SIS complaints Audit

SIS has LEARNING as one of our core values. We therefore, have an organisational culture in which complaints are encouraged and welcomed.

A complaint is defined by SIS as “an expression of dissatisfaction made either verbally or in writing, whether justified or not, about the services that SIS provides”.

An effective complaints procedure ensures that SIS has an opportunity to put things right for an individual who has received a poor service, and so that SIS can learn from its mistakes and improve the accessibility, delivery and the quality of services provided.

All complaints are fully investigated by the Learning & Development Manager to ensure that all factors are considered. The results of the investigation are reported back to the complainant (usually in writing) with any necessary explanations and information about action taken to improve practices.

In many cases the investigation concludes that a complaint is unfounded. If a complaint is not upheld it is most often the result of a lack of knowledge on the part of the complainant; customers are sometimes unclear about CI role boundaries and/or SIS policies and procedures which can lead to unrealistic expectations and/or misunderstandings. The complaints process enables SIS to provide information, advice and clarification.

How many complaints have we received?

  • Upheld complaints
  • Unfounded complaints

There were 16768 Community Interpreting sessions in the year 2017-2018.
The percentage of sessions generating an upheld complaint is 0.048%, and this is consistent with previous years.

Who made the upheld complaint?

  • Service Provider
  • Service User
  • Community Interpreter

Service Providers continue to provide constructive feedback on a regular basis.

30% of complaints were upheld. This is a 22% improvement on last year, and continues an improvement trend.

What was the upheld complaint about?

  • 2008-2009
  • 2009-2010
  • 2010-2011
  • 2011-2012
  • 2012-2013
  • 2013-2014
  • 2014-2015
  • 2015-2016
  • 2016-2017
  • 2017-2018

upheld complaints 2017-18

  • Number Received

This is the first year in which there have been no complaints about CI punctuality or failure to attend, this is reflective our new processes in monitoring, recording and managing Community Interpreter professional practices. 7 CI’s received First Written Warnings for poor attendance, and 2 CI’s received Second Written Warnings for poor attendance. 1 CI was temporarily deregistered for 6 weeks after breaking conditions of their second written warning.

In 2017-2018 the main areas were upheld complaints were received were “CI Behaviour”, and “Co-ordination Error”. With the 2 complaints upheld about CI Behaviour, 1 CI attended a meeting with LDO and QAM to discuss how they can improve their professional practice around the issue which caused the complaint, and the other CI withdraw voluntarily from the service before a formal meeting could be implemented.

With the 2 instances of an upheld complaint being the result of “Co-ordination Error”, LDO liaised with the Co-ordination Team Manager to offer required training to staff members involved.

Community Interpreting Quality Control and Support

Community Interpreting sessions are carried out by a pool of 159 freelance Community Interpreters (CIs).  All CIs working for SIS have been through a rigorous recruitment and induction and 83% of sessions are completed by accredited/qualified CIs, and 6% completed by interpreters with other training.

However, the nature of the work requires CIs to work autonomously with no formal supervision.   Feedback (including complaints) is an invaluable tool for Continuous Professional Development providing opportunities to offer support to CIs to improve their practice and ensure they have full understanding of their role and SIS’s expectations.  In the 2018-19 period, as a result of complaints management;

  • 3 CIs had telephone support
  • 7 CIs were written to with reminders, advice and recommendations for development
  • 4 CIs met with the Quality Assurance Manager and/or LDO to consolidate verbal and written support
  • 1 CIs attended a re-induction to SIS following complaints management
  • 1 CIs withdrew from SIS services as a result of complaints management

Other work to minimise complaints and support CI Professional Practice (PP)

25 CIs were spoken to on the phone to discuss issues around missing appointments or being late at appointments that were not raised as a formal complaint.

13 CIs were written to about required standards of PP following missed appointments or lateness for appointments. Again appointments, which were not raised as a formal complaint

Positive feedback about complaints management

“Hello David,

First of all, please accept my apology for such a late response.

Secondly, I’d like to thank you for your thorough investigation and feedback; both XXXX and myself are fully satisfied with the outcomes.

We wish XXXX well in his career with SIS and we look forward to using SIS services in the future”


“Hello David

Thank you for your email dated 30th October, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

I appreciate the thorough nature of your investigation and agree that you have highlighted instances that were outside of the control of SIS.

I will convey this to my colleagues in the XXXX department.

Once again, thank you for your help in this matter.

Kind regards”

SIS is also able to use specific incidents, which generated complaints as a resource for our internal training. They can form the basis of role-plays, action learning or discussions about best practice and how to deal with difficult situations.