Complaints Handling Policy & Procedures

Objective of the Policy

C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi seeks to maintain and enhance its reputation of providing high quality services that uphold the agency’s mission statement and community’s values. We value community complaints, feedback, and input on our department’s programs and services.

C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi is committed to being responsive of the needs and concerns of our community and individual clients and to resolving complaints as quickly as possible.

This policy has been designed to provide guidance to both the clients and staff on the manner in which C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi manages your complaint that is consistent, fair, and impartial in its responses.

The objective of this policy is to ensure:

  • All parties are aware of the complaint lodgment and handling processes
  • The complaints are investigated impartially with a balanced view of all information or evidence
  • The department takes reasonable steps to actively protect personal health information
  • Complaints are considered on its merits taking into account individual circumstances and needs

Definition of a Complaint

In this policy a complaint means an expression of dissatisfaction by a client relating to the services provided by C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi.

How to File a Complaint

If a client is dissatisfied with the services provided by any program of the department, he/she/or they should first speak directly with the staff member. If the client is uncomfortable with speaking directly to the relevant staff member or feels staff member may be unable to address the concerns, then the client will talk to the supervisor of the respected program. Upon speaking with the supervisor, if dissatisfaction persists the client may lodge a complaint with the department in one of the following ways:

In order to achieve consistent handling of complaints, the department requires complaints to be made in writing on the correct form.

Information Needed in the Complaint

Investigating the complaint is reliant upon the information provided to the department from the client and by reviewing the information available to the department. In order to get the most information needed for fair resolution the department may contact the client or witnesses as approved by signed releases of information to clarify details or request additional information to assist in investigating complaints quickly and efficiently. Outside of the requested on the COMMUNITY COMPLAINT FORM, some examples of what follow up information may be asked are:

  • More details on the nature of the complaint
  • Details of any steps the client has already taken to resolve the complaint
  • Details of communications the client has had with department staff, government staff, or others that is specific to the complaint
  • Copies of any documentation or evidence that supports the complaint

Help Making a Complaint

If you need additional help making your complaint, please reach out to the Human Services Administrative Building at (507) 697-8681 and speak with the assistant.

Recording Complaints

The agency is responsible for recording all complaints and tracking outcomes. Protected health information will not be shared. Record details will include the following:

  • Date complaint was received by the department
  • Type of complaint/reason for complaint
  • Outcome or actions in response to complaint
  • Client satisfaction of complaint resolution

As part of on-going department improvement planning, complaints will be reviewed and monitored for any identifiable trends by administration and rectified/remedial action taken to mitigate any identified issues.

The department will record client, or individual making the complaint, information solely for the purposes of address the complaint. The personal details will actively be protected from disclosure, unless you expressly consent to its disclosure.

If a witness is identified in the complaint and the individual wishes to have their input heard on the investigation of the complaint a signed release of information is required.

Feedback and Response to Complaints

C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi is committed to resolving issues immediately with assigned staff, however, this will not be possible in all circumstances, in which case a more formal complaint is required.

The department will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within (3) business days. Once the complaint has been received, the department will undertake an initial review of the complaint.

The department, during the initial review of the complaint, may need to clarify certain aspects of the complaint or request additional documentation or evidence. In these circumstances the department will explain the purpose of seeking such clarification or additional evidence and will provide an update on the status of the complaint at that time.

The department is committed to resolving the complaint within (10) business days of receiving the complaint, however, this may not always be possible on every occasion. If the department is unable to resolve the complaint within 10 business days, they will inform the individual of the reason for the delay and specify a date when the complaint will be finalized.

Once the department has finalized the compliant, they will advise the individual of the findings and any actions that were taken. The department will do this in writing.

Individuals may contact the department at anytime to inquire the status of their complaint.

Complaint Process

  • We acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 3 business days.
  • We review the complaint initially and determine what if any additional information or evidence is required to complete the investigation. We may contact you in order to clarify details or request additional information where necessary.
  • We investigate within 10 business days of receiving your complaint objectively and impartially, by considering the information you have provided us, our actions in relation to your dealings with us and any other information which may be available, that could assist us in investigating your complaint.
  • We respond following our investigation and will notify you of our findings and any actions we may have taken in regard to your complaint.
  • We act where appropriate, and we amend department practices or policies.
  • We record your complaint for continuous improvement process and monitoring through regular review, your personal information will be recorded in accordance with relevant privacy laws.

Complaints about C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi Team Members

If the department receives a complaint about a member of the team, they will treat the complaint confidentially, impartially and equally (giving equal treatment to all people). They will investigate your complaint thoroughly by finding out the relevant facts, speaking with the relevant people and verifying explanations where possible.

The department will treat the team members objectively by:

  • Informing team member of any complaint about his or her performance,
  • Providing him or her with an opportunity to explain the circumstances,
  • Providing the appropriate support to he or she,
  • And updating him or her with the results of the complaint investigation.

Complaints Under Investigation by a Regulator Agency

C̣aƞṡayapi Oyate Woṭani Yapi will assist any agency with their investigations as appropriate.

If the department had received an internal complaint it may cease further action in relation to the compliant while the relevant external agency is conducting its review.

Complaint Escalation Process

When possible, the department hopes that any complaint may be resolved immediately with the assigned team member and client working relationship. If the staff member is unable to resolve the complaint at this level, the client may submit a COMMUNITY COMPLAINT FORM and it will be investigated. The department will provide the individual with a written response of the outcome of the investigation.

If the client is not satisfied with how the complaint has been handled, or the resolution provided by the department, he or she can request to the department that the complaint be escalated appropriately. Depending on the type of the complaint this escalation could be to Tribal Administration Human Resources Department, Legal Counsel, or Community Council. In these circumstances the department will receive all appropriate releases of information required to adequately support the escalation of the complaint.

One of the assigned above-mentioned entities, respectively, will approach the complaint by attempting to resolve the outstanding issues through consultation, by working with both the department and the individual, to determine the relevant facts and establish a common ground. Assigned entity will remain open and impartial throughout the consultative process and consider the complaint and the department’s actions, in attempting to resolve the complaint on its merits.

Escalation Process

  1. First Contact – Our team members are empowered to resolve complaints, wherever possible, immediately.
  2. Investigation – If the individual is not satisfied with the team member’s response, they can submit a COMMUNITY COMPLAINT FORM to the department for investigation. The department will investigate the complaint and consider all relevant circumstances and information surrounding the complaint and inform the individual of the findings.
  3. Escalated Complaint – If the individual is not satisfied with the results of the findings from the investigation, he or she may request that their complaint be escalated. The department will gather all appropriate releases of information necessary to facilitate an escalated complaint. An assigned Tribal Administrative Entity will be identified to handle the escalated complaint. Respected entity will attempt to resolve the matter through consultation, by working with both the induvial and the department.
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