Disability service complaints

This section includes details about:

How to make a complaint and links to an online complaints form

What information is required when lodging a complaint

Who can make a complaint

What can be complained about

Time restrictions

View the HaDSCO Brochure (PDF 279KB) and Helpful tips: raising a complaint information sheet (PDF 398KB).

How to make a complaint

In order to raise a complaint, first read the information on this page. Information supplied here outlines who/what can be complained about and when. Once familiarised with this information, either:

Completing a complaint form

Complaints must be lodged in writing, unless there is a good reason why this is not possible. It is recommended, where possible to utilise the HaDSCO complaints form as it provides an easy to follow structure.

Download a complaint form (PDF)

Complete a form online

It is important to note that work cannot begin on a complaint unless all information and signed authorisation statements are supplied to HaDSCO.

Complaint forms are designed to provide support in lodging a complaint. Each section requires specific information that is important to the resolution of the complaint. Please ensure forms lodged to HaDSCO are completed in full. This will ensure the HaDSCO Assessment Team is equipped with all the information required.

For help completing the form, contact HaDSCO.

HaDSCO, by law, is required to consult with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) when complaints relate to a registered health professional. This will determine which agency is the most appropriate to deal with the complaint. Further information is available within the Memorandum of Understanding between AHPRA and Health Complaint Entities (PDF) (including HaDSCO).

This MoU document outlines:

  • The statutory roles and the relationship between HaDSCO and AHPRA
  • Sections 149 and 150 of National Law
  • Agreed procedures

Preparing a written complaint

If a complaint form cannot be completed, please submit a complaint in writing. Ensure the following information is provided.

  • The name and date of birth of the person who received the service
  • The name, date of birth and contact details of the person making the complaint
  • If relevant the relationship between the person who received the service and the person who is lodging the complaint (the person lodging the complaint cannot be paid to make the complaint)
  • The name and contact details of the person or organisation who provided the service
  • The date the service was provided
  • Details of any attempt that has already been made to try and resolve the complaint
  • Details of the complaint
  • The desired outcomes and what is hoped to be achieved by making the complaint

Ensure any complaint submitted to HaDSCO includes the following two authorisation statements. These statements must be signed and dated.

Authorisation to refer. ‘I authorise the Director of the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office to send a copy of my complaint to the health or disability service provider and/or any other relevant body.’

Signature: _______________________________________ Date:               /           /

Authorisation to access information. ‘I authorise the Director of the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office to access information relating to this complaint.’

Signature: _______________________________________ Date:                /          /

Who can make a complaint

A complaint may be lodged by:

  • The person who received the service
  • A relative, representative or carer
  • A recognised advocate of the person who received the service
  • A carer, about a failure to comply with the Carers Charter as set out in the Carers Recognition Act 2004

Complaints can also be directly accepted from carers when a provider has failed to comply with the Carers Charter. Read more about the Carers Recognition Act (external site) and making a complaint as a carer.

HaDSCO accepts complaints about any disability service provider. This includes public or private organisations, public authorities providing disability services and the Disability Services Commission.

What can be complained about

Disability services are defined as any services provided specifically for people with disabilities, such as:

  • Accommodation
  • In-home support
  • Respite services (in-home and residential)
  • Therapy services
  • Employment services
  • Day activities
  • Recreation and leisure services
  • Advocacy services

Complaints can include allegations that a disability service provider or the Disability Services Commission (DSC) has acted unreasonably:

  • by refusing to provide a service
  • by providing a service that should not have been provided
  • in the manner of providing a service
  • by denying or restricting the consumer's access to records
  • by breaching confidentiality
  • by charging an excessive fee
  • by not dealing effectively with a complaint
  • by failing to comply with the Carers Charter
  • by failing to comply with the Disability Services Standards or failing to ensure that those standards were met by service providers.

Complaints can also be accepted regarding the DSC making or not making a grant available.

If a complaint raises issues that would be better dealt with by a professional registration Board, the Director may, with the written consent of the complainant, refer the complaint to the appropriate Board.

Time limitations

Disability service complaints must be made within 24 months of the date the service being complained about was provided. Some discretion exists if there is a good reason for the delay, for example, if you only become aware of the problem that led to the complaint after the 24 month period has expired.

HaDSCO is generally unable to assist with complaints that have already been determined by a court, registration board or tribunal.

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