The POA is the Platform for Relief Institutions in Amsterdam (Platform Opvanginstellingen Amsterdam). De big six institutions that provide (social) relief and shelter in Amsterdam have formed a joint complaints committee. This complaints committee handles complaints from clients relating from the following institutions:
• Blijf Groep
• Stichting HVO-Querido
• Leger des Heils, Goodwill Centra Amsterdam
• Stichting Oudezijds 100
• Stichting De Regenboog Groep
• Stichting Volksbond Amsterdam
As a client of the social services you may find yourself confronted with situations or circumstances about which you are dissatisfied. Naturally, you will discuss this first within the relief institution, with your counsellor or the director and hopefully things will improve after that. Your complaints are often resolved easier and quicker in this way than when you start proceedings with the Complaints Committee.
But when the situation has not improved, or you have not been satisfied, you can file a complaint with the (independent) POA Complaints Committee.
Some examples of complaints are: about the way in which you have been treated; about a decision with which you do not agree; or when you feel you have not received adequate help.
Your complaint will be handled in a careful manner, which will, of course, take time. The committee will handle your complaint, ask the relief institution about which you are complaining, for their comments in the matter and then review the case carefully. Subsequently there will (often) be an oral hearing: you (and your complaints counsellor, if you have one) will be invited to this, as will people from your relief institution, so that the committee may hear everyone involved with your complaint. After this the committee will render its decision.
The entire procedure is explained in the letter which you will receive when your complaint has been received by the committee and you can also find all the information on the internet.
Please count on a maximum of three months from the moment you file your complaint to the moment you receive the official decision in writing. This decision is sent both to you and to the institution your complaint concerns, simultaneously. If the committee decides in your favour, the institution will soon inform you if any measures are to be taken and which these will be.
You may always (up until the time of the decision) withdraw a complaint which you have filed.
It goes without saying that everyone involved in the handling of your case, or anyone consulted by the POA Complaints Committee, are bound to secrecy.
Please take note of the following rules that apply, the handling of your request is taken very seriously:
• A complaint must be filed in writing or by email (or with the form shown on the right), or else your complaint will not be handled.
• You must describe the situation that you are in and the reason for filing a complaint in-depth and very thoroughly. Also explain how your case was dealt with, within the institution.
• You must state your full name, address, telephone number and email address, at the very least a name and a (postal) address.
• The complaint must be sent or delivered to the address for the Complaints Committee = Eerst Ringdijkstraat 5, 1097 BC Amsterdam. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
• You must file the complaint yourself, but you may seek assistance from someone in composing the complaint and during the proceedings, as well. We call this person a complaints counsellor. Ask someone you know well, whether he or she is willing to be your complaints counsellor; is willing to speak on your behalf when your complaint is being handled by the committee; or is willing to make enquiries on your behalf. Employees at your own relief institution may not be your complaints counsellor.
• Surviving relatives of clients or representatives of underage clients may also file a complaint.
• Complaints must be filed in Dutch.
Do you not have anyone to help you put your complaint to paper and file it? In that case, please ask the secretary for the complaints committee to help you.
There is no charge for filing a complaint.