The role of the Office

Our role

HaDSCO is an independent Statutory Authority offering an impartial resolution service for complaints relating to health, disability and mental health services in Western Australia and the Indian Ocean Territories.

The responsible Minister is the Honourable Roger Cook MLA Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health.

HaDSCO operates within two key service areas:

Service one: Assessment, negotiated settlement, conciliation and investigation of complaints.
Service two: Education and training in the prevention and resolution of complaints.

Through our roles and functions with the health, disability and mental health sectors we:

  • Provide a free, independent and impartial service to assist people making a complaint and service providers to resolve complaints.
  • Use information about complaints to identify systemic issues and trends across these sectors.
  • Work collaboratively with all parties to improve service delivery and complaints management.

Functions of the Director

The functions of the Director as set out in the Health and Disability Services (Complaints) Act 1995 are as follows:

  • to deal with complaints
  • in collaboration with groups of providers or groups of users or both, to review and identify the causes of complaints and to suggest ways of removing and minimising those causes and bringing them to the notice of the public
  • to take steps to bring to the notice of users and providers details of complaints procedures
  • to assist providers in developing and improving complaints procedures and training of staff in handling complaints
  • with the approval of the Minister, to inquire into broader issues of health care arising from complaints received
  • to publish work of the Office from time to time
  • to provide advice generally on any matter relating to complaints
  • to provide advice to users on the making of complaints to registration boards and other avenues available for dealing with complaints
  • any other function conferred on the Director by the Act or another written law.

Under this legislation the Director may do all things that are necessary, or convenient to be done, in order to perform the Director’s functions.

The Director also has responsibilities under Part 6 of the Disability Services Act 1993 to manage complaints relating to the provision of disability services and responsibilities under Part 19 of the Mental Health Act 2014 to manage complaints about mental health services. See Legislation and powers for further information.

The current HaDSCO Director is Sarah Cowie. Sarah has held the position since April 2016.

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