Feedback and complaints can be made directly with a staff member, either verbally, or in writing detailing
Service concerned eg Short Term Accommodation, Events, SDA
· by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· by phone on 1800 832 287;
· in writing to: Quality and Compliance Manager, Capalaba Central, 38-62 Moreton Bay Road, Capalaba 4157; or
· in person to: Quality and Compliance Manager, Capalaba Central, 38-62 Moreton Bay Road, Capalaba 4157
Compliment – an expression of praise, encouragement or gratitude about an individual staff member, a team or a service.
Complainant – a person who makes a complaint, or has a complaint made on their behalf.
Complaint – an expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.
Procedural Fairness – a principal that requires a fair and proper procedure be used when making a decision.
Compliments, complaints and other feedback provide Coffee Lounge entities (Disability Plan Services, For Care, Tea Cup Cottage) with valuable information about participant satisfaction and an opportunity to improve upon all aspects of its service.
Feedback is taken seriously by Coffee Lounge entities and is seen as an opportunity for improvement.
Coffee Lounge’s complaints management and resolution system ensures people can easily make a complaint and have them dealt with fairly and quickly.
Coffee Lounge entities make information available to participants and other stakeholders about how to make a complaint to it, the NDIS Commissioner and any other relevant body and keeps adequate records about complaints received.
Coffee Lounge entities prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and recognises the role of families and communities in helping them to understand and use this policy and procedure.
Coffee Lounge entities, led by the Managing Director, must promote best practice, continuous improvement and an open, respectful culture that encourages and supports staff, participants and other stakeholders to make complaints without fear of retribution.
As per relevant Human Resources Policy, all staff must undergo Induction, which includes training on 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 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, 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.
Coffee Lounge entities uses its Client Journey Handbook, Service Agreement, website and a Feedback and Complaints Form to provide participants, families, carers and all other stakeholders with information about this policy and procedure, in an easy-to-understand format (if required).Information provided includes how to make a complaint to relevant Coffee Lounge entities 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 and their supporters with information about Coffee Lounge entities’ feedback and complaints processes when they first access the service. Throughout service delivery, staff must remind participants 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 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, if needed, or explained verbally by staff. Staff can also help participants access interpreters or advocates where required.
The Quality and Compliance Manager must track and review feedback and complaints to identify ongoing issues using Complaints Register and report feedback and complaints data to the Managing Director on a monthly basis.
Privacy and Information Management
All personal information that Coffee Lounge entities collect to manage feedback or complaints must be handled in accordance with Coffee Lounge’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.
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.
Coffee Lounge’s Feedback and 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 Coffee Lounge’s Records and Information Management Policy. All records regarding complaints must be retained for at least 7 years from the date they are created.
Providing feedback to Coffee Lounge entities is voluntary.
Feedback can be provided at any time, in any way, by any stakeholder, through:
• a staff member;
• email, mail or phone;
• Feedback and Complaints Form;
• Relevant Coffee Lounge entity’s website;
• Stakeholders’ meetings;
• Service delivery planning days (involving participants and other stakeholders);
• Collection of exit feedback;
• annual participant satisfaction surveys; and
• Staff surveys. All staff will be asked to complete these surveys
Where feedback is provided verbally, the receiving staff member will either transcribe it onto a Feedback and Complaints Form or document it through an email to the Quality and Compliance Manager (cc: Managing Director and/or Operations Manager)
People can make a complaint about any aspects of Coffee Lounge entities’ services, including breaches of policies and procedures or the Code of Conduct.
Coffee Lounge’s complaints management process is summarised 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 formal 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 relevant Coffee Lounge entity, 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 Quality and Compliance Manager for inclusion in the Feedback and Complaints Register.
Similarly, if the complaint cannot be resolved promptly or within 24 hours, it must be referred to the Quality and Compliance Manager, who 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 phone on 1800 832 287;
• in writing to: Quality and Compliance Manager, Capalaba Central, 38-62 Moreton Bay Road, Capalaba 4157; or
• in person to: Quality and Compliance Manager, Capalaba Central, 38-62 Moreton Bay Road, Capalaba 4157
• For any appeal, to: Managing Director, Capalaba Central, 38-62 Moreton Bay Road, Capalaba 4157
Mail and phone submissions as well as the Feedback and Complaints Form 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 Managing Director immediately. The Managing Director in conjunction with Quality and Compliance Manager must report and action the complaint as per the relevant Incident Management policy.
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 any relevant Coffee Lounge entities, the NDIS Commission and other complaints bodies can be withdrawn at any time.
Where a complaint about the relevant Coffee Lounge entity/entities 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 Coffee Lounge entities, 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 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] 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 Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.
Complaints about For Care/Tea-cup Cottage’s Supported Independent Living and/or Accommodation Services
Participants 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 inquiries 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@example.com.
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 Quality and Compliance Manager must record all information relevant to complaints, in its original and simplest form, in the relevant Complaints Register. The Feedback and Complaints Register must be stored in a secure file, accessible only to authorised personnel (ie SharePoint).
The Quality and Compliance 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 Quality and Compliance 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, ie no later than 28 business days from acknowledgment of complaint.
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, the Managing Director in conjunction with Quality and Compliance Manager will determine the appropriate person to undertake the investigation.
In resolving a complaint, the Quality and Compliance 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.
We should consider requesting 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 Quality and Compliance Manager in the Feedback and Complaints Register.
5. Communicate Resolution
Coffee Lounge entities 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.
If required, the Quality and Compliance Manager in conjunction with Operations Manage would discuss the outcome of a complaint investigation verbally with the complainant. This must be followed by written advice that provides the complainant an opportunity to make further contact.
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 (eg interpreters, referral to advocates, etc.).
Options for responding to a complaint may include, but are not limited to:
• explaining processes;
• 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 relevant Coffee Lounge entities 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, as well as improve the quality of supports.
The Complaints Register must be reviewed and analyse for trends by the Quality and Compliance Manager on a monthly basis and relevant report be submitted to the Managing Director.
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 about feedback and complaint management.
Where preventative or improvement measures are identified, these must be tracked in the Continuous Improvement Register.
Monitoring and Review
This Policy and Procedure will be reviewed every two (2) years or earlier as necessary. Reviews will incorporate staff, participants and other stakeholders’ feedback.
Revision: 26 Sep 2022