Feedback and Complaints - Policy and Procedure

Introduction

At Plan Partners, we strive to provide a true partnership to help you achieve the goals in your NDIS plan. We're committed to providing a high quality and professional service that's relative to your individual needs. We welcome and encourage feedback, ideas and suggestions that will help us refine and develop our services, to provide you with the highest possible value.

Policy Statement

You can expect us to:

  • actively encourage you (our customers), your family and carers to provide feedback or to raise concerns about any aspect of the service Plan Partners provides that is not meeting your expectation of quality and professionalism;
  • respect that you, your family and carers will decide how, when and where you wish to make a complaint and you can choose a key contact person at Plan Partners to work through the process with;
  • provide you with ongoing information about Plan Partners feedback and complaints policy and processes that are accessible, easily understood and culturally relevant;
  • resolve your complaint in a confidential, fair, and timely manner with personal views respected;
  • help you to find a support person or advocate to assist or represent you if you choose.
  • inform you of your right to make a complaint to a regulatory body or authority such as the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
  • throughout the complaint handling process Plan Partners will support your participation, identify your desired goal, and keep you and their supporters informed of all decisions and the reasons for those decisions;
  • ensure that there are no negative consequences or disadvantage to you or your supporters as a result of the complaint or expressed view; and
  • use Plan Partners feedback and complaints review process to inform and direct continuous improvement across the organisation.

Scope

The National Disability Services Acts and Standards relate to the provision of disability services for people with a disability and recognise the role of your family, friends, carers and advocates.

This Policy relates to all activities of Plan Partners. Each area of Plan Partners is required to take responsibility for ensuring full understanding of the commitments outlined in this policy and implement relevant systems, procedures, workflows and other strategies that will direct the development of Plan Partners culture of Customer Service.

This policy will also apply in full to all volunteers, contractors, agents, visitors, consultants, suppliers and customers whilst they are on Plan Partners premises or providing any service to a Plan Partners customer, their family or carers.

Where a complaint meets the criteria of a critical or reportable incident, Plan Partners will manage the incident according to the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission, or any other regulatory body or authority.

Application

All relevant Plan Partners employees (ongoing, temporary, casual, contractors and volunteers) are required to respond to complaints. The response must be in accordance with the principles outlined in this Policy. For the purposes of this Policy the following are excluded from the scope of this Policy and they have another specific management process and supporting Policy that are available through Plan Partners, such as:

  • staff grievances;
  • staff concerns about a client’s welfare;
  • appeals against a decision made about eligibility to receive services, complaints from service providers regarding its contractual arrangements with Plan Partners or complaints about other service providers;
  • feedback and/or criticism for which a response is not expected;
  • incident related matters;
  • fraud and corruption;
  • abuse and negligence; and
  • protected disclosures and requests for service or information.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is:

  • to ensure that Plan Partners regularly and actively seeks your feedback about the service you receive, creating a partnership where you, your family and carers feel safe and supported to complain and express a view point, how and when you want with the assistance you choose;
  • to ensure that you, your family and your carers are aware of your rights, responsibilities and Plan Partners responsibilities; and
  • to meet or exceed the National Standards for Disability Services, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Framework, and NDIS Practice Standards, and comply with all other relevant legislation.

Feedback and Complaints Procedure

1. Complaint Definition

As ISO 10002 – 2006 defines a complaint as;

‘An expression of dissatisfaction made to an organisation, related to its products, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response is explicitly or implicitly expected’.

In line with the above, Plan Partners will consider any express dissatisfaction about our services, where a response is explicitly or implicitly expected, as a complaint. Plan Partners takes complaints about our services very seriously. This policy is designed to ensure Plan Partners provides the highest levels of customer service in relation to our complaints handling processes.

2. Complaint Types

Complaints can be in relation to:

  • service delivery;
  • service Access;
  • privacy;
  • policy; or
  • staff Issues (performance, behaviour, attitude).

3. Lodging a Complaint

Anyone can make a complaint to Plan Partners regarding our service, you do not have to be receiving services and you may make a complaint on behalf of someone else.

Complaints can be made in several ways; in person, over the phone, and via letter or email.

Plan Partners will support you to make a complaint, for example if required we can arrange an interpreter for you using TIS National Translating services (this includes AUSLAN).

Complaints can be lodged:

Via Website: www.planpartners.com.au/feedback

Via Email: info@planpartners.com.au

Via Mail: Plan Partners PO Box 131 Richmond VIC 3121

Via Phone: 1300 333 700

For Telephone Interpreting Service:

Via Phone: 131 450*

*When using this service remember to have your NDIS number ready.

You may wish to have an advocate or someone to support you or to act on your behalf to make a complaint. There are several disability advocacy services that provide this kind of assistance. The Disability Advocacy Finder can help you find independent advocacy services near you.

