Consumers’ right to lodge a complaint
The HACC PYP statement of rights and responsibilities gives HACC users the right to make a complaint about a service provider. HACC PYP service providers and administering departments must have policies and procedures to inform people of their right to complain, and procedures to resolve any complaints received.
The HACC PYP complaints policy provides a framework for developing fair, effective and accessible complaints policies and procedures. Services providers must develop policies and procedures that are consistent with this policy.
Victorians using government funded services are entitled to have complaints investigated objectively and without fear of retribution. All service providers must have a written policy explaining how it will handle complaints.
Providers must also explain the policy and procedures to all consumers and distribute them to users, carers and families. The policy and procedures must be accessible for all users (for example, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities).
The policy should include ways for service providers to:
- learn from their experience of managing complaints
- review their service
- respond to evolving consumer requirements and changes in management environments.
Resolving complaints or concerns
When appropriate, users should lodge their complaint with the service provider first. However, some users may be uncomfortable lodging their complaint with the service provider, or they may be dissatisfied with the service provider’s response. In these situations, users can contact the administering department, or use another independent complaint mechanism.
HACC PYP users in Victoria who do not want to lodge their complaint with the service provider, or who are dissatisfied with the service provider’s response, can contact their nearest departmental divisional office. The department can mediate and arbitrate the dispute.
This statement is subsidiary to all existing common and statutory legal procedures operating in each state and territory.
HACC PYP users may have a complaint about a service provided by a government agency, or a complaint about the department as the administering department. In these cases, the user may complain to the relevant minister or an independent body.
There are a number of independent bodies available in Victoria to resolve complaints.
- The Health Services Commission deals with complaints about any private or public health service provider. The commission mediates and conciliates between parties.
- The Victorian Ombudsman deals with complaints about government departments and local government officers (but it doesn’t cover elected councils or councillors).
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission deals with complaints about discrimination on the grounds of disability, sex, race, age, industrial activity, marital status, parental status, carer status, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation or pregnancy. The commission helps people to prepare statements and lodge a complaint, and then mediates between parties to resolve the complaint.
- Regulatory industry boards regulate the conduct of particular professions and deal with complaints against professionals in that industry. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) covers most state-based health providers.
Using an advocate
HACC PYP users can involve an advocate of their choice when dealing with service providers and the department. The advocate speaks and acts on the user’s behalf. It does not mediate between the user and the agency, or arbitrate the dispute.
The Office of the Public Advocate represents the interests of Victorians with a disability. The office investigates and takes action if people are exploited, neglected or abused. It can also provide individual advocacy for Victorians with a disability who are being abused or neglected and have no other advocacy.