Client Complaints

A complaint is serious dissatisfaction with some aspect of Community Services service provision.  Clients are encouraged to express their complaints to enable us to improve the quality of our support. We utilise the Better Practice Guide to Complaints Handling in Aged Care Services (2013) Department of Health and Ageing to guide our management of complaints and record complaints on the ADHC Client Information System.

In dealing with complaints:

  • Clients are made aware, through the Client Manual Handbook, of their right to complain without fear of retribution, the complaints process and their right to use an advocate in making a complaint. This information is explained to Clients at the time of assessment and review.
  • Clients have a right to complain and will be supported in making their complaint without fear of retribution and can expect complaints to be dealt with fairly and promptly in a manner which is non-threatening.
  • Clients can expect staff to take steps to ensure that they feel comfortable to continue accessing the service after making a complaint.
  • Clients are also advised that they can nominate a complaint contact person and where possible, this person will be allocated the complaint.
  • Clients are informed of how the complaint will be dealt with, and whether it needs to be managed in a particular way, either because the person making a complaint has specific rights of review or because the complaint includes allegations that must be reported to an external body. For example, criminal allegations should be reported to the police.
  • All complaints and the details of the complaint will be kept confidential, and information relative to the complaint will only be shared with others who are directly concerned with the resolution of the complaint. To maintain confidentiality all records and documentation are securely stored
  • All feedback from the complaint is used to improve our service delivery and forms part of our continuous improvement processes which underpin all of our services and operations. Our complaints handling approach reflects our vision, objectives and philosophy outlined in Section 1: Corporate Governance.

Process for Managing Complaints

Step Timeline
1.         A complaint is received via a Client Assistant or directly from a client/representative via letter, email, face to face or telephone. On day complaint is received
2.         A Client Complaint Form is created by the person receiving the complaint and the complaint is reported to their Client/Service Coordinator/Supervisor
3.         The complaint is reviewed by the Client/Service Coordinator/Supervisor and relevant information and proposed action is recorded and a complaint contact person is assigned taking into account the person’s preference and the unique nature of the complaint Within 2 working days of receipt of complaint
4.         The Client/Service Coordinator/Supervisor forwards an overview of the complaint and recommended action to the Assistant Manager for review and input
5.         The Assistant Manager informs the Manager of any complaints involving alleged criminal action or which may result in adverse public relations or may require handling in a particular way (criminal allegations should be reported to the Police)
6.         The Client/Service Coordinator/Supervisor contacts (by telephone, in person or letter) the service user to identify any support, cultural or linguistic that they need to understand and participate in the complaints process and to advise:

o   the complaint is being assessed

o   the process that is followed including confidentiality and any particular actions due to the nature of the complaint

o   the timeline

o   their right to a staff contact person of their choosing and the agreed contact person and their contact details

o   their right to an advocate and advocacy agency support (see Section 17: Advocacy)

o   their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman

o   when they will be contacted again.

Within 4 working days of receipt of complaint
7.         The Manager is updated about the progress to action the complaint at the next Senior Staff Meeting and the proposed action/plan is agreed. Investigation principles include: impartiality, confidentiality, transparency and timeliness. Within 15 working days of receipt of complaint
8.         Action is carried out, including providing an apology to the complainant if appropriate.  Person/s affected by the complaint are fully informed of all facts through ongoing updates on progress of the complaint and are given the opportunity to provide further information and contribute to the solutions
9.         The Client is advised of the actions taken to address the issues raised and the outcome of the complaint in a letter
10.       If the Client is not satisfied with the outcome they are advised of the complaints appeal process (see Section 17: Advocacy).
11.       If the Client wishes to appeal, the complaint is reviewed by the Manager, whose decision is final Within 25 working days of receipt of complaint
12.       The Client is advised of the Manager’s decision and of their option to go to an advocacy agency (see Section 17: Advocacy).
13.       When the complaint is finalised a staff person is identified by the Client/Service Coordinator/Supervisor to make sure that the Client feels comfortable to continue accessing the service and to obtain feedback on the complaints procedure. The complaint is then closed out.
14.       The Board of management is updated about all complaints relevant at each Board meeting.

Review of Complaints

The Board of Management is provided with information on serious complaints at each Board meeting and information on trends when adequate information is available:  The Board ensures:

  • Appropriate corrective and/or remedial action is considered, agreed and implemented.
  • Decisions reached as a result of the complaint review process are documented and records of implementation and follow up are maintained
  • The implications of the complaints are considered in service planning.

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