FEEDBACK, COMPLIMENTS AND COMPLIMENTS PROCEDURES
Continuity Care must promote best practice, continuous improvement and an open, respectful culture that encourages and supports staff, participants/consumers/clients and other stakeholders to make complaints without fear of retribution. This is assessed in yearly Performance Reviews of Continuity Care staff.
As per Continuity Care ’s Human Resources Policy and Procedure, all staff must undergo Induction, which includes training in Continuity Care’s feedback and complaints processes. Training must also help staff to:
recognise and respond to neglect, grooming and other forms of harm to children;
understand the different ways children and young people express concerns or distress and disclose harm;
provide appropriate support to children and young people in these instances;
meet their legal requirements with respect to child protection;
respond to different types of incidents and complaints involving children;
understand their privacy obligations;
develop their listening skills;
feel confident drawing attention to breaches of Continuity Care’s Code of Conduct and challenging these behaviours; and
understand how to respond to disclosures of harm and their reporting obligations.
Staff knowledge and application of this policy and procedure, Continuity Care’s feedback and complaints system and their obligation to protect children from harm is monitored on a day-to-day basis and through annual Performance Reviews. Additional formal and on-the-job training is provided to staff where required.
Agendas for team meetings include a standing item on Continuous Improvement, including a review of feedback and complaints.
Continuity Care uses its Participants/consumers/clients Charter, Participants/consumers/clients Handbook [website] and a Feedback and Complaints Form to provide participants/consumers/clients, families, carers and all other stakeholders with information about this policy and procedure, in an easy to understand format. Information provided includes how to make a complaint to Continuity Care and to the NDIS Commissioner and other external bodies, how complaints will be addressed and external advocacy and support services that can assist people in the complaints process.
Staff must provide participants/consumers/clients and their supporters with information about Continuity Care’s feedback and complaints processes when they first access the service. Throughout service delivery, staff must remind participants/consumers/clients and their supporters of their right to make a complaint without fear of affecting their service. Any person wishing to lodge feedback or a complaint must also be provided with this information.
To ensure participants/consumers/clients understand their right to make a complaint and how to make a complaint, staff must provide information to them and their supporters in ways that suit their individual communication needs. Written information can be provided in [different languages and Easy English] or explained verbally by staff. Staff can also help participants/consumers/clients access interpreters or advocates where required.
The Operational or Managing Director must track and review feedback and complaints to identify ongoing issues using Continuity Care ’s Complaints Register and report feedback and complaints data to the Continuity Care at its [weekly/fortnightly/monthly/quarterly] meetings.
Privacy and Information Management
All personal information Continuity Care collects to manage feedback or complaints must be handled in accordance with Continuity Care ’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and Procedure.
Staff must keep information about complaints confidential. They may only disclose necessary detail if they are required to do so by law, or if not disclosing is likely to place the safety, health or wellbeing of any person at risk. Staff must take all reasonable steps to notify the complainant before deciding not to keep personal information confidential.
Continuity Care ’s Complaints Register must be used to record information about feedback and complaints; any action taken to resolve complaints and the outcome of any action taken. All information regarding feedback and complaints is kept securely in accordance with Continuity Care ’s Records and Information Management Policy and Procedure. All records regarding complaints must be retained for at least 7 years from the date they are created.
Providing feedback to Continuity Care is voluntary.
Feedback can be provided at any time, in any way, by any stakeholder, through:
a staff member;
email, mail or phone;
Continuity Care ’s Feedback and Complaints Form;
Continuity Care ’s website;
service delivery planning days (involving participants/consumers/clients and other stakeholders);
Continuity Care meetings (involving participants/consumers/clients and other stakeholders);
staff collection of feedback after a person interacts with the service (e.g. initial assessment and planning; reviews; exit, etc.);
annual participants/consumers/clients satisfaction surveys. All participants/consumer/clients or their representatives will be asked to complete these surveys; and annual staff and stakeholder satisfaction surveys. All staff will be asked to complete these surveys and stakeholders will be selected on a random basis.
