Complaints Management Policy

Policy Owner


Statement of Policy

The Family Place Inc. (TFP). is committed to ensuring that any person or organisation using TFP, our services or affected by our operations has the right to lodge a complaint or appeal a decision of the organization and to have their concerns addressed in ways that ensure access and equity, fairness, accountability and transparency.

TFP will provide a complaints and appeals management procedure that:

  • Is simple and easy to use
  • Is effectively communicated and promoted to all clients and stakeholders
  • Ensures complaints or appeals are fairly assessed and responded to promptly
  • Is procedurally fair and follows principles of natural justice complies with legislative requirements

This policy also addresses stakeholder complaints and feedback and compliments.


TFP will:

  • Consider all complaints it receives
  • Treat all complainants with respect, recognising that the issue of complaint is important to the complainant
  • Maintain confidentiality of parties involved, keeping any information private to those directly involved in the complaint and its resolution
  • Ensure advocacy is available to clients who make a complaint and require support
  • Resolve complaints, where possible, to the satisfaction of the complainant
  • Deal with all complaints in a timely manner
  • Keep parties to the complaint informed of progress of the complaint ensure that Committee members, staff, contractors, trainees and volunteers/others are given information about the complaints procedure as part of their induction and are aware of procedures for managing client feedback and complaints
  • Ensure all service users, stakeholders and members are aware of the Complaints Management Policy and procedures
  • Ensure a complainant is not penalised in any way or denied the use of services during the progress of an issue
  • Ensure feedback data (both positive and negative) is considered in organizational reviews and in planning service improvements.


Information for clients and stakeholders
TFP complaints and appeals procedure will be documented for clients and stakeholders in our Clients rights and responsibilities/your privacy and complaints brochure which is available in leaflet form from our office and displayed in our workspaces and provided and explained to clients when they complete the Consent Form.

All clients will be informed of their rights and responsibilities with regard to complaints and appeals at the earliest possible stage of their involvement with the organisation.

In accordance with the Client Rights and Responsibilities Policy, the Rights and Responsibilities/ Privacy / Complaints Brochure will contain information on the following:

  • How to make a complaint or lodge an appeal
  • Contact person for lodging a complaint or appeal
  • How the organisation will deal with the complaint or appeal, the steps involved and the timelines
  • The rights of the complainant to an advocate, support person or interpreter
  • How the person will be informed about the outcome of their complaint or appeal
  • How to make a complaint to an external body including contact details

The information will also be explained verbally to clients with limited access to written English.

Making a complaint

A client wishing to make a complaint may do so in writing or verbally to:

  • The employee they were dealing with at the time
  • The manager/supervisor of that employee
  • The Chairperson of the TFP Management Committee.

The client should be given the Client Rights and Responsibilities Brochure, a copy of this this policy document and the complaints form. An employee can complete this form on behalf of the client to formally record the complaint or the client may choose to complete and return themselves. The completed complaints form should be provided to;
If the complaint is about:

  • The CEO, the complaint will normally be dealt with by the Chairperson of TFP Management Committee
  • If the complaint is about an employee, the complaint will normally be dealt with by the CEO

Written complaints may be sent to the Chairperson PO Box 269, Moruya NSW 2537. The CEO, or Operations Manager will be responsible for receiving this correspondence and directing it to the Chairperson.

Lodging an appeal

Clients or their advocates may lodge an appeal if they disagree with a decision made by TFP. An appeal should be made in writing and submitted to the Chairperson of TFP Management Committee.

Procedure for complaints and appeals management

The person managing the complaint will be responsible for:

1. Processing the complaint or appeal:

  • Registering the complaint or appeal in the TFP complaints register; and
  • Informing the complainant that their complaint has been received and providing them with information about the process and timeframe.

2. Investigating the complaint or appeal:

  • Examining the complaint within 7 days of the complaint being received;
  • Investigating the complaint and deciding how to respond; and
  • Informing the complainant by letter within 7 days of the complaint being received of what is being done to investigate and resolve it, and the expected timeframe for resolution.

