Department of Human Services

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Public complaints

Number of public complaints reported

Complaint categoriesSub-categoriesExampleNumber of
Professional behaviour Staff attitude Failure to demonstrate values such as empathy, respect, fairness, courtesy, extra mile; cultural competency 19
Professional behaviour Staff competency Failure to action service request; poorly informed decisions; incorrect or incomplete service provided 8
Professional behaviour Staff knowledge Lack of service specific knowledge; incomplete or out-of-date knowledge 0
Communication Communication quality Inadequate, delayed or absent communication with customer 5
Communication Confidentiality Customer’s confidentiality or privacy not respected; information shared incorrectly 0
Service delivery Systems/
System offline; inaccessible to customer; incorrect result/information provided; poor system design 0
Service delivery Access to services Service difficult to find; location poor; facilities/ environment poor standard; not accessible to customers with disabilities 66
Service delivery Process Processing error; incorrect process used; delay in processing application; process not customer responsive 3
Policy Policy application Incorrect policy interpretation; incorrect policy applied; conflicting policy advice given 0
Policy Policy content Policy content difficult to understand; policy unreasonable or disadvantages customer 0
Service quality Information Incorrect, incomplete, out dated or inadequate information; not fit for purpose 0
Service quality Access to information Information difficult to understand, hard to find or difficult to use; not plain English 0
Service quality Timeliness Lack of staff punctuality; excessive waiting times (outside of service standard); timelines not met 3
Service quality Safety Maintenance; personal or family safety; duty of care not shown; poor security service/ premises; poor cleanliness 8
Service quality Service responsiveness Service design doesn’t meet customer needs; poor service fit with customer expectations 24
No case to answer No case to answer Third party; customer misunderstanding; redirected to another agency; insufficient information to investigate 0
   Total 136

Source: DHS Client Feedback System (note: complaints data is influenced by various factors including Machinery of Government changes, changes in service provision and relies on complaint data being entered into the Client Feedback System).

Additional MetricsTotal
Number of positive feedback comments 69
Number of negative feedback comments 136
Total number of feedback comments 205
% complaints resolved within policy timeframes 81%

Data for previous years is available at: under Government reporting and policy.

Service improvements for period

Service improvements that responded to customer complaints or feedback


In response to customer feedback, ConcessionsSA simplified and streamlined concession processes in 2018-19 to reduce red tape. As a result, ConcessionsSA is due to process 250,000 less sheets of paper each year. Customer service improvements include:

  • Simplified concessions application form: The number of questions on the customer application form was significantly reduced from 34 to 14 questions. Forms were also consolidated, resulting in a single application for all household concessions (energy, water, sewerage, Cost of Living and Emergency Services Levy).
  • Reduced supporting documents: Operational systems were improved so that customers no longer need to provide copies of a range of documents with their application or when their living arrangements change.
  • Shift in customer communication channels: DHS now seeks any missing customer information via communication over the phone, rather than by post.
  • Notification of approval: Written notification was introduced to advise the customer that their application was approved, reducing any uncertainty for the customer. A summary of concession payment methods and timeframes is included to help keep the customer informed.

As a result of service improvements, the processing time for customer applications has been reduced from two to three months to less than one week.

In 2019-20, further work will be undertaken to simplify and streamline online forms and to utilise SMS technology to provide concessions notification updates to customers.

Interpreting and Translating Centre (ITC)

Changes to the ITC Management System were made to address client complaints regarding invoicing and response times to booking confirmation. These include the centralisation of accounts and process enhancements.

Youth Justice

In 2018-19, following research into alternative options to partially clothed searches at the Adelaide Youth Training Centre - Kurlana Tapa, Youth Justice implemented the use of ion scanning machines that can detect various forms of contraband, such as illegal drugs. This has contributed to a reduction in the number of partially clothed searches being undertaken.

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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