We are committed to handling complaints in a fair and open way. Every effort will be made by ADHC to resolve the complaints it receives to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
If you make a complaint to ADHC you can expect that we will:
- treat you with respect
- tell you what to expect while your complaint is being looked into
- carry out the complaint handling process in a fair and open way
- provide reasons for decisions that are made
- protect your privacy.
Our complaints policy
The ADHC Feedback and Complaint Handing policy outlines the principles for management of complaints and provides guidelines to help our employees in responding to complaints received. All employees of ADHC, including contractors and volunteers, are required to handle complaints according to the principles and guidelines outlined in this policy.
Who can make a complaint?
Anyone can make a complaint to ADHC. You do not have to be receiving services from us or from a non-government organisation funded by ADHC to make a complaint and you may make a complaint on behalf of someone else.
Anonymous complaints will be accepted and investigated as far as possible.
ADHC staff who have complaints, including concerns relating to a client’s welfare, should refer to our staff grievance processes.
What can I make a complaint about?
You can make a complaint to ADHC about any aspect of its business or the services it provides directly.
ADHC funded services
We fund many organisations to provide services. These include:
- non-government disability organisations, such as those who run group homes, respite and day programs, case management
- organisations providing services under the Home and Community Care (HACC) program such as Meals-on-Wheels, Home Modification and Maintenance services, case management.
We do not have the authority to directly investigate complaints about these organisations. We recommend that you discuss the complaint with the organisation first. If you make a complaint to ADHC about one of these organisations, we can refer the complaint to the organisation to look into, ask them how the complaint was handled and make sure that the organisation has a complaint handling policy.
ADHC licensed services
We license organisations or individuals to operate boarding houses. We can investigate complaints about possible breaches of licensing conditions.
You can also make a complaint about ADHC operated, funded or licensed services to the NSW Ombudsman.
Allegations of abuse or other criminal activities, such as theft, should be reported to the police.
Suspected ‘risk of significant harm’ to children and young people should be reported to the Child Protection Hotline by calling 132 111.
ADHC business partners
Funded and licensed service providers who have complaints about funding or administrative matters should refer to their funding agreement or licence.
Who do I make a complaint to?
You can make a complaint to any ADHC staff member. We encourage you to discuss your complaint with local staff first.
If the complaint is about an ADHC staff member, that person will not deal with it.
If the complaint is about a particular area or group of staff in ADHC then another area of ADHC may handle the complaint or an independent party may be called in to investigate the complaint.
If your complaint is about your Home Care service you may prefer to contact the Home Care Customer Relations Unit on 1800 044 043.
How do I make a complaint?
Complaints can be made in a number of ways, in a letter, email, over the phone, in person or using the online complaint form. We will help you if you need assistance in making a complaint. For example, we can organise an interpreter if you need one.
You may wish to have an advocate or someone to act on your behalf to help you make a complaint. There are a number of advocacy services that provide this kind of help. Read more about ADHC funded advocacy services.
What happens once I make a complaint?
When you make a complaint we will explain:
- what will happen while the complaint is being dealt with
- who will deal with the complaint
- what will happen next, such as when you are likely to be contacted again.
You should not be made to feel that you cannot make a complaint, nor should making a complaint have any effect on the services you are receiving from ADHC, such as changes to your service or less communication with you.
If the complaint is simple then it may be resolved immediately. If our staff need to make further enquiries, it may take a few weeks to resolve. In most cases it will be a local ADHC officer from the service or policy area who will deal with the complaint.
Where the complaint is about a more difficult matter it may take longer to resolve.
Once the complaint is resolved as far as possible, you will be informed of the outcome.
You may wish to raise any ongoing problems or concerns at this time.
Sometimes it may not be possible for a complaint to be resolved completely. If this is the case, ADHC staff will work with you to look at other options to address your issues. ADHC staff may follow up with you afterwards to check that the outcome of the complaint handling process is meeting your needs.
What if I’m not happy with the outcome of the complaint?
If you are not happy with the outcome of the complaint then you can ask ADHC staff to review how the complaint was dealt with. You can do this in a letter, email, over the phone or in person. A more senior staff member may undertake the review.
ADHC staff may gather additional information to review the decision. This may or may not lead to changes to the original decision. After you have asked us to review how the complaint was dealt with, and you are still unhappy with the outcome of a complaint then there are outside agencies that may be able to help. These include:
You can complain to the Ombudsman about ADHC or a ADHC-funded or licensed service or an employee of the service. The Ombudsman can also inquire into major issues affecting clients and services. Further information about the NSW Ombudsman can be found at www.ombo.nsw.gov.au or by calling (02) 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524 (rural/regional callers only).
Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
You can complain to ICAC about serious wrong-doing by the staff of government agencies, such as ADHC. ICAC may investigate or ask ADHC to investigate matters about public service staff. Further information can be found at www.icac.nsw.gov.au or by calling (02) 8281 5999.
Administrative Decisions Tribunal
You can complain to the Tribunal about some administrative decisions, for example, the funding of disability services or the refusal of a community service provider to implement a recommendation of the NSW Ombudsman. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal can review such decisions in certain circumstances. Further information can be found at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/adt or by calling 1800 060 410.
Anti Discrimination Board (ADB)
You can complain to the ADB about discrimination, harassment and vilification. The ADB investigates and conciliates such complaints. Further information can be found at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/ADB or by calling (02) 9268 5555 or 1800 670 812 (rural/regional callers only).