As far as possible, complaints or appeals will be investigated and resolved within 21 days of being received. If this timeframe cannot be met, the complainant will be informed of the reasons why and of the alternative timeframe for resolution

3. Resolving the complaint:
Making a decision or referring to the appropriate people for a decision within 7 days of the complaint being received

Informing the complainant of the outcome:

  • Upheld (and if so what will be done to resolve it)
  • Resolved (and how this has been achieved)
  • If no further action can be taken, the reasons for this
  • Informing the complainant of any options for further action if required

4. Reviewing the complaint:
If the complainant is not satisfied with the investigation and proposed resolution of their complaint or appeal they can seek a further review of the matter by writing to the Chairperson of TFP.

5. Referral to external procedure:
A formal external complaints procedure may follow Step 4 if the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome. The complainant will be referred to the NSW Ombudsman or DCJ Southern region NSW within 7 days of receiving the letter of appeal.

6. Advising DCJ of complaints:
A summary of the number of complaints and compliments received in a financial year and their outcomes will be reported to DCJ contract managers during the annual accountability process.

Record keeping

An electronic register of complaints and compliments will be kept in O Drive (Managers only drive. The Complaints and Compliment’s register will be maintained by the CEO and will record the following for each complaint or appeal:

  • Details of the complainant and the nature of the complaint
  • Date lodged
  • Action taken
  • Date of resolution and reason for decision
  • Indication of complainant being notified of outcome
  • Complainant response and any further action

Copies of all correspondence will be kept in the complaints file.

The complaints and compliments register and files will be confidential and access is restricted to TFP Management Committee, Operations Manager and CEO.

Results from this report will be reviewed by the Committee and used to:

  • Inform service planning by including a review of complaints and appeals in all service planning, monitoring and evaluation activities
  • Inform decision-making by including a report on complaints and appeals as a standard item on employees and management meeting agendas

Complaints involving specific employees, contractors, trainees or volunteers

TFP Chairperson has responsibility for resolving complaints or disputes involving employees, contractors, trainees or volunteers.

Where an employee, contractor, trainee or volunteer makes a complaint concerning another employee, contractor, trainee or volunteer, this will be dealt with in accordance with TFP Conflict resolution and grievance policy.

Complaints by clients or stakeholders made against an employee, contractor, or student/trainee will be managed by Chairperson who will:

  • Notify the employee, contractor, or student/trainee of the complaint and its nature
  • Investigate the complaint and provide the employee contractor, or student/trainee with an opportunity to respond to any issues raised
  • Attempt to mediate the dispute (if appropriate) and/or attempt to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the outside party
  • Take any other action necessary to resolve the issue

Any disciplinary action against a employee, contractor, trainee or volunteer arising from a complaint will be taken in accordance with the Managing Unsatisfactory Performance and Misconduct Policy.

Complaints involving Committee or Association members

Complaints made against a Committee or Association member will be referred to the Chairperson. The Chairperson will:

  • Notify the person about whom a complaint is being made of the complaint and its nature
  • Investigate the complaint and provide the member with an opportunity to respond to any issues raised
  • Attempt to mediate the dispute (if appropriate) and/or attempt to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the outside party

Where the Chairperson is the subject of a complaint, the complaint should be referred to the Deputy Chairperson or another office bearer. If the matter remains unresolved, it will be raised at the next Committee meeting. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint, the Committee may:

  • Deal with the matter at its meeting; and
  • Handle in accordance with the provisions outlined in The Family Place Constitution part 2(11) Disciplining of members.

Complaints from Service Providers

Employee should direct any service providers wanting to make a complaint to the CEO or Chairperson, the complaints form will be completed in accordance with the client complaints process and submitted to the Management Committee for review.

Feedback and Compliments

TFP encourages feedback and compliments, this is done via the feedback box in the front foyer area. These are recorded in the Complaints and Compliments Register and used to evaluate, review and improve the quality of our service provision.


  • Committee members, employees, contractors, and students/trainees made aware of this policy as part of induction
  • Ongoing training in team meetings and manager meetings provided
  • Complaints register a standing item at every Committee meeting and reported annually to funding body via annual report
  • Any incidents dealt with in accordance with this policy
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