Where feedback is provided verbally, the receiving staff member will transcribe it onto a Continuity Care Feedback and Complaints Form.
People can make a complaint about any aspects of Continuity Care’s services, including breaches of policies and procedures or the Code of Conduct.
Continuity Care’s complaints management process can be simplified into five steps:
1. Complaint Lodgement
To lodge a complaint, people are encouraged to speak directly to a staff member first, in an attempt to resolve the matter without recourse to Continuity Care’s complaints procedures.
listen openly to the concerns being raised by the complainant;
ask the complainant what outcome they are seeking;
inform the complainant of the complaint process and how to formally make a complaint to Continuity Care, the NDIS Commissioner or other complaints body and the time the process takes;
be empathic towards the person and action all commitments made; and
action situations that pose an immediate threat or danger or require a specialised response.
If the complaint is resolved, it must be reported to the Operations Manager for inclusion in Continuity Care ’s Feedback and Complaints Register.
If the complaint cannot be resolved promptly or within 24 hours, it must be referred to the Operations Manager. The Operations Manager will advise the person of their right to lodge a formal complaint if they have not already done so, with the assistance of a support person or advocate if they wish. A Feedback and Complaints Form will be made available to the individual to lodge their complaint, however it is not mandatory that they use the form.
Formal complaints can be lodged:
directly with a staff member, either verbally or by providing a completed Feedback and Complaints Form;
by email to: [email protected]
by phone on 0451 511 200;
in writing to: 76 Sears Parade, North Lakes QLD 4509 or in the Suggestion Box, located at same address
Mail and phone submissions as well as the Feedback and Complaints Form [and/or Suggestion Box] can be used to make anonymous complaints.
Complaints and feedback can be lodged by a third party on behalf of another person, if their consent or the consent of their legal representative has been provided.
At any time, people can make a complaint about NDIS service providers or the support they provide to the NDIS Commission or other external complaints bodies (listed below).
Staff must assist people making a complaint, or people with disability affected by a complaint, to contact the NDIS Commission or other complaints body, where this is required.
People making or impacted by a complaint must be encouraged to use an advocate of their choice to act on their behalf if they wish. The advocate may be a family member or friend, or sourced (with assistance from staff if required) through the National Disability Advocacy Program.
If a complaint alleges actual or possible criminal activity or abuse or neglect, it must be referred to the [Position Title] immediately. The [Position Title] must report and action the complaint as per Continuity Care ’s Incident Management policies and procedures.
Staff must take all reasonable steps to ensure complainants or people with disability affected by complaints are not adversely affected or fear retribution because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.
Complaints made to Continuity Care, the NDIS Commission and other complaints bodies can be withdrawn at any time.
Where a complaint about Continuity Care is made to the NDIS Commission, all staff must:
comply with any orders or requests made by the NDIS Commission; and
assist in any resolution process or inquiry undertaken by the NDIS Commission.
External Complaints Bodies
Outside Continuity Care, complaints can be made to the following bodies.
The NDIS Commission:
online at www.ndiscommission.gov.au; and
by phone on 1800 035 544.
The Queensland Ombudsman (relating to Queensland Government departments and agencies):
· online at www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au;
· by phone on 1800 068 908; and
· by post to GPO Box 3314, Brisbane, QLD, 4001.
Participants/consumer/clients also have rights and protections under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), including provisions on customer guarantees and unfair contract terms. Fair Trading Queensland (www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au) provides information and advice about customer disputes under the ACL.
Finally, participants/consumer/clients can contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) if they have concerns regarding consumer protection in relation to finances. See https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/contact-us/.
Complaints about privacy or the handling of personal or health information can be reported to the regulatory bodies listed in Continuity Care’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and Procedure.
