Complaint Policy for RRRSI Service Users
Record of policy development
1st June 2019
Review due date 31/5/2020
Review due date 31/5/2021
Review due date 31/5/2022
This policy applies to
All employees, Board of Directors
Board of Directors, CEO, Management Team
Policy context – this policy relates to:
NDIS Practice Standards
National Disability Insurance Scheme (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018
National Disability Insurance Scheme (Complaints Management and Resolution) Rules 2018
Complaint: is an expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation regarding its staff, services or products that warrants response or resolution.
Complainant: is an employee, participant, advocate, entity or member of the public who expresses their dissatisfaction about an organisation to either the organisation itself or an external body.
Escalation: is the process of reporting complaints to the Quality and Safeguarding Commission if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint.
Riverland Respite and Recreation Service Inc will:
- ensure that all participants, and their families, carers and advocates are encouraged and supported to raise any concerns they have about the service or organisation
- consider all complaints it receives regardless of whether the complainant is a participant of the organisation
- treat all complainants with respect, recognising that the issue of complaint is important to the complainant
- maintain confidentiality of parties involved, keeping any information private to those directly involved in the complaint and its resolution. Information will only be disclosed if required by law, or if otherwise necessary
- ensure support and advocacy is available to participants who make a complaint and require support
- resolve complaints, where possible, to the satisfaction of the complainant
- participants, families and advocates have access to the organisation’s complaints management policy
- deal with all complaints in a timely manner, and aim to provide a formal response to the complainant within 14 business days of the complaint being received
- keep parties to the complaint appropriately involved and informed of progress of the complaint
- ensure that Board of Directors and the Management team members, and all staff are given information about the complaint’s procedure as part of their induction and are aware of procedures for managing participant feedback and complaints
- ensure all service users, stakeholders and members are aware of the complaints policy and procedures
- ensure that all complainants are aware of and understand how to escalate their complaint to Quality and Safeguarding Commission
- ensure that a complainant is not penalised in any way or prevented from use of services during the progress of an issue
- ensure that feedback data (both positive and negative) is considered in organisational reviews and in planning service improvements
- review and evaluate the accessibility and effectiveness of the complaints management system and continually improve its processes
Information for participants and stakeholders
Riverland Respite and Recreation Service Inc complaints and appeals procedure will be documented for participants and stakeholders in the organisation service booklet of which a copy is provided at the intake planning meetings as well as being available on line via the world wide web site support for participants with specific communication needs will be offered a range of solutions and strategies as appropriate
All participants will be informed of their rights and responsibilities with regards to complaints and appeals at the earliest possible stage of their involvement with the organisation.
The Complaints Management Policy will contain information on the following:
- how to make a complaint or lodge an appeal, including an anonymous complaint
- contact person for lodging a complaint or appeal
- how the organisation will deal with the complaint or appeal, the steps involved and the timelines
- the rights of the complainant to an advocate, support person or interpreter
- how the person will be informed about the outcome of their complaint or appeal
- how to make a complaint to an external body including contact details
Staff will be trained on the complaint’s management procedures during their induction, and as part of ongoing refresher training.
Members of the management team will undergo training for complaints management and resolution to support participants to throughout the complaint process and appropriately respond to complaints in an empathetic manner. This will include open communication strategies such as acknowledging the grievance without being defensive and making apologies while accepting responsibility for what occurred.
Making a complaint
A person wishing to make a complaint may do so in writing or verbally to:
- the staff member they were dealing with at the time
- a management team member
- the Chief Executive Officer
- a Board of Director member
- the Quality and Safeguarding Commission staff
Complaints may be made by:
- submitting a completed Feedback and Complaints form into the Suggestion Box located at reception. The Feedback and Complaints form is available in hard copy from the Senior Administration Officer and online from www.riverlandrespite.org.au.
- Written complaints may be sent to 28A Kay Avenue Berri or emailed to email@example.com. The Senior Administration Officer will be responsible for receiving this correspondence and directing it to the CEO.
- Feedback and complaints via telephone may be made on 85 823 110
If the complaint is about:
- a staff member, the complaint will normally be dealt with by the CEO
- a Management team member or Program Coordinator, the complaint will normally be dealt with by the CEO
- the CEO, the complaint will normally be dealt with by the Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Lodging an appeal
Participants or their advocates may lodge an appeal if they disagree with a decision made by the CEO
An appeal request should be made in writing to the Chairperson for the Board of Directors and submitted to the Senior Administration Officer.
Procedure for complaints and appeals management
Any staff member may be a recipient of a complaint, and is responsible for:
- Receiving the complaint:
- listening to the complainant, acknowledging the concern raised, and explaining the next steps to the complainant
- Depending on the type and severity of the complaint, either discussing with the complainant an agreed upon resolution (for smaller matters), or referring the complaint on to the relevant Program Coordinator for further investigation and action.
