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Letting go is hard to do: Managing difficult complainant behaviour Louise Rosemann Assistant Ombudsman Office of the Queensland Ombudsman 8 November 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Letting go is hard to do: Managing difficult complainant behaviour Louise Rosemann Assistant Ombudsman Office of the Queensland Ombudsman 8 November 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Letting go is hard to do: Managing difficult complainant behaviour Louise Rosemann Assistant Ombudsman Office of the Queensland Ombudsman 8 November 2012 Conference of Regulatory Officers 2012

2 Unreasonable complainant conduct UCC is behaviour by a current or former complainant which, because of its nature or frequency, raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues for the parties to a complaint.

3 Why do complainants behave unreasonably?  Attitudes – they are dissatisfied with a person, agency, system or process  Emotions/psychologies – they are highly angry, frustrated or disappointed, have an inflated sense of entitlement or cannot accept personal responsibility  Aspirations – they seek ‘justice’, ‘a moral outcome’, are pursuing a matter of ‘principle’ or seek vindication  Recreational interests – a pleasurable hobby  Needs – their expectations, physical or emotional needs have not been met

4 Objectives of the framework  Ensure equity and fairness – resources are allocated based on the merit of the complaint rather than the demands or behaviour of the complainant  Improve efficiency – allocating sufficient time and resources to manage UCC avoids the drain on resources from unmanaged UCC  Promote health and safety – identifying potential risks to staff health and safety and implementing measures to eliminate or control those risks

5 Prevention principles  Manage complainant expectations – let complainants know what you can and cannot do at the outset  Insist on respect and co-operation – the complainant has rights but also responsibilities  Implement policies and procedures – which demonstrate organisational commitment to effective management of UCC, and ensure staff understand and receive training in them

6 Management principles  Separate content from process – the agency is responsible for the complaint while the complainant ‘owns’ the issue  Separate the person from their behaviour – focus on observable behaviour rather than labelling the person as ‘difficult’  Respond appropriately and consistently – using the framework and suggested strategies  Communicate effectively – clear, regular, timely and firm communication avoids misunderstandings

7 Framework of strategies

8 Prevention principles  Manage complainant expectations – let complainants know what you can and cannot do at the outset  Insist on respect and co-operation – the complainant has rights but also responsibilities  Implement policies and procedures – which demonstrate organisational commitment to effective management of UCC, and ensure staff understand and receive training in them

9 Managing expectations  Provide information to potential complainants about the role and jurisdiction of your agency  Provide specific and consistent information to complainants at each stage of your consideration of their case  Explain your complaint handling process, timeframes, what can and cannot be achieved  Check for understanding

10 It’s OK to complain

11 Managing UCC 1.Have policy and procedures to support effective management of UCC 2.Undertake training in managing UCC 3.Manage complainant’s expectations before, during and after they make a complaint 4.Use the framework to respond consistently 5.Communicate effectively

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