Complaints and Feedback Policy

Purpose

It is the aim of Kurrajong to be fair and reasonable with all staff members, clients and their families. We strive to maintain this principle and practice not just in relation to the matters covered by anti-discrimination laws, but in relation to all work, workplace matters and in all service areas.

Kurrajong understands that to provide the services and supports that are valued and needed by clients and families, we need to listen to their feedback, and the feedback from staff and the Community, and use it to inform continuous improvement activities.

Definition

A complaint is an act, situation, dispute, concern, problem, or complaint on any matter which a staff member, client or family member considers to be unfair or unjust.

Feedback is information about reactions to a service or support which is used as a basis for improvement. Feedback may be positive or negative reactions.

Background

In any employment or service situation, relationship problems, concerns or complaints do arise. It is important that satisfactory solutions be found so that problems are not escalated or continue unresolved which affects service delivery and people’s well-being.

It is the policy of Kurrajong to provide a fair and effective mechanism to investigate, rectify and resolve disputes, concerns or complaints. This policy promotes both informal and formal complaint resolution procedures structured to promote a fair, sensitive, quick and confidential process. To resolve disputes, problems or concerns, we encourage staff members, clients and their families to use this policy and procedure. We expect people to exercise good judgement and good faith in availing themselves of these rights. We do not expect people to make false allegations or complaints.

There will be no recrimination against people availing themselves of the rights established under this policy, and all proceedings will be handled under the guidelines of Kurrajong’s Policy 3.17 Privacy Statement and Policy 3.6 Confidential Information.

We will work under the guidelines of National Standards for Disability Services 4 Feedback and Complaints to actively teach and support people with a disability to know how to give feedback and to make a complaint, and what to do if their complaint is not resolved.

Procedure for Complaints

  1. This complaint procedure applies to all staff members, clients and their families.
  2. All aspects of the complaint will be treated confidentially.
  3. All service related issues, problems, complaints, concerns, misunderstandings or disputes may be the subject of the complaint process. These may include discrimination in any form; working conditions, sexual harassment, intimidation or coercion, assault, workplace safety, disciplinary action, interpretation of organisation policies, job assignments, service provision, or other issues.
  4. It is important that all complaints be dealt with as quickly as possible. It is the responsibility of all staff members and clients to minimise delay and to proceed through the complaint process in a timely and efficient manner. All involved have a further obligation to be absolutely diligent in maintaining confidentiality, and to remain fair, impartial and respectful of people during the process.
  5. We have established time frames to support quick progress of matters.
  6. All stakeholders are reminded that in any complaint procedure, the aim is to ascertain the facts as fully as possible, investigate the facts and circumstances, gather supporting evidence, and then reach a fair and reasonable resolution after evaluating all information. Both sides will be given the opportunity to present their version of events and put forward supporting material if this is necessary.
  7. When an issue cannot be resolved informally, a staff member, person we support or family member may follow the formal process set out. The person may opt to follow the formal procedure without first pursuing informal resolution within seven (7) working days of the issue arising.
  8. The relevant Manager will meet with the person and a written record of the complaint is to be taken, and is to be signed by the staff member, client or family member. If the complaint relates to another person, then that person (or persons) against whom the complaint is made is to be informed at the earliest opportunity, and at least 48 hours before any formal discussions regarding the matter are conducted. The full facts of the complaint are to be provided. A written record of reply is to be taken and signed.
  9. Investigation into a complaint will be conducted by the relevant Manager or other designated person. The responsibility of the Manager is to then talk with the parties (together or separately), and others if involved, investigate issues, and gather information or evidence. Based on all this information, an evaluation will be made.

Two outcomes are possible. The complaint is substantiated (it occurred), or the complaint is unsubstantiated (facts do not support the allegation or the facts are disputed). A written report of the evaluation, supported by recommendations, is to be provided no later than four (4) weeks of the complaint being lodged.

Action which may be taken, depending on the nature and seriousness of the complaint and outcome of procedures, range from requiring a written apology, to the issuing of a written warning, training, counselling or dismissal.

