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 25
Professional behaviour Staff competency Failure to action service request; poorly informed decisions; incorrect or incomplete service provided 7
Professional behaviour Staff knowledge Lack of service specific knowledge; incomplete or out-of-date knowledge 0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 3
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 1
Service delivery Access to services Service difficult to find; location poor; facilities/ environment poor standard; not accessible to customers with disabilities 4
Service delivery Process Processing error; incorrect process used; delay in processing application; process not customer responsive 6
Policy Policy application Incorrect policy interpretation; incorrect policy applied; conflicting policy advice given 8
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 28
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 2
Service quality Safety Maintenance; personal or family safety; duty of care not shown; poor security service/ premises; poor cleanliness 5
Service quality Service responsiveness Service design doesn’t meet customer needs; poor service fit with customer expectations 45
No case to answer No case to answer Third party; customer misunderstanding; redirected to another agency; insufficient information to investigate 17
   Total 151

Source: DHS Client Feedback System.

Note: complaints data relies on complaint categories being entered into the Client Feedback System. This data was only recorded for 151 out of 215 complaints received for the reporting period.

Additional Metrics

Additional MetricsTotal
Number of positive feedback comments 119
Number of negative feedback comments 215
Total number of feedback comments 334
% complaints resolved within policy timeframes 77% (165)

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

Service improvements

The following summarises actions by the department to improve its management of complaints, and service improvements resulting from complaints or client feedback in 2020–21:

  • To ensure that organisations or applicants do not need to repeat their query/issue each time they make contact, the Screening Unit commenced recording the name of the initial customer service officer on the relevant file. The organisation or applicant is now referred to the same officer the next time they make contact.
  • The Screening Unit also implemented mechanisms to enable applicants being complex risk assessed to speak to the senior assessment officer working on their file. This included the risk assessment officer contacting the applicant at allocation of the file and including direct contact details of the assessment officer in correspondences to the applicant.
  • The Concessions Hotline implemented a script matrix for staff to assist in responding quickly to customer enquiries about the once-off boost of $500 and bringing forward the 2020–21 Cost of Living Concession payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To support Companion Card holders who have multiple carers, Concessions and Support Services provided letters for additional carers to carry in lieu of the Companion Card.
  • In response to complaints from clients, family members or guardians about the level of care provided or compatibility with fellow home residents, DHS Accommodation Services initiated individualised reviews of level of service and living arrangements.

Compliance Statement

  • The Department of Human Services is compliant with Premier and Cabinet Circular 039 - complaint management in the South Australian public sector.
  • The Department of Human Services has communicated the content of PC 039 and the agency’s related complaints policies and procedures to employees.
Page last updated : 27 Oct 2021

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