Complaints & Compliments

DVCS welcomes the opportunity to learn, develop, grow and improve. In addition to valuations and feedback from our peers, employees and funding bodies we rely on feedback from our clients.

You might consider providing us with feedback by:

  1. Completing this survey here.
  2. Providing written feedback to us at or PO Box 1922, Fyshwick ACT 2601
  3. Providing verbal feedback to us on 6280 6999

DVCS has a Handling Client Complaints Policy, which is as follows:

DVCS is committed to ensuring that any person or organisation using DVCS services or affected by its operations has the right to lodge a complaint or to appeal a decision of the organisation and to have their concerns addressed in ways that ensure access and equity, fairness, accountability and transparency.

The organisation will provide a complaints handling procedure that:

  • is simple and easy to use;
  • is effectively communicated and promoted to all clients and stakeholders;
  • ensures complaints are fairly assessed and responded to promptly;
  • is procedurally fair and follows principles of natural justice;
  • complies with legislative requirements; and
  • respects, protects and promotes the human rights that are enjoyed by everyone in the ACT regardless of gender, religious belief, nationality, race or any other point of difference.

This policy is regularly reviewed in the light of legislation and DVCS organisational changes.


  • The intention of DVCS is to minimise and prevent the incidence of complaints.
  • All DVCS clients have access to a clear and accountable complaints mechanism.
  • DVCS will consider all complaints it receives.
  • DVCS is accountable for the quality and manner of service delivery and encourages clients to use their human rights to question or comment on the service they receive.
  • DVCS will treat all complainants with respect, recognising the rights of the complainant and that the issue of complaint is important to the complainant.
  • DVCS will ensure advocacy is available to Clients who make a complaint and require support.
  • DVCS will maintain confidentiality of parties involved, keeping any information private to those directly involved in the complaint and its resolution.
  • In the event of a complaint being made, DVCS is committed to dealing with the complaint promptly.
  • DVCS will act upon feedback received and undertake a fair investigation of any complaints. A resolution will be pursued through open communication, evaluation and review.
  • DVCS will ensure that Management Committee Members and Staff are given information about the complaints procedure as part of their induction and are aware of procedures for managing client feedback and complaints.
  • DVCS will ensure Clients and stakeholders are aware of their human rights and the complaints policy and procedures.
  • DVCS will ensure that a complainant is not penalised in any way or prevented from use of services during the progress of an issue.
  • Clients, or those acting on their behalf, will have access to the information gathered through an investigation and be informed of outcomes of the complaint procedure.
  • DVCS will ensure that feedback data (both positive and negative) is considered in organisational reviews and in planning service improvements.
  • Third parties, who are approached in relation to complaints, will be asked to encourage the Client to use the following procedure.

Practice and/or Procedures:

Information for Clients and stakeholders

The DVCS complaints handling procedure is documented in this Policy and is made available to Clients, stakeholders and the general public via the DVCS website.

The Policy includes information on the following:

  • how to make a complaint;
  • contact person for lodging a complaint;
  • how the organisation will deal with the complaint, 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; and
  • how to make a complaint to an external body including contact details.

DVCS Staff and Management Committee members are required to suggest the use of an advocate or interpreter in situations where a client has difficulty in communicating or understanding any information being provided. Clients are encouraged to give feedback, complaints and comments about the service in whatever form.

Making a complaint

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

  • the Staff Member they were dealing with at the time;
  • the Manager of the DVCS service;
  • the DVCS Management Committee; or
  • the Community Services Directorate located here.

If the complaint is about:

  • a Staff Member, the complaint will normally be dealt with by Manager
  • the Manager, the complaint will normally be dealt with in the first instance by the Management Committee Chair

Written complaints may be sent to the Manager at PO Box 1922, Fyshwick, ACT 2609 or who will be responsible for receiving this correspondence and directing it to the appropriate person.

Managing a complaint (internal DVCS procedures)

DVCS Staff responsible for handling formal complaints should have a working knowledge of the Human Rights Act and understand how to apply human rights considerations and decision making practices[1] to resolving complaints.

Processing the complaint

  • Register the complaint in the confidential complaints register.
  • Inform the complainant that their complaint has been received and provide them with information about the process and time frame.

Investigating the complaint

  • Examine the complaint within 3 working days of the complaint being received.
  • Investigate the complaint and decide how to respond.
  • Inform the complainant by letter within 5 working 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 will be investigated and resolved within 7 working days of being received. If this time frame cannot be met, the complainant will be informed of the reasons why and of the alternative time frame for resolution.

Resolving the complaint

  • Making a decision or refer to the appropriate people for a decision within 5 working days of the complaint being received.
  • Inform the complainant of the outcome. The outcome may be as follows:
    • upheld and if so what will be done to resolve it;
    • resolved and how this has been achieved; or
    • if no further action can be taken, the reasons for this.
  • Inform the complainant of any options for further action, if required.

Reviewing the complaint

If the complainant is not satisfied with the investigation and proposed resolution of their complaint they can seek a further review of the matter by contacting:

  • The Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner; or
  • Human Rights Commission of the ACT.

Nothing in this policy takes away a Client’s individual right to use relevant civil or criminal legal procedures to settle their complaint.


A confidential Register of Complaints will be kept in by the Manager. The register will be maintained by the Manager and will record the following for each complaint:

  • 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 Manager’s office. The Complaints Register and all associated files will be confidential and access is restricted to the Manager, Client Services Coordinator and Office Administrator.

A statistical summary of complaints and appeals will also be kept and maintained by the Manager. The Manager will also be responsible for preparing a report on complaints to the Management Committee on an annual basis.

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

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

Complaints involving specific Staff Members

External complaints by Clients or stakeholders made against a Staff Member will be managed by the Manager who will:

  • Notify the Staff Member of the compliant and its nature.
  • Investigate the complaint and provide the Staff 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.
  • Take any other action necessary to resolve the issue.

Any disciplinary action against a Staff Member arising from a complaint will be taken in accordance with the procedures contained in the Counselling and Disciplinary Policy 3.11.

Complaints involving the Manager will be managed by Management Committee Chair. Where the Management Committee Chair is the subject of a complaint, the complaint should be referred to other office bearer/s.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Internal complaints, where a Staff Member makes a complaint concerning another Staff Member will be dealt with in accordance with the DVCS Handling Staff Grievances, Complaints and Disputes Policy 3.10.

[1] Refer Checklist for Human Rights Compliance attachment to DVCS Human Rights Policy.