agreed to by all those involved in the complaint.

  • Formal Complaints made in writing other than on a LSP Complaints Form will be asked to complete a LSP Complaints Form.

  • Assistance will be provided to anybody who requests it to complete a LSP Complaints form


LSP is committed to keeping private and confidential any information given when making a complaint.  This is governed by the Data Protection Acts.

Please bear in mind that due to obligations under the Data Protection Acts confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

Where complaints information is requested for reports or statistical reasons, all data that would identify the person who complained will be removed.

If confidential personal records or information are needed as part of the investigation of a complaint, the consent of the complainant must be granted in order to do this.

Details of a complaint will be seen only by relevant personnel and only for purposes of investigation.

If a complaint is on behalf of someone else, LSP will contact that person to check that the complaint was made with their consent.

Informal Resolution

The Regional Manager will inform the Chairperson of all complaints made to him/her whether written or verbal.   Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Regional Manager, in consultation with the Chairperson and with the consent of the people involved, may consider if an informal resolution might be appropriate.

Where possible, if a complaint can be made at point of contact can be resolved, it should be done preferably within a 48 hour period if possible, and not longer than 10 days if possible.  As part of this procedure the Regional Manager may arrange a meeting between the parties concerned or may use mediation.

If this approach is not appropriate or turns out not to be successful, a formal investigation of the complaint will commence. 

Investigation of Complaint

The Regional Manager will coordinate an investigation within 30 days of receipt.  Other Board members, staff, witnesses, advisors, etc may be called upon to assist.  If a complaint cannot be investigated within 30 days, the complainant will be so informed and advised of the time required to do so.  Any further delays will be explained and a plan of action for the complaint outlined.

After Investigation

A report of the investigation will be written and a copy given to the complainant, the relevant staff member and all relevant parties.

This report will include any recommendations needed to resolve the matter.  All parties can raise questions or seek clarification of any issues and will be advised of their right to a review of any recommendations made. If the complainant does not wish to avail of an internal review of the complaint process, they may request that an independent review is carried out.


Within 30 working days, The Regional Manager will put an action plan in place to implement the recommendations made. This will set out who will be responsible for their implementation and the time it will take. If no recommendations were made the Regional Manager will follow up with complainant within 30 working days.

Internal Review

Where the individual is not happy with the outcome of a complaint the complainant has a right to request an internal review of the entire complaint and how it was conducted.  The internal review will be carried out by an officer appointed by the LSP within 20 working days.

Nothing in this complaint procedure affects the individual’s statutory rights under Freedom of Information, Data Protection or other relevant legislation.

Independent Review

If the complainant is not happy with the internal review of their complaint, they may request an independent review of the complaint and processes therein. The Chairperson will consult with the Board of Directors to put in place an independent review.

It is the right of any complainant to go to the Ombudsman for Children should they fail to find resolution to their complaint.

All parties to the complaints will be informed of progress of complaint every 20 working days after the initial timeframe of 30 working days.

All complaints should be concluded within 6 months at the very latest.

It is noted that in a minority of cases where LSP will take all reasonable measures to try to resolve a complaint through the complaints procedure, the complainant does not accept these efforts.  Where a complainant’s behaviour could be considered abusive, unreasonable or vexatious, it may not be possible to conclude a complaint. The appointed Regional Manager or Complaints Officer will liaise with the Chairperson of LSP to consider whether a complaint falls into this category.

NB: Where there is a complaint relating to the Regional Manager, the Board of Directors will appoint another Complaints Officer to deal with the complaint.

Signed  _____________________


Review Date: June 2021

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