Key messages

  • Anyone can make a complaint or raise issues of concern about an SRS.
  • Supported residential services (SRS) must have a complaints system that explains the procedures for receiving and responding to complaints made by residents, or on a resident’s behalf.
  • All SRS have a complaints officer and when possible, complaints and concerns should be raised with the SRS first.
  • Complainants who are not satisfied with the service's response, or who are uncomfortable approaching the SRS, can contact the Department of Health & Human Services or the Community Visitors Program at the Office of the Public Advocate.

Complaints to the SRS proprietor or manager

When possible, residents should raise concerns with the supported residential service (SRS) first. SRS must have a complaints officer and a complaints system that explains the procedures for receiving and responding to complaints made by a resident, or on behalf of a resident.

The SRS' complaints system must:

  • handle complaints in a fair, reasonable, confidential and timely manner
  • be documented in clear, easy-to-read language, and be available to residents and their families and friends, and staff
  • include an annual review of complaints to identify the causes of serious or recurrent complaints.

For each complaint, the SRS must record:

  • the date of the complaint
  • the nature and details of the complaint
  • the actions taken to resolve the complaint.

Initial investigations of a complaint must start within two business days of receiving the complaint. The proprietor must keep the complainant informed of the progress and any actions taken to resolve the complaint. The proprietor must also inform the complainant of the decision and the reasons for the decision when the complaint is resolved.

Complaints to the department

Complainants who are uncomfortable approaching the SRS, or who are not satisfied with the SRS' response to the complaint can contact an authorised officer at the department.

  • The department can receive complaints from anyone about SRS including residents, family, neighbours, service providers, police etc.
  • The department can receive complaints by email, phone or mail.

After receiving a complaint, an authorised officer from the department may take any or all of the following actions:

  • discuss the complaint with the complainant and the SRS proprietor
  • inspect the service
  • discuss the complaint with people at the SRS who can provide more information about the complaint
  • formally interview people involved in the matter.

The authorised officer will inform the complainant about the actions taken and the outcome of the complaint investigation. The authorised officer can also explain what to expect of an SRS.

If the complaint is about a matter the department cannot investigate, a staff member will provide the contact details of the agency that could help, or refer the matter directly.

To make a complaint to the Department about an SRS, contact one of our regional offices.

Complaints to a community visitor

The Community Visitors Program (CVP) is part of the Office of the Public Advocate, which is an independent statutory authority.

Community Visitors are trained volunteer community representatives who visit SRS regularly. Community Visitors query whether services are being delivered according to the principles of the relevant Act and the Accommodation and Personal Support Standards; the status of any complaints; and any other issues raised with them.

Residents and their families and friends can contact the CVP directly or ask the SRS manager or proprietor to contact them. SRS must contact the CVP if requested. Community Visitors raise any concerns with the SRS proprietor and/or relevant government department.

Complaints about health services

The Health Complaints Commissioner handles complaints about a health service provider, for example a hospital, nurse or doctor.

Complaints about public mental health services

The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner handles complaints about the Victorian public mental health services.

Complaints about disability services

The Disability Services Commissioner can handle complaints about the services a person with a disability receives and/or how a service provider has handled a complaint.

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