Customer Care Policy

Action on Asbestos (“the Association”) is a Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable status.

Objectives

(a) To provide financial and practical relief to those in need by reason of diagnosis of an asbestos related disease or other industrial-related disease or industrial injury or accident; (b) To advance awareness, research and education about asbestos related disease and other industrial-related diseases among health care professionals, the general public and statutory, voluntary and public bodies’.

What can Service Users expect of our Service

• In carrying out our objectives, all service users will be treated with dignity and respect.
• All service users will be treated equally, however, those suffering from a terminal diagnosis will be given priority over other service users.
• Any service users who have special requirements, such as language or hearing difficulties should let us know in advance in order that we can assist in making adjustments to accommodate this.
• When a service user is unable to carry out their own business, we will deal with a person who is expressly authorised to act on the service user’s behalf
• All information held by us about service users will be strictly confidential and will not be shared with any advice agency or any other body unless express agreement is made with the service user.
• We aim to provide our customers with all information, assistance and advice they will need in order to ensure that they maximise all welfare benefits they are entitled to.
• Information on the pursuit of legal advice.
• We aim to provide good quality advice specifically for asbestos related illnesses and for welfare benefits in general.

How will we carry out our business

• We will carry out business with service users over the phone or in person at our offices. Due to resources and location, home visits will be kept to a minimum and carried out usually only for those with a terminal diagnosis or significant health problems.
• After initial contact from a service user we will aim to respond to our customers within 2 working days if there has been a terminal diagnosis, and 5 working days in all other cases.
• We will represent our service users at Appeal Tribunals (Scotland) – which will be limited by resources and location – and all stages leading up to the Appeal and, where appropriate, Upper Tribunals.
• We will publicise our network of support groups and continue to host these for the benefit of our service users.
• It is not necessary to be a member of the Association in order to benefit from our assistance.
• Membership fees are £10.00 per annum.

• Should a service user wish to review the information that we hold in their file, they may make a request for this, in writing, to the Senior Welfare Rights Officer.

What we expect from our Service Users

• We ask that our service users contact us immediately they receive the outcome of any welfare benefit claims, in order that we may update our records and carry out appropriate reviews of their case in the future.
• We ask that our service users contact us as soon as possible if they are unable to keep an appointment with us.
• We understand that service users may be under considerable stress when they seek our assistance, and we gladly offer our support to all who approach us, however, we ask that our service users treat our staff with respect, those who fail to do so may well be refused access to our service.

Unacceptable Behaviour

Unacceptable behaviour (including bullying, harassment and victimisation) may involve actions, words or physical gestures that could reasonably be perceived to be the cause of another person’s distress or discomfort.

The charity defines behaviour as being unacceptable if –

• It is unwanted by the recipient;
• It has the purpose or effect of violating the recipients dignity or creating an intimidating hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; and
• Having regard to all the circumstances, including the recipients perception, it was reasonable for the behaviour to have that effect

If a third party, who is not an employee of the charity (client, visitor from an outside agency) behaves in an unacceptable manner; the person who is the first point of contact should first try to resolve the matter. If he/she is not able to defuse the situation then he/she should report the matter to the relevant person in charge at that time, in order for them to determine an appropriate course of action to deal with the issue. If the relevant person in charge at the time is not able to resolve the situation, the person causing the unacceptable behaviour should be asked to leave the office; this course of action must be explained in full to the third party and informed that the complaint must now be passed to the Board of Directors. The third party will then be contacted by letter and given a chance to respond, and will also have the opportunity to have a meeting to discuss their behaviour. If the matter is not resolved, the third party can be denied access to the services of CAA.

Examples of unacceptable behaviour by third parties are –

• Aggressive or abusive behaviour such as shouting;
• Unwanted physical contact;
• Gestures that make the recipient feel in any way threatened;
• Offensive remarks;
• Offensive language;
• Be under the influence of drink or illegal drugs;
• Display racist or sexist behaviour;
This list is not exhaustive

Complaints

• Should any service user have a complaint about our service, they may contact us in writing stating the nature of their complaint.
• The complaint will be dealt with by the Senior Welfare Rights Officer (unless the complaint is against the senior welfare rights officer, in which case, the complaint will be addressed by a member of the Board).
• All complaints will be answered in writing.
• If the Service User is dissatisfied with the response, they may make a further complaint to the Board of Directors, in writing, within 2 weeks of the response noted above.
• The Board of Directors will consider the complaint at their next scheduled meeting; therefore a response from the Board may take up to three months unless the complaint involves an urgent matter.

CAA will endeavour to ensure that we learn from any complaints.

Last reviewed June 2019

Due for review June 2020