Client complaints

Community Services is committed to providing an efficient and effective complaints handling service to clients, their advocates, service providers and the community.

We value feedback from those who deal with us because it helps us to improve our services by revealing areas where we need to change our policies and practices.

Community Services is committed to ensuring that any complaints we receive are handled in a way that is responsive, fair and courteous and that respects the privacy of the person making the complaint. We also undertake to make sure that we provide reasons for any decisions we make in relation to complaints we receive.

What complaints are covered by this policy?

This policy applies to complaints that relate to Community Services and its services. These include, for example, complaints about:

  • the manner in which a service has been provided
  • disagreement with decisions made by Community Services
  • a failure to provide a service, or lack of responsiveness to a request for service
  • the actions of our employees – unfair or poor treatment of a person
  • difficulties with getting access to our services, such as physical access to an office, or a failure to provide assistance with communication difficulties
  • complaints about our handling of people’s personal and health information
  • complaints relating to services that we fund or license
  • conflict of interest between an employee’s official duties and their private interest
  • the complaints handling process itself.

We are usually not able to resolve complaints about decisions made by courts or tribunals. In these cases we may still be able to provide you with information to assist you, including suggesting other avenues for you to make your complaint.

If your complaint relates to a current court matter, you should discuss your concerns with your legal representatives or the presiding magistrate. We cannot give legal advice.

How do I make a complaint?

Step 1

Wherever possible, complaints are best resolved informally by the people involved. You should talk or write to the person responsible for the decision or conduct about which you are complaining, or to their immediate supervisor.

If you are not sure who to contact, ask to speak to the manager of the office or service.

Step 2

If you are not satisfied with the response, you should try to discuss the matter again with the manager.

If you are still not satisfied, or if you are unsure of who is the appropriate person to contact about your complaint, you can call or write to the Complaints Unit.

The Complaints Unit will listen to your complaint and is often able to resolve the issue promptly on the phone. If not, they will refer it to the right person. They will let you know what they are going to do with your complaint and the timeframes for getting back to you.

Phone – call Complaints Line 1800 000 164 to talk directly with one of our Complaints Officers. You can contact the office between 9am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

If you need an interpreter, please contact the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 and ask to be connected to our number.

Fax – print and complete the complaint form and fax it to 9716 2126.

Mail – print and complete the complaint form and post it to:

Reply Paid 63437
Complaints Unit
Community Services
Locked Bag 4028
ASHFIELD NSW 2131

EmailComplaints@community.nsw.gov.au
Onlinelodge your complaint online

Step 3

We will do the best we can to resolve your complaint. If you are still not happy with the process or result of your complaint, you have the right to take your complaint to another body for external review.

Bodies who may undertake to review your matter include: the NSW Ombudsman, Privacy NSW and the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal can review certain decisions made by Community Services. You can also contact the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

You will need to ask these bodies whether they can deal with your matter and if not, which agency can help.

What is expected of me?

When you make a complaint you are responsible for:

  • giving us a clear idea of the problem and the solution you want
  • giving us all the relevant information that you have, at the beginning
  • letting us know whether anyone else is currently dealing with your complaint
  • telling us new facts or letting us know if you no longer wish to complain
  • cooperating with us
  • treating our staff with respect.

What is Community Services responsible for?

We are responsible for:

  • handling your complaint professionally, efficiently and fairly
  • keeping you informed of our progress
  • giving you reasons for our decisions
  • treating you with courtesy and respect
  • giving you reasonable assistance to make your complaint, for instance providing access to an interpreter service.

Confidentiality and privacy

Community Services is committed to handling complaints in a way that respects people’s privacy and the confidentiality of the matter. The only people who will have access to information about your complaint are those who are working on resolving it.

If you have any concerns about the confidentiality of your complaint, tell the person who is handling it.

Useful contacts

NSW Ombudsman’s office

Email: nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au
General enquiries: 9286 1000
Toll free (outside Sydney metro): 1800 451 524
TTY: 9264 8050

Administrative Decisions Tribunal

Email: ag_adt@agd.nsw.gov.au
Level 10
86 Goulburn Street
Sydney
ph: 9377 5711 
fax: 9377 5723
TTY: 9377 5859

Anti discrimination Board

Email: adbcontact@agd.nsw.gov.au
General enquiries: 9268 5555

Privacy NSW

Email: privacyinfo@privacy.nsw.gov.au
Level 11, 1 Castlereagh Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Phone: 8019 1600
Fax: 8114 3755

Independent Commission Against Corruption

Email: icac@icac.nsw.gov.au
General enquiries: 8281 5999

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)