Northern Disability Services (NDS) is committed to ensuring that all consumers, participants, their families, carers and/or advocates are free to raise a complaint, to have their complaint dealt with promptly, fairly and in a non-threatening manner and to have their complaint resolved if possible. NDS recognises that consumers, participants, their families, carers and/or advocates may feel vulnerable when making a complaint and negotiating a resolution. This feeling of vulnerability can be compounded for people with special needs, so this policy is written within this context.


  • Northern Disability Services manages feedback effectively in order to identify areas for improvement.
  • Northern Disability Services has an effective complaints, compliment and feedback handling system that addresses the principles of visibility and accessibility, responsiveness, assessment and investigation, feedback and continuous improvement.


  • All complaints are to be dealt with fairly and without reprisal or fear of retribution.
  • Complaints can be lodged by the following:
    • Directly with a staff member or by providing a completed Complaints, Compliments and Feedback Form
    • by email
    • by phone on 03 9457 7412
    • in writing to: Northern Disability Services, 7 Tobruk Avenue, West Heidelberg 3081
    • Via the Suggestion Box located at Office.
  • At any time, people can make a complaint about NDIS service providers or the support they provide to the NDIS Commission.
  • Complaints to the NDIS Commission can be lodged:
  • Complaints about the NDIA should be directed to the Agency itself or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
  • Complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the NDIA can be lodged:
  • Staff must support people making a complaint about the NDIA to contact the Agency or Commonwealth Ombudsman, where this is required.
  • Complaints received by the Northern Disability Services will be handled in the following manner:
    • Within 1 working day all complaints will be recorded on a Complaints, Comment and Compliment form by the complainant or member of staff receiving the complaint.
    • Within 1 working day the complaint will then be forwarded to the Director or delegate.
    • If the complaint is about a member of staff it is to be referred to the Director immediately and the Director will ensure the details are gathered and recorded in writing.
    • The Director will record details of all complaint in the Complaints Register and allocate a suitable investigating officer unless the complaint is regarding the Director
    • The Acknowledgement of Complaint letter is sent to the complainant
    • If the complaint is regarding the Director, details are to be recorded by the person receiving the complaint and forwarded to the Chair of Company's Board within 1 working day. The Board will be convened to ensure a full investigation is undertaken.
    • In instances when the complaint relates to suspected or actual assault, abuse, neglect or other criminal behaviour the Director will be informed immediately, and the appropriate investigative department will be informed.
    • The allocated investigating officer (usually a Service Manager) or Director will commence investigation of the complaint within 1 working day.
    • The investigating officer will contact the complainant within 2 working days of receiving the complaint and:
      • Clarify and document the nature of the complaint or concern and the resolution sought by the complainant
      • Explain the complaints procedure, individual's rights and what to expect
      • Explain their right to an advocate
      • Document all information on the Complaint Investigation Form
      • The investigating officer will interview the involved parties and develop a course of remedial action for the Director to approve.
      • When the plan of action has been approved the investigating officer is to inform the complaint of the remedial action within 10 working days of meeting with the complainant.
      • The Director will ensure the complainant is also informed of the final outcome in writing using the Outcome of Complaint Letter and advised of their right to take the matter to the Board or raise it with the relevant external bodies.
      • If either the complainant or other parties involved in the complaint are unsatisfied with the result or want the matter dealt with further, the matter will be taken to the Board of the Company.
      • When the complaint cannot be resolved internally external mediation will be promoted.
      • All current complaints resolved and unresolved will be tabled in a non-identifying summary form at the next Management Meeting to inform of any potential problems.
      • In addition to addressing the specific complaint the organisation will utilise the information for feedback into the organisation's continuous improvement cycle.
      • Staff will be educated about the complaints procedure, their role and how to support clients and carers with making complaints. Education will occur when staff commence working at Company and periodically through staff training and the staff newsletter.
  • Feedback is defined as "any comments or compliments made about any aspects of the services provided by Northern Disability Services (including the actions of an employee, volunteer or persons otherwise engaged by Northern Disability Services)".
  • Feedback may lead to Northern Disability Services reviewing and adapting an aspect of service or may not require any action beyond acknowledging the feedback and passing on details to relevant parties
  • Feedback will be recorded on the Complaints, Compliments and Feedback form by the person providing the feedback or the member of staff receiving the information
  • The information will then be forwarded to the people involved, Service Manager and Director.
  • The Director will record the details on the relevant register and decide what action is required if any.
  • If the comment is of a negative nature it may be necessary to implement the complaints procedure above.
  • Compliments will also be communicated at staff meetings in order to ensure staff are recognised and examples of best practice identified and acknowledged.

Complaints Escalation and Dispute Resolution

Where a complaint about Northern Disability Services is made to the NDIS Commission, all staff must comply with any orders or requests made by the NDIS Commission; assist in any resolution process or inquiry undertaken by the NDIS Commission; and ensure the complainant or a person with disability affected by the complaint are not adversely affected or fear retribution because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.

Monitoring and Review

Northern Disability Service's Management Team will review this policy and procedure at least annually. This process will include a review and evaluation of: current practices and service delivery types, contemporary policy and practice in this clinical area, the Incident Register and will incorporate staff, participant and other stakeholder feedback. Feedback from service users, suggestions from staff and best practice developments will be used to update this policy.

Northern Disability Service's Continuous Improvement Plan will be used to record and monitor progress of any improvements identified and where relevant feed into Northern Disability Services service planning and delivery processes.