(01) 536 7330 info@sageadvocacy.ie

Independent Complaints Review Panel

Independent Complaints Review Panel

  • Who can ask for a review of a complaint?

    A request for a review of a decision on a complaint may be made by:

    • A client who uses Sage Advocacy services;
    • Somebody acting on the client’s behalf provided that it is clear that the client has sought assistance from that person in making the complaint;
    • Somebody acting on the client’s behalf where there is clear evidence that the client does not have the capacity to make a complaint or to ask another person to assist; or
    • A bona fide third party, e.g. relative, social and health care provider or nominated representatives under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, or a person considered by the Panel to be a bona fide third party who was not involved in assisting with the original complaint.

    The Independent Complaints Review Panel (the Panel) will have discretion as to whether a person can be part of a review as a bona fide third party where they were not a involved in assisting with the original complaint.

  • How do I request a review of a complaint?
    • To make a request for a review of a complaint by the Panel you should first have availed of the internal complaints process within Sage Advocacy.
    • If you have not already done so please contact complaints@sageadvocacy.ie or phone 01 536 7330.
    • If you have already availed of the internal complaints process and are unhappy with the outcome, you can request a review. This should be made within 30 days of the decision on the complaint.  In certain circumstances the Panel may agree to extend this time limit. 
  • What do I need to do?

    You will need to set out the grounds on which the review is being sought and explain why you believe that the decision on the complaint was wrong.

  • How do I start?

    You must fill in a Request for a Review of Complaint form.  You can also request a form by phoning Sage Advocacy at 015367330 or emailing complaints@sageadvocacy.ie

  • How will my request for a review be handled?

    The Panel will first decide if a review is necessary.  If a review is not felt to be necessary, the Chair of the Panel will inform you in writing of the reasons for its decision.

    If a review is necessary the Panel will send a copy of your request to the Executive Director of Sage Advocacy and ask for a response to the points made in your request. This response will be sent to you by the Panel for further comment by you.  Any further comments you make will be provided to the Executive Director and the Panel will then proceed with a review of your complaint.

  • How will the Panel decide if a review is necessary?

    In reviewing any complaint the Panel must first decide whether a review is necessary.  In doing so they will be guided by a number of factors.  The full list of factors is available below.  For example, the Panel will only consider a complaint about the work of Sage Advocacy and will not consider any anonymous or frivolous complaints.

    The Panel will also need to be given reasons why you think the decision on the complaint was wrong.

  • What are the full factors that the Panel considers?

    The Panel will be guided by the following:

    • The complaint cannot be considered frivolous or vexatious;
    • The complaint cannot be anonymous;
    • The complaint was made directly by a client, on behalf of a client or by a bona fide third party;
    • The complaint must relate to the work of Sage Advocacy and not to another organisation, agency or service;
    • The complaint does/did not relate to safeguarding and protection concerns which are dealt with under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Policy of Sage Advocacy;
    • The complaint was/is not the subject of legal proceedings;
    • The complaint has been examined and decided by Sage Advocacy and the outcome has not been accepted by the complainant;
    • The complainant can give reasons as to why the decision of the Executive Director on their complaint justifies a review such as, but not confined to:

    -  new evidence which has come to light which could materially affect the basis of the Executive Director’s decision; and/or

    -  evidence of a substantial flaw which significantly affected how the decision on the complaint was reached by the Executive Director.

  • What decisions can the Panel make?

    The Panel can either:

    • confirm the Executive Director’s decision on the complaint; or
    • refer the matter back to the Executive Director for reconsideration in accordance with guidance provided by the Panel.

    The Panel will then inform you in writing of its decision and if it feels no further action is necessary it will explain the reasons why.

  • What if I don’t agree with the Panel’s decision?

    The Panel’s decision is normally final and conclusive. However, it may, in certain circumstances, be reviewable by the Ombudsman.

  • How long will the review of my complaint take?

    The Panel will strive to carry out its review within 28 working days of receiving full comments from the Executive Director and Complainant, and the entirety of documentation related to the request for a review.  When the Panel makes its decision, a short summary written report will then be forwarded to the person who made the complaint within the next 7 days.

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Pat Whelan (Chair)

Pat Whelan is a former Director General of the Office of the Ombudsman for Ireland. Since his retirement from that position in 2012, he has been engaged on a consultancy basis with a number of public and private sector agencies.  Pat holds a degree in Science from University College, Dublin and a Masters Degree in Management Science from Trinity College, Dublin. After graduating, he worked with British Telecom in London, the Department of Posts and Telegraphs in Dublin, the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Finance. He also served with the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

He participated in various sub-committees of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association (now called the Ombudsman Association) on a range of issues including the development of best practice in complaint handling and governance for ombudsman offices. He also served for six years as Chair of the internal audit committee of the Public Appointments Service.

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Caroline Lynch

Initially employed as a journalist with the Irish Press Newspaper Group for almost seven years (1989-1995) before working in the community and voluntary sector for over 20 years. Held senior communications roles with the Irish Red Cross Society (1995-1998) and Trocaire (1998-2004) and worked with a number of organisations including trade unions and NGOs while employed with Montague Communications (2004-2005). Moved into managing communications and advocacy with the Irish Hospice Foundation (2005-2014). During this time, managed the work of the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland and its flagship Think Ahead document and process.

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Kieran Coughlan

Kieran entered the civil service in 1973 and was appointed to Leinster House in October of that year and served 40 years in the Houses of the Oireachtas administration in various roles from 1973 -2013, 23 of which were at the most senior level as Clerk of the Dail and Secretary General of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service and Chief Executive to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. He served in various statutory Commissions: Ethics in Public Office Commission (subsequently Standards in Public Office), Referendum Commission and Constituency Revision Commission from 1990 to 2013 and the Commission on Electronic Voting 2005 and was appointed to the National Heritage Council in June 2016. Kieran was appointed Adjunct Professor within the College of Business and Law, University College Cork in March, 2017.

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