Department of Health

Key messages

  • Anyone can provide feedback or raise issues of concern about a supported residential service (SRS)
  • SRS must have a complaints officer and a complaints system that explains the procedures for receiving and responding to complaints
  • When possible, complaints and concerns about an SRS should be raised with the SRS first
  • Complainants can contact the Human Services Regulator at the Department of Families, Fairness & Housing or the Community Visitors Program at the Office of the Public Advocate if they are not satisfied with the service's response, or are uncomfortable approaching the SRS

Residents have the right to raise concerns and make complaints about the accommodation and support services they receive in an SRS, and to have these addressed in a fair, reasonable, confidential and timely manner.

Anyone can make a complaint to the department about SRS. This includes residents, family, neighbours, service providers and police. Where possible, you should seek permission from the resident to share their personal details and make a complaint on their behalf.

Before making a complaint, confirm that the service is a registered SRS by using the Register of Currently Registered and Operating Supported Residential Services. Contact details to provide feedback about other accommodation models can be found below.

SRS must take reasonable steps to ensure that a resident is not adversely affected because they make a complaint, or because someone else makes a complaint on their behalf. Residents should also not be unfairly treated if they choose to speak to an authorised officer or community visitor.

Complaints to the SRS proprietor or manager

When possible, residents should raise concerns with the SRS first. SRS must have a complaints system that explains the procedures for receiving and responding to complaints made by, or on behalf of a resident. This includes appointing a staff member as a complaints officer who is regularly available to receive and deal with complaints about any aspect of the operation or service at the SRS.

The SRS' complaints system must:

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

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
  • the date and method of communication to the complainant.

The SRS must start initial investigations of a complaint 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
  • inform the complainant of the decision and the reasons for the decision when the complaint is resolved.

Complaints to the department

Complainants can contact an authorised officer in the Human Services Regulator if they are uncomfortable approaching the SRS, or who are not satisfied with the SRS' response to the complaint..

The Human Services Regulator can receive complaints about SRS by email, phone or mail.

To provide feedback to the Human Services Regulator about an SRS via email, contact one of our regional teams via the email addresses listed below. You can check which area an SRS falls within using the Register of Currently Registered and Operating Supported Residential Services.

South: regulation.south@dffh.vic.gov.au

East: regulation.east@dffh.vic.gov.au

West: west.ret@dffh.vic.gov.au

North: regulation.north@dffh.vic.gov.au

You may also submit feedback about an SRS using the department’s making a complaint webpage.

After receiving a complaint, an authorised officer may seek further information by:

  • discussing the complaint further with the person making the complaint
  • inspecting the SRS
  • discussing the complaint with the proprietor and people at the SRS
  • formally interviewing 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 falls outside the scope of what the Human Services Regulator can investigate, a staff member will provide the contact details of the agency that could help, or seek permission to refer the matter directly.

Complaints to a community visitor

Residents and their families and friends can contact the Community Visitors Program (CVP) directly or ask the SRS manager or proprietor to contact them. SRS must contact the CVP within two days if requested,

The CVP is part of the Office of the Public Advocate, which is an independent statutory authority.

Community Visitors are trained volunteer community representatives who regularly visit SRS. They talk to residents to understand their experiences and identify any issues, and liaise with staff and management to provide feedback and resolve issues.

Community Visitors will raise any concerns with the SRS proprietor and/or SRS complaints officer. If a community visitor cannot resolve a serious issues at the time of their visit, they refer the issue to the relevant government department for consideration and follow-up.

You can find out more about the CVP on the Community visitors to Victorian SRS webpage

Providing feedback about other services 

Feedback about health services

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

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

Feedback about disability services

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission can handle complaints about NDIS funded services, supports and providers received by an SRS resident. This includes NDIS funded services provided by both the SRS and external providers.

The Disability Services Commissioner can handle complaints about a regulated Victorian disability service provider. This includes disability services that are funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and the Transport Accident Commission.

Feedback about other accommodation services

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can provide assistance with complaints about residential aged care service providers.

Consumer Affairs Victoria can provide information and handle complaints about rooming houses.

Feedback about Victorian public organisations

The Victorian Ombudsman can handle complaints about councils, Victorian government departments (including DFFH) and organisations, Victorian universities and TAFEs, publicly funded community services, prisons and some professional boards.

Reviewed 09 September 2015

Health.vic

Contact details

Standards and Regulation Human Services Regulator

Was this page helpful?