Complaints about Continuity Care’s Supported Independent Living and/or Accommodation Services
Participants/consumers/clients in Supported Independent Living services or other accommodation arrangements can be supported by the Queensland Community Visitor Scheme. Community Visitors are coordinated by the Queensland Office of the Public Guardian. They visit disability accommodation, mental health services, private hostels and Forensic Disability Service Community Care Units. Their role is to make enquiries and lodge complaints for, or on behalf of, residents of these accommodation services. Further information can be provided by the Office of the Public Guardian on 1300 653 187.
Complaints About the NDIA
Complaints about the NDIA should be directed to the Agency itself or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Complaints to the NDIA can be lodged:
by phone on 1800 800 110; and
by email to [email protected]
Complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the NDIA can be lodged:
by phone on 1300 362 072; and
online at www.ombudsman.gov.au.
Staff must support people making a complaint about the NDIA to contact the Agency or Commonwealth Ombudsman, where this is required.
The Operations Manager or the person receiving the complaint, must record all information relevant to complaints, in its original and simplest form, in Continuity Care’s Complaints Register. The Complaints Register must be stored in a secure file, accessible only to the [Governing Body or specific Management roles].
The Operations Manager must acknowledge receipt of complaints within [2 working days]. However, where a person has requested to remain anonymous, contact may not be possible or expected.
In their acknowledgement, the Human Resources Manager must set realistic expectations regarding complaint resolution and refer the matter to other organisations where they are identified as being more suitable to handle it. Acknowledgements must provide timeframes for resolution where possible.
Investigation of complaints will not be conducted by a person about whom a complaint has been made, or a person who has a conflict of interest in the matter. If required, Continuity Care will determine the appropriate person to undertake the investigation.
In resolving a complaint, the Operations Manager must involve the complainant and keep them informed of the progress of the complaint. They must discuss any disparities identified with the complainant and may request additional information when required. A timeframe within which further information is to be provided should be clearly communicated with the complainant.
The Operations Manager should consider granting extensions where necessary and always communicate any additional time requirements to the complainant with an explanation of the need.
Complaint investigation must focus on the identified complaint matters only. All parties involved in a complaint must be provided with procedural fairness and with the support and information necessary to participate in the complaints process.
All decisions or actions regarding complaint investigation must be recorded by the Operations Manager in Continuity Care ’s Complaints Register.
5. Communicate Resolution
Continuity Care will respond to all complaints as soon as possible and within 28 days from acknowledgement.
If a complaint cannot be responded to in full, within 28 days of acknowledgement, an update must be issued to the complainant. The update must provide the date by which a full response can be expected. The update should be provided verbally in the first instance then confirmed in writing.
The Operations Manager should discuss the outcome of a complaint investigation verbally with the complainant, where possible. This must be followed by written advice that provides the complainant an opportunity to make further contact with the Operations Manager] if required.
The written advice must also include information on what further action may be available to the complainant at the conclusion of the complaint investigation. This may include escalating the matter further with an external agency or seeking a further review within the business. Written advice should also seek feedback from the complainant regarding their experience of the complaints process.
Support must be provided to assist complainants’ understanding of correspondence regarding complaints, where this is required (e.g. interpreters, referral to advocates, etc.).
Options for responding to a complaint may include, but are not limited to:
rectifying an issue;
providing an apology;
ongoing monitoring; and
training or educating staff.
Once resolved, complaint outcomes must be relayed to the appropriate area within Continuity Care in order to improve service delivery.
Feedback and Complaint Review
Feedback and complaint review includes identifying, monitoring and acting upon trends and systemic issues identified through the analysis of feedback and complaint information. The purpose of analysing feedback and complaint data is to learn from patterns in order to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of individual participants/consumers/clients, as well as improve the quality of supports.
The Complaints Register must be reviewed at monthly Continuity Care meetings. The Operations Manager is responsible for monitoring the Complaints Register in order to analyse and report on trends.
Reviews should consider:
the causes, handling and outcomes of feedback and complaints;
processes, timeframes and record keeping practices associated with feedback and complaint management; and
feedback provided by staff and participants/consumers/clients about Continuity Care’s feedback and complaint management.
Where preventative or improvement measures are identified, these must be tracked in the Continuous Improvement Register.