What happens when you make a complaint?
If you make a complaint to us using the webform, we will contact you using your preferred method of communication to progress your complaint.
Our staff will assess your complaint to understand what your concerns are and how they can be addressed.
First, we will determine if the Victorian Disability Worker Commission has the power and scope to address your complaint, or if another organisation or entity is better placed to handle your concerns.
If there are some issues we can’t deal with, we will tell you about other organisations that might be able to help you. Where we can and you would like us to, we will assist you to refer your complaint to the right place.
How we progress your complaint will depend on the circumstances, the seriousness of the situation, your wishes, the wishes of the disability service user (if they are not the person making the complaint) and any other relevant facts.
We can decide on a range of options for taking action when your case has been fully assessed and enough information has been gathered from you and other sources to understand the situation fully.
We will continue to work with you and keep you informed while we assess your case. In those instances where we believe that serious criminal activity may have taken place or there is a serious safety risk to a disability service user or member of the public, we must act and may need to involve the police.
Some complaints do not require immediate action and can be addressed or resolved with the support of our staff.
We may also decide to refer the complaint to conciliation or investigation.
What is conciliation?
Conciliation is one way we can try to resolve a complaint. The most common form of conciliation is a meeting between the person who has made a complaint, the disability service user (if they are not the person who made the complaint) and the disability worker.
A complaint can only be referred to conciliation if all parties agree to go to conciliation.
The purpose of a conciliation is to assist parties to reach an agreement on how the complaint can be resolved. Our role in a conciliation is impartial – our conciliators do not advocate for any of the parties.
Our conciliators will facilitate the conciliation and help to clarify the issues, gather information, assist in understanding the perspectives of all relevant parties and encourage discussion between everyone at the conciliation conference.
Conciliation is a confidential, impartial and free process. A person involved in a conciliation must not disclose anything said, done or any agreement reached in a conciliation outside the conciliation process without the consent of the person to whom the information relates.
Evidence of anything said or done in a conciliation is not admissible in a hearing or proceeding in a court or a tribunal.
Outcomes of conciliation depend on what is agreed at the conciliation by the people at the conference. The conciliator’s role is not to suggest or guarantee outcomes. However, the conciliator will assist all parties to reality-test any agreements that are reached and ensure there is a shared understanding of what has been agreed. The conciliator will record any outcomes and provide a copy of these to the parties.
What is an investigation?
The Victorian Disability Worker Commission has the power to investigate complaints and or notifications alleging breaches of the Disability Service Safeguards Act and the Disability Service Safeguards Code of Conduct. The types of complaints and notifications that we may investigate include (but are not limited to):
- where there may have been a breach of the Code of Conduct
- the matter relates to an unregistered worker, who has been excluded or banned from practising or has committed a prescribed offence
- the matter relates to a registered disability worker, who may have an impairment that detrimentally affects their ability to work safely and which poses a serious risk to the life, health safety and welfare or a person, or the health, safety or welfare of the public the matter relates to a registered disability worker, whose conduct may be unprofessional
We will notify all relevant parties if we decide to investigate a complaint. We will tell parties what the investigation is about in writing unless doing so would cause a serious risk to the health, safety or welfare of a person or the public.
We will act fairly, without bias and independently towards all parties involved in an investigation.
We will act according to the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness. The Disability Service Safeguards Act has specific requirements about how we conduct our investigations. This includes giving a person an opportunity to make a submission to us about a decision that affects them.
At the conclusion of the investigation, we may decide to:
- counsel the disability worker
- take no further action
- refer the matter to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission or any other appropriate entity for investigation or other action
- prohibit the worker from providing all, or specified, disability services.