  1. We would not expect a staff member, client or family member to abuse these privileges by making false complaints.
  2. In addition to Form 109 Complaint Procedure Form, the following written records will be made/kept as part of the formal complaint procedure:
    • the written statements of both the staff member, client or family member with the complaint and the person who has the complaint made against them;
    • notes or reports of contact officers;
    • notes or reports of those reviewing the complaint;
    • any recommendations made and action carried out.
  3. Complaint or outcomes of complaints are not to be placed on individual personnel files. All complaints reports and files are to be stored in the Complaints Register in the Deputy CEO’s office.
  4. At any stage during the process of raising or resolving a complaint, the person(s) bringing forward the complaint have the option of having a support person(s) of their choosing to assist them.
  5. Staff members, clients and families are able to appeal any decision made during the complaints procedure. This can be done internally by re-engaging Kurrajong’s complaint procedure or by using the procedures set out in Policy 5.8 Ideas and Suggestions and by using Form 117 Feedback Form. This form can be used anonymously if required. Appeals can also be lodged by engaging external agencies such as Disability Advocacy Network (DAN) or Disability Advocacy Information Service (DAIS) as outlined in Attachment 3 - Contacts to Raise Complaints and feedbacks with from Outside Kurrajong.

Feedback

  1. Feedback can be constructive and may not lead to a complaint, but be intended as a continuous improvement suggestion. Each section will regularly use strategies to engage with clients, their families and their staff to gain feedback in an effort to improve their services. These strategies may include scheduled customer satisfaction activities, and informal and formal meetings.

It is important that feedback is documented and discussed. Results of decisions made about feedback should always be communicated back to the person who gave it in a timely manner.

  • National Standards for Disability Services 4 Feedback and Complaints

Attachment 1: Process for Raising and Having Resolved Complaints or Disputes

The aim of the following complaints and feedback procedure is to respond to complaints in a thorough and impartial manner, and to achieve resolution of the issue.

Step 1

At times, people with a disability receiving services from Kurrajong or their parents/advocates may choose only to seek advice on their rights, or how they may handle their own complaints. Training and support will be given to assist them to do so with a view to their resolving complaints or disputes themselves. Unless the complaint involves matters of a serious nature, the option of taking no action should remain open to complainants.

When an issue has been raised, the person’s consent will be obtained before the formal complaint or dispute procedures are taken. Every effort will be made to resolve any complaints or disputes informally in the first instance (except where the complaint involves the breaking of the law, which will be referred to the appropriate external agency).

This gives both parties an opportunity to understand each other’s positions and advances the potential for settlement.

If not resolved at this stage, go to Step 2. Time frames for resolution or review will be set. Complaints and disputes, directed at Kurrajong will be targeted to be resolved within four weeks of lodgement.

Step 2

People are encouraged to bring complaints to the attention of their support worker first. If that is not appropriate or possible, they should approach the Service Manager or other staff member of Kurrajong as soon as possible after the complaint has arisen. The staff member approached should attempt to assist to resolve the issue as soon as possible if appropriate, or refer onto the most appropriate person.

Step 3

If the issue is not resolved in Stage 2, the complainant and staff member approached are to contact the Service Manager if they have not already done so. Timeframes for resolution or review will be set.

The Manager will address the complaint within 24 hours after lodgement. If a reply cannot be given by the end of the next working day, a verbal progress report will be given.

The Manager will meet with the person to review the matter. The Manager will offer the complainant to bring a support person with them to the interview. Upon completion of an interview, the Manager will investigate as necessary and meet with relevant personnel involved in the complaint.

An attempt to resolve the problem between the parties will be carried out. Failing this, the Manager will document proceedings thus far and forward onto the Deputy CEO.

Formal written procedures will occur at this stage through use of Form 109 Complaint Procedure. This will be placed in the Complaints Register held by the Deputy CEO.

Step 4

The Deputy CEO will review all relevant information and circumstances relating to the complaint. Again, all reasonable steps will be taken to resolve the complaint. When a decision has been made about the complaint, a written letter outlining the reasons for the decision will be given to the complainant.

Step 5

If the dispute is still unresolved, the matter can be referred to the Chief Executive Officer and then if necessary, to the Board of Directors.