The person managing the complaint will be responsible for:
- Processing the complaint or appeal:
- registering the complaint or appeal in the complaint register
- informing the complainant that their complaint has been received and providing them with the template letter including information about the process and time frame
- Investigating the complaint or appeal:
- examining the complaint within five business days of the complaint being received
- investigating the complaint and deciding how to respond
- informing the complainant by letter within the two business days of the complaint being received of what is being done to investigate and resolve it, and the expected time frame for resolution
As far as possible, complaints or appeals will be investigated and resolved within [timeframe] of being received. If this time frame cannot be met, the complainant will be informed of the reasons why and of the alternative time frame for resolution.
- Responding to and resolving the complaint:
- making a decision or referring to the appropriate people for a decision within ten business days of the complaint being received
- informing the complainant of the outcome and the reasons for any decisions made
- upheld and if so what will be done to resolve it
- resolved and how this has been achieved; or
- if no further action can be taken, the reasons for this
- informing the complainant of any options for further action if required
- if an apology is in order, ensuring that the appropriate person makes the apology and informs the complainant what the organisation intends to do to avoid further grievance
- Reviewing the complaint:
If the complainant is not satisfied with the investigation and proposed resolution of their complaint or appeal they can seek a further review of the matter by members of the Board of Directors
- Referral to external procedure:
A formal external complaints procedure may follow Step 4 if the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome. The complainant will be referred to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and provided information and support to make the complaint externally if necessary.
Complaints involving specific staff members
The Chief Executive Officer has delegated responsibility for resolving complaints or disputes involving staff members
Internal complaints, where a staff member makes a complaint concerning another staff member, will be dealt with in accordance with the organisation’s grievance, complaints and disputes policy.
External complaints by participants or stakeholders made against a staff member will be managed by the Chief Executive Officer who will:
- notify the staff member of the complaint and its nature
- investigate the complaint and provide the staff member with an opportunity to respond to any issues raised
- attempt to mediate the dispute (if appropriate) and/or attempt to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the outside party
- take any other action necessary to resolve the issue
Any disciplinary action against a staff member arising from a complaint will be taken in accordance with the procedures defined within the Business SA employment documentation file.
Complaints involving the Chief Executive Officer will be managed by the Board of Directors.
Complaints involving organisation members or Board of Directors members
Complaints made against a member of the Board of Directors will be referred to the Chairperson. The Chairperson, or their delegate, will:
- notify the person about whom a complaint is being made of the complaint and its nature
- investigate the complaint and provide the member with an opportunity to respond to any issues raised
- attempt to mediate the dispute (if appropriate) and/or attempt to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the outside party
Where the Chairperson is the subject of a complaint, the complaint should be referred to another member of the Board of Directors.
If the matter remains unresolved, the Chairperson will raise the matter at the next Board Meeting. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint, the Board of Directors may:
- deal with the matter at its meeting
- refer the matter to the process outlined in the organisation’s constitution
Cooperation in external investigations
If any person makes a complaint about Riverland Respite and Recreation Service to an external body (including police, Ombudsman) The Chief Executive Officer will be responsible for liaising with the body responsible for investigating the issue. Riverland Respite and Recreation Service will fully cooperate in any investigation which may take place, This includes participating in early resolution, conciliation, and/or reporting to the body about resolution and corrective actions if required.
A register of complaints and appeals will be kept in the register for a minimum of seven years or other period according to the organisation’s service/funding agreement after the complaint has been made. The register will be maintained by the Senior Administration Officer and will record the following for each complaint or appeal:
- Details of the complainant and the nature of the complaint
- Date lodged
- Action taken
- Date of resolution and reason for decision
- Indication of complainant being notified of outcome
- Complainant response and any further action
Copies of all correspondence will be kept in the Quality and Safeguards Commission Complaints sub folder.
The complaints register and files will be confidential and access is restricted to the Board of Directors and the Management Team].
A summary of complaints and appeals will also be kept and. The Chief Executive Officer will be responsible for preparing a report to the Board of Directors at consequent Board Meetings
Results from this report will be reviewed by the Management Team and the Board of Directors and used to:
- inform service planning by including a review of complaints and appeals in all service planning, monitoring and evaluation activities
- inform decision making by including a report on complaints and appeals as a standard item on staff and management team meeting agendas
Continuous improvement of the complaints management system
The complaints management system will be reviewed and evaluated annually. This will include:
- review of all complaint and feedback policies and procedures
- participant and staff feedback about the accessibility and effectiveness of the complaints management system
- implementation of a continuous improvement plan based on the review and feedback received