How to Resolve a Problem with a Provider

Many of us experience problems that we need to solve. We describe an example of how you might be able to fix a personal problem with someone you employ like a support worker, or a service provider. Sometimes these problems are big, sometimes they can be small, but we treat big and small problems the same way when we are trying to solve them. If you have more than one problem, make a list and solve them one at a time.

It is easiest to break down the problem solving process into smaller steps, we have identified 10 steps to follow when you are resolving a problem:

1. Define the problem

Concentrate on describing what the problem is and how it affects you, your work or studies, or leisure activities.

Does the problem happen every time you see the provider or only sometimes?
What happens when the problem occurs?
How does the problem make you feel?

2. Describe who or what is causing the problem

Is it a person or an organisation causing the problem?
Is only one person causing the problem?
If it is an organisation, who can you talk to at the organisation about resolving the problem?

3. Describe who else is affected

Are you the only person affected by the problem or does the problem also affect other people?
How are other people affected by the problem?

4. Describe the outcome you want

In an ideal world, what would you like to happen?
What do you want to change?
Don’t try to think of a solution at this point, think about what a good outcome for you would look like. Decide what is really important to you, what are you willing and not willing to negotiate on?

5. List the possible solutions

List as many ways as possible how things could be done differently to get the outcome you want.

6. Evaluate the solutions

What are the positives and negatives of each solution you came up with?

7. Choose the best option for you

Which solution would work best for you and why?
Would this solution work for all people involved in the problem?
Which solution would work best for the other person or organisation you employ and why?
Could you compromise and live with a different solution that meets both yours and the other persons’ needs?

8. Write the problem and possible solutions down

So you are ready to discuss the problem with the person, write down the problem and the possible solutions, or get someone to help you write about the problem and your solutions. Write down the ideas you thought about when you answered the questions in steps 1 through 7.

9. Meet with the person who can solve the problem

Arrange a suitable time that suits both you and the other person to discuss the problem fully without rushing. Explain the problem to the person and how it is affecting you and others you know. Explain the outcome you want. Accept that you might need to make some compromises to the other person, and they may need to compromise too. The other person might come up with a different solution that also ensures the outcome you want happens. Try to come to a solution together that you can both agree on.

10. Make an agreement with the person

Agree on a timeframe for the other person to put in place the agreed changes. Write down the agreed outcomes and solutions from your discussion together with the other person. Agree on a time to meet again to discuss how the changes are working for you and the other person.

If you cannot agree a solution

It can happen that you can’t reach agreement with the other person. If this happens, you need to decide if you want to continue with the service how it currently is, or look for a new service that might be better for you, or make a complaint to a supervisor at the service.

Please visit our complaints page to find information about how to make a complaint, and organisations that may be able to help you make a complaint.

ADACAS How to make a complaint