Complaints policy

We manage complaints in an accountable, transparent and timely way.

Our complaints management principles are:

  • make sure complaints can be lodged without fear of retribution
  • protect confidentiality and privacy of complainants
  • our process is fair and objective and complaints are assessed professionally
  • make sure complaints are solved in a timely way
  • use information from complaints to improve our business processes.

Scope of the policy

This policy covers all complaints about us. This policy doesn’t replace, modify or revoke any legislative, contractual or other Australian Government requirements.

The following are not considered complaints and are out of scope of this policy:

  • feedback from consultation
  • queries and requests for information.

Who does the policy apply to?

This policy and supporting documents applies to all Inclusion Australia employees, including temporary, casual and contracted staff.

Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to provide:

  1. a consistent and effective process to manage and quickly resolve complaints
  2. important management information to highlight negative trends and systemic problems with our policies or services. We will consider this information, and if appropriate, use it to improve our processes.

Rationale

Our mission is to champion the rights of people with intellectual disability in Australia and support their full participation in Australian life.

We highly value feedback about our policies and services as a way to gauge how efficient and effective they are. It also helps us to identifying areas for improvement.

This policy acknowledges member organisations, employees and all other parties who deal with Inclusion Australia have a right to raise concerns and make complaints about our policies and services.

Our Complaints Policy and Procedure is consistent with the Australian Standard ISO 10002:2006 Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations.

Policy and procedures

How we manage complaints reflects the following Inclusion Australia Principles.

A. Visibility and access

  1. Any member organisation, client, employee or other stakeholder can lodge complaints about our policies or services.
  2. Information about where and how to lodge a complaint and expected response times is available through our website and the Inclusion Australia Office.
  3. Unless there are legislative, contractual or other Australian Government requirements, we accept complaints verbally – face-to-face or over the telephone – or in writing – by text message, letter, email or fax.
  4. We make sure the complaint process is flexible and no one is excluded from making a complaint. People from culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds; those with a learning disability; or those who have lower literacy skills may only be able to make a complaint in a particular way, such as through an interpreter, audio CD or audio tape. Our staff, where appropriate and necessary, will help complainants to lodge a complaint.

B. Responsiveness

  1. Complaints can be sensitive and complex and may need detailed investigation and analysis. Timeframes for the management of complaints must be reasonable and not excessively drawn out. We will meet legislative, contractual and other Australian Government requirements.
  2. Our staff is trained in complaints handling and are provided with information and education through induction training and information sessions. This makes sure a consistent approach is followed in the management and resolution of complaints across Inclusion Australia.

C. Assessment and action

  1. We manage all complaints in line with the principles in section 1 of this policy.
  2. When receiving a complaint, our staff must take reasonable steps to make sure that the complaint is properly understood and ask for clarification or more information from the complainant where needed.
  3. Inclusion Australia’s Executive Director assesses, records and reports complaints. If a complaint is about the service of a particular employee the Executive Director will assess it and if the compliant is about the Executive Director the President investigate it.
  4. If we can’t address the complaint, where possible, we will refer the complaint to the appropriate external agency (such as Department of Social Services).

D. Feedback

  1. We monitor the progress of the complaint until the outcome has been communicated to the complainant and all reasonable avenues have been tried.
  2. If the complainant is not happy with the outcome they can appeal to the next level:
    • Executive Director
    • President
    • Board Executive
    • Full Board
    • Department of Social Services.
  1. We are continually improving our administration through feedback about potential improvements identified as a result of complaints.

Monitoring effectiveness

  1. Complaint trends for the organisation are reported to the Executive of the Board on a regular basis.
  2. Our Executive Director is responsible for implementing the Complaints Management Framework within Inclusion Australia.
  3. We will regularly monitor the quality and effectiveness of the Organisation’s Complaints Management Framework and change relevant components where appropriate.

Benefits

This policy provides a structured framework for managing complaints, in compliance with the Australian Standard ISO 10002:2006 Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations. It also provides a way to continuously improve our policies and services.

Contacts for complaints

Chief Executive Officer
Paul Cain
paul.cain@inclusionaustralia.org.au
0419 462 928
President
Kevin Stone
kevin.stone@valid.org.au
0418 562 922

Glossary

Term Definition
Complainant The person who makes the complaint.
Complaint The expression of dissatisfaction, orally or in writing, about the policies or services of Inclusion Australia or its staff.
Confidentiality Access to the information is controlled, the information doesn’t have to be of personal.
External complaint The complainant is making the complaint as a client, as part of a member organisation or as other stakeholder, rather than as an employee of Inclusion Australia.
Internal complaint The complainant is making the complaint as an employee of Inclusion Australia rather than as a member organisation of Inclusion Australia.
Natural justice The process by which a fair assessment is made by an objective and unbiased decision maker who is in possession of all the pertinent facts and details of the situation. It is concerned with ensuring that decisions affecting an individual’s rights and interests are reached only after the individual has been made aware of the allegations made against him/her and has had the opportunity to present his/her claims in relation to the allegation/s and this response has been fully considered. It also requires that a decision maker should have no personal interest in the matter to be decided, have no bias as to the outcome and act in good faith throughout the process.
Privacy The information is of a personal nature and reasonable steps are taken to protect the personal information from loss, unauthorised access, use or disclosure.
Systemic problem A deficiency in an agencies administrative process, rather than an error in judgement by an officer, which causes or contributes to a complaint.

References

Australian Standard ISO 10002:2006 Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations