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Conflict Resolution Guidelines

For a person served to effectively participate in decisions that affect him or her they may require assistance or support from another person. The conflict resolution process includes the right of a person served to be accompanied and supported by a family member, friend advocate, support person or interpreter/translator at any and all of the steps in the conflict resolution process.

Appropriate reasons for a decision affecting persons served must be given. The reasons must address the person's concerns and be comprehensible to him/her. The reasons must be in writing or recorded in an alternate format that is accessible to the person, as directed by them.

It is TDCSS’s obligation to inform the persons served that there is a conflict
resolution process regarding matters that concern the working conditions, health or safety of persons served. Persons served or their advocates must be told that they are entitled to seek a review of any decision [which includes the lack of a decision] if they believe the decision or failure to make a decision to be unfair or unreasonable. All persons served and where appropriate their family member, will receive a copy of the conflict resolution procedures when they begin to receive services from TDCSS.

Conflict resolution procedures must be accessible to all persons. The following criteria are examples of what is meant by accessible:

• The use of plain language where appropriate;

• All forms used in the appeal procedure are to be in a simple, straight-forward format;

• By request, a person who has a disability or is from any ethnic or racial minority can rely on the services of an interpreter/translator at any stage throughout the appeal procedure;

• Any meetings or hearings forming part of the appeal procedure shall be held in a place that is accessible to those who are mobility restricted;

• Conflict resolution processes must be flexible and timely. A variety of conflict resolution options should be provided, including mediation, internal review and external appeal procedures;

• There will be no reprisals because a person served has initiated a conflict resolution process. If there is evidence of retribution against persons who have exercised their right to appeal, TDCSS will take steps immediately to remedy the situation;

• Persons served appealing a decision are entitled to an impartial review. Our policy is to ensure a review free of bias. That means that the employee responsible for making a decision at any stage in the appeal process must to disassociate him/herself from participating in the decision at the next level of appeal. This would not preclude them from providing information to those responsible for the decision at the next level;

• Procedures must be sensitive about the privacy needs of individuals. Respecting everyone's right to privacy may also enhance the opportunity for early resolution;

• The conflict resolution process must be an open and honest one that finds a balance between privacy and the right to know and participate.

Conflict Resolution Procedure

1. Talk with the person involved. You can bring a friend, family member or advocate to help you. Try to find a way to come to an agreement. If this does not resolve the problem within two days, go to the next step.

2. Talk with the supervisor of your program. Call or write a note to the supervisor. The supervisor will respond to your concern with 24 hours by setting up a time to discuss the problem. If the problem has not been resolved within seven days, go to the next step.

3. Talk the manager of your program. The manager will talk to the person served or family member and to the other person involved to review the situation. They will ask you what you think needs to done to resolve the situation. They will recommend a solution within seven days. If this does resolve the problem the manager will refer the issue to the Executive Director.

4. The Executive Director will talk to the person served and/or family member, friend or advocate and to the other person involved to discuss the issue and will issue a decision in writing within seven days. If it is required the Executive Director will ensure the decision is written in plain language or given to the person served in a manner he/she understands.

5. If the written decision of the Executive Director is unsatisfactory the grievor may submit their issue to the TDCSS Board of Directors. The submission must be in writing and directed through the Executive Director.

6. The Board of Directors will issue a written decision with 30 days of receiving the complaint. The decision will be in writing. The decision of the Board of Director is final.

7. All communication between TDCSS employees and persons served will be courteous and respectful. Any time this condition does not exist, communications may be discontinued by either side and resumed at a time when this can be achieved