An effective complaint mechanism
Whether you establish a complaint mechanism alone, or together with others, it is expected to be effective. This means, among other things, that the people that may experience an adverse impact on their rights must be familiar with the access you give them to complain and have confidence in your complaint mechanism(s).
At worst, an ineffective complaint mechanism can exacerbate the situation for the persons concerned and for your own company, due to the damage to your reputation.
You can check whether your complaint mechanism is effective by ensuring that it lives up to the eight efficiency criteria stated below.
An effective complaint mechanism should be:
Legitimate: This means that the target groups must have confidence in it, and that it must ensure that complaint processes take place on a fair basis.
Tip: You can include representatives of your target groups in the design and further development of the mechanism.
Accessible: This means that the target groups must be familiar with it and that it must take account of groups for whom access to the mechanism is a special challenge.
Tip: For example, you can provide information on the mechanism in relevant local languages, prepare printed material for groups without Internet access, communicate verbally with groups with reading difficulties, etc.
Predictable: This means that there must be a clear, known procedure with an indicative time frame for each stage of the complaint process. There must also be clarity concerning possible complaint processes, complaint results and implementation phases.
Tip: You can, for example, define and communicate which types of complaints your target group can raise, and the possible outcomes of the complaints.
Fair: This means that it must ensure that the parties involved have access to relevant information and advice, so that all parties can participate in the complaint process on a fair, informed and respectful basis.
Tip: You can, for example, share all information on the case with the parties to the complaint in a way that is easy to understand.
Transparent: This means that it must keep the parties involved informed about the developments in the case and make sufficient information on how the mechanism functions available to the general public.
Tip: You can, for example, report on how the mechanism functions both internally and externally.
Compatible with other rights: This means that it must ensure that the outcomes of complaints do not have negative impacts on human rights.
Tip: You can, for example, ensure that all complaints are analysed in a human rights perspective.
A source of learning: This means that it must reveal opportunities to improve the mechanism and prevent future complaints and adverse impacts.
Tip: You can, for example, keep a centralised register of all complaints and evaluate the quality of the mechanism on an ongoing basis.
Dialogue-based: This means that it must consult your target groups on the design and function of the mechanism and prioritise dialogue in the resolution of complaints.
Tip: You can, for example, include representatives of your target groups in the work of monitoring and evaluating the mechanism.