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Client Code of Conduct
seAp understands that people who use our service may have had past experiences which have given them reason to be fearful, angry and distrustful and we will do everything we can to provide support and reassurance. We will always do our best to support the people who contact us and all efforts will be made to resolve difficult issues without denying advocacy to anyone. However, we also have a duty to provide a safe and comfortable working environment for staff.
Purpose of this Policy
This policy is designed to help employees and clients to understand what is expected of them, what options for action are available, and who can authorise actions.
This is a policy that can be shared with clients, which can assist in managing expectations and behaviour, as far as possible, while the substance of any dispute and/or complaint is addressed.
Code of Conduct
The people we work with will always be treated with respect and we also expect to be treated with respect. This includes seAp staff, professionals who are contacted by the service, and users of services at seAp.
seAp advocates understand that clients may be fearful, angry and distrustful and we will do everything we can to support and reassure them. However, certain behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable. Inappropriate behaviour includes:
- verbal abuse
- threats or actual physical abuse
- using language that the staff member perceives to be racist, sexist or homophobic
- persistently challenging the service remit and/or advocates professional boundaries
- sexually inappropriate behaviour
- repeatedly missing appointments without notice
- intoxication by drugs or alcohol
- demanding that we take action we are unable to take. (We will always be clear about the limits of our service and when we cannot help any further)
- submitting repeat complaints after the case or complaints process has been completed.
(this is not an exhaustive list).
We will do our best to talk the situation over with clients and discuss how we can work better together. Where possible, the client should be advised that their behaviour is not acceptable. If, after challenging/warning, the client persists, the call/conversation should be terminated and reported to the manager. Quoted highlights of the conversation should be recorded on the database - then escalate to stage 1.
The advocate will discuss the situation with their Supervising Advocate and/or Team Manager and it will be decided whether the advocate, Supervising Advocate or Team Manager (or a combination) will discuss the inappropriate behaviour with the client to try and solve the problem.
If the problem is not resolved or if the client continues to act inappropriately, the advocacy service will be withdrawn until the Team Manager can meet with the client, preferably in person, but by telephone if necessary. This meeting will be arranged as quickly as possible, within 14 days of the service being stopped. The aim of the meeting is to reinstate appropriate use of the service, not to exclude the client.
The Contact Centre Manager will discuss the inappropriate behaviour with the caller to try and solve the problem.
Adequate records should be kept centrally and entered on the client database.
However, after these discussions, if the Team Manager believes that a client will not use the service appropriately, they may be excluded from the service with the approval of the relevant Operational Senior Manager, who will inform the CEO. If a client is denied access to the service, this may be for the following periods of time: 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or 1 year.
The length of time will depend on the nature and extent of the client’s inappropriate behaviour. In exceptional circumstances (e.g. physical abuse or following a number of temporary exclusions) the client may be permanently excluded with approval of the CEO.
A letter, including a summary of the situation and the period of exclusion will be sent to the client and a note made on the database record.
If the client continues to contact seAp, a named person should be appointed to review any future correspondence and/or contact. In the case of unallocated callers to the Contact Centre, these will be directed to the Contact Centre Manager, who will terminate the discussion as quickly as possible.
If a person’s unacceptable behaviour escalates and becomes threatening or abusive, seAp may inform the police and/or seek other forms of legal redress.
At any stage, if a client thinks that they have been treated unfairly by seAp, they can complain using the seAp complaints procedure. A copy of this is available from the Advocate or Team Manager or from the Contact Centre upon request.
You can download our Complaints information leaflet by clicking below: