Why You Need A Complaint and Response Mechanism
Any well functioning programme, intervention and/or Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system will have a Feedback, Complaint and Response Mechanism.
What is a Feedback, Complaint and Response Mechanism (FCRM)?
A Feedback Complaint and Response Mechanism (FCRM) is a structured system or process implemented by organizations, institutions, or programmess to collect, manage, and respond to feedback, complaints, and suggestions from stakeholders.
Why is a FCRM important for Development Programmes?
1. Accountability and Transparency - FCRM holds organizations and development programs accountable for their actions and decisions. It ensures that stakeholders have a voice and can hold the programme accountable for delivering on its promises.
2. Protection and safeguarding - FCRMs enable organisations to learn about and respond in real time to protection and safeguarding concerns—such as misconduct by staff or other organizations operating in the local context—as well as to changes to security or risks to people’s safety. This is especially important for programmes and interventions that work with vulnerable popuplations such as children and persons with a disability.
3. Monitoring and Evaluation and Learning - having a FCRM is part of quality assurance to document success, failures and learning with both internal and external audiences for programme delivery. A FCRM also acts as an early warning system for potential problems or risks that may impact programme outcomes. This proactive approach can help prevent or mitigate negative impacts.
4. Inclusion and Participation and Human Rights - FCRMs places the needs and concerns of stakeholders at the centre of program operations. This client-focused approach helps in tailoring programs to meet the specific needs of the communities they serve.It empowers stakeholders by giving them a voice in the decision-making process. Acknowledging and responding to feedback and complaints is also a fundamental human right. FCRM ensures that the rights and dignity of stakeholders are respected.
A FCRM goes beyond just the collection of feedback. It is the actions that are taken after a complaint is made that helps to make a FCRM effective.
An effective FCRM needs an enabling environment to be effective. This consists of an organisational culture that is not punitive. Where whistleblowers are not penalised and where senior management demonstrate the importance of accountability when they routinely model attitudes and behaviors in which feedback is seen not as a threat but as an opportunity to respond or improve, A culture where clear, transparent and responsive two‑way communication is seen as essential for working effectively and for adaptive management. This includes ensuring a safe environment for staff and stakeholders to report safeguarding and project management issues.
What are the FCRM steps?
Image reproduced from Feedback, Complaints and Response Mechanisms Guide, 2021 Catholic Relief Services.
To learn more on how to set up a FRCM, read the full guide from the Catholic Relief Services.