4. Receiving Complaints

Employees at all levels will record and deal with complaints including understanding of what action can be taken to resolve the complaint. Complaints that cannot be resolved at the first point of contact (i.e. over the phone) require an acknowledgement either verbally or in writing (i.e. by email) that you will receive an acknowledgement within two (2) business days advising of the requirement of ongoing investigation.

When complaints are received verbally, we will:

  • provide you with an explanation of the events that occurred, if known at the time;
  • comprehensively record the conversation and concerns, along with all necessary details (names, date issue first arose, etc) into the customer relations management system – including where the complaint is resolved;
  • identify the issues for resolution, including the key concerns raised by you;
  • clarify with you directly, if any issue is unclear;
  • know when to escalate the complaint to a Team Leader or Manager;
  • advise of the complaints handing process, and
  • commence handling the complaint if appropriate.
  • When complaints are received in writing, we will;
  • acknowledge receipt of the complaint by contacting you within 1 business day of receipt; and
  • follow the procedural points above.

In all cases Plan Partners can accept anonymous complaints and we will investigate these as far as possible.

5. Information Collection

The Plan Partners representative will collect relevant information including:

  • name of person making the complaint (on behalf of yourself or someone else);
  • preferred method of return contact;
  • details of the complaint; and
  • preference of outcome.

6. Recording Complaints

Each State office of Plan Partners is responsible for entering complaints information in our customer relations management system as complaints are received, including complaints received and immediately resolved.

7. Investigating the Complaint

All complaints require, to a greater or lesser degree, an investigation to determine what has happened and what course of action is needed in response. The person managing the complaint will consider:

  • what information is required and where to source it;
  • how it should be collected (system’s review, phone call, document review etc);
  • what you would like to resolve the issue, in what time frame, and if we can reasonably meet this expectation; and
  • how a response should be communicated to the you (verbally, email, letter etc).

8. Responding to Complaints

Once the information has been analysed, we should be able to action a response. Actions taken to resolve a complaint must be based on the evidence, address the issues raised by you and be informed by the principles of fairness, respect, and transparency. If there is any doubt over the appropriate action regarding a complaint, we will escalate the complaint and relevant information to a line manager for consideration of options.

Options for appropriate action may include, but are not limited to:

  • explaining the process employed by Plan Partners which led to the complaint;
  • training / education of Plan Partners employee(s);
  • provision of relevant information to you;
  • further complaint investigation;
  • offering you an apology;
  • or ongoing monitoring of the issue.

Plan Partners employees will ensure that the outcome of the complaint investigation is clearly communicated to you. Final responses may be in the form of a letter, an email or telephone.

The final response will:

  • address each of the points you raised with a full explanation, or if not possible, provide you with the reasons why a detailed response is not available and advise you that a further response will be provided within two (2) business days;
  • give specific details about the investigation – i.e. sources of information, what has been discovered to date etc;
  • ensure that you have been provided with the contact details of the staff member who is responsible for handling your complaint; and
  • include details of further action available to you, if appropriate.

Complaint Handling Escalation Process

A complaint is referred to the next level of management when the matter is outside a staff member’s ability to resolve the complaint.

In cases where you do not feel comfortable in making a complaint to those directly involved, the appropriate team leader / manager will speak with you. If you do not wish to speak to or correspond with a team leader / manager, you will be referred to a senior manager.

Wherever possible, complaints should be dealt with by staff members from the team involved. However, for more serious matters or those with potential broader implications, a manager will be notified and participate in the resolution.

All complaints are recorded on the Plan Partners internal feedback and complaints register and are examined for continuous improvement purposes.

External Disputes Resolution

If a complaint remains unresolved and requires further follow up, or if you are not satisfied with the final resolution offered by us in attempting to resolve a dispute, we can assist with information regarding a number options for you to lodge a complaint with an external agency for follow up.

These include:

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

Phone: 1800 035 544

Website: www.ndiscommission.gov.au

Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

Phone: 1300 362 072

Website: www.ombudsman.gov.au

Disability Services Commissioner

Phone: 1800 677 342

Website: www.odsc.vic.gov.au

National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline

Phone: 1800 880 052

Website: www.jobaccess.gov.au

Disability Loop

Phone: 1800 219 969

Website: www.disabilityloop.org.au

Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (Western Australia)

Phone: 1800 813 583

Website: www.hadsco.wa.gov.au

Policy Review

This Feedback and Complaints Policy will be reviewed every 12 months. Each complaint received will be reviewed in its entirety as part of Plan Partners commitment to continuously improve on service deliverables.

Legislation, Standards and Agreements

Plan Partners commit to adhering to various Legislation, Standards and Agreements. These include, but not limited, to the following;

  • Disability Services Act 2006
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982
  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • United Nations Convention of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006
  • National Disability Practice Standards
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (Complaints Management and Resolution) Rules 2018