Either the complainant or Kurrajong can choose to pursue support from an independent body. Throughout the resolution process, Kurrajong will facilitate the person’s use of external agencies for support and/or advice.

A list of services that may be approached for external support can be found on the document

Attachment 2: Contacts to Raise Complaints with from Inside Kurrajong

Step Who to go to What should happen
  1.  

Attempt self-advocacy.

(Try to fix the problem yourself).

Informal resolution.
  1.  
Support Worker, VTO, Team Leader or Coordinator Resolved through discussion/meeting.
  1.  
Service Manager Formal resolution time frame set.
  1.  
Deputy Chief Executive Officer Decision on complaint made. Formal reply provided.
  1.  
Chief Executive Officer Dispute unresolved or decision disputed or appealed.
  1.  
Chairman of the Board Final level of appeal.

Note: This process is displayed in picture format including photographs of the relevant people and placed in every service area.

All written Complaints are recorded in the Complaints Register which is located in the Deputy Chief Executive Officer’s office.

Attachment 3: Contacts Outside Kurrajong to Raise Complaints

Contact name and address Phone and Fax

Disability Advocacy Network (DAN)

31 Fitzmaurice Street
WAGGA WAGGA NSW 2650

Ph: 6921 9225 or

Ph: 1800 250 292

Fax: 6921 7140

Disability Advocacy and Information Service (DAIS)

132 Melbourne Road Wodonga

Phone 1300 886 388 (free call)

or 60 56 2420

National Disability Service Abuse and Neglect Hotline

Complaints Resolution & Referral Service (CRRS)

Ph: 1800 880 052

Fax: 84127199

Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS)

2C/199 Regent St
REDFERN NSW 2016

Ph: 1800 666 611 or

Ph: (02) 9318 0144

Fax: (02) 9318 2887

Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW (MDAA)

10-12 Hutchinson St,
GRANVILLE NSW 2142

PO Box 884
GRANVILLE NSW 2142

Ph: 1800 629 072 or

Ph: (02) 9891 6400

Fax: (02) 98979402

Redfern Legal Centre

73 Pitt St
REDFERN NSW 2106

Ph: (02) 9698 7277

Fax: (02) 9310 3586

NSW Ombudsman’s Office

Level 24
580 George Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Ph: 1800 451 524

92861000

Fax: (02) 9283 2911

NSW Anti-Discrimination Board

Level 4, 175 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

PO Box A2122
SYDNEY SOUTH NSW 1235

Ph: 1800 670 812 or

Ph: (02) 9268 5555

Fax: (02) 9268 5500

Disability Complaints Service

Level 1, 52 Pitt Street
REDFERN NSW 2016

Ph: (02) 9319 6549

Fax: (02) 9318 1372

Wagga Wagga Police Department

Sturt Street
WAGGA WAGGA NSW 2650

Ph: 6922 2599

Fax: 6921 0534

Attachment 4: Guidelines for Management Reviewing a Complaint by a Client or a Family Member

Kurrajong will provide a fair hearing for the complaints and disputes of clients and their families, and negotiate an amicable resolution wherever possible.

The staff member involved in the handling of the complaint will adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. When a complaint is lodged, an interview is held with the complainant, either in person or by telephone conversation.

The interviewer should:

  • Identify their role in the resolution process;
  • Offer the option of having an advocate or independent person present at the interview and during the ensuing processes. See the document Attachment 3 Contacts Outside Kurrajong to Raise Complaints for a list of organisations outside Kurrajong available to help with complaint resolution.
  1. The complainant should then be encouraged to state:
    • what the complaint is about;
    • when the incident(s) occurred;
    • what led to the situation, issues, complaints or concern;
    • who / what might be responsible;
    • what steps, if any, have already been taken in an attempt to resolve the complaint;
    • what is the desired outcome;
    • what would be an acceptable timeframe for them to resolve the issue?
  2. Except in cases where the complaint involves a breach of legislation, or a criminal offence has occurred when external resolution action would be undertaken, a satisfactory solution should be reached by mutual negotiation.
  3. The Deputy CEO or CEO is to be consulted before external organisations are contacted.
  4. Provide feedback at completion of process to complainant and support people if necessary.