Department of Human Services

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Public complaints

Number of public complaints reported

Complaint
categories

Sub-categories

Example

Number of
Complaints
2021–22

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

6

Professional behaviour

Staff
knowledge

Lack of service specific knowledge; incomplete or out-of-date knowledge

3

Communication

Communication
quality

Inadequate, delayed or absent communication with customer

20

Communication

Confidentiality

Customer’s confidentiality or privacy not respected; information shared incorrectly

1

Service delivery

Systems/
technology

System offline; inaccessible to customer; incorrect result/information provided; poor system design

4

Service delivery

Access to services

Service difficult to find; location poor; facilities/ environment poor standard; not accessible to customers with disabilities

8

Service delivery

Process

Processing error; incorrect process used; delay in processing application; process not customer responsive

15

Policy

Policy
application

Incorrect policy interpretation; incorrect policy applied; conflicting policy advice given

1

Policy

Policy content

Policy content difficult to understand; policy unreasonable or disadvantages customer

1

Service quality

Information

Incorrect, incomplete, out dated or inadequate information; not fit for purpose

2

Service quality

Access to
information

Information difficult to understand, hard to find or difficult to use; not plain English

1

Service quality

Timeliness

Lack of staff punctuality; excessive waiting times (outside of service standard); timelines not met

1

Service quality

Safety

Maintenance; personal or family safety; duty of care not shown; poor security service/ premises; poor cleanliness

3

Service quality

Service
responsiveness

Service design doesn’t meet customer needs; poor service fit with customer expectations

3

No case to answer

No case to answer

Third party; customer misunderstanding; redirected to another agency; insufficient information to investigate

19

  

Total

113

Source: My SAFETY and Gov SAfety systems

Note: Complaints data relies on complaint categories being entered into the client feedback system. This data was only recorded for 113 out of 207 complaints received for the reporting period.

Additional Metrics

Additional MetricsTotal

Number of positive feedback comments (total number of recorded compliments and suggestions)

84

Number of negative feedback comments (total number of recorded complaints)

207

Total number of feedback comments

291

% complaints resolved within policy timeframes

67%

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - Annual Reporting - DHS 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 2021–22:

  • In February 2022, the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) released a public summary report into an investigation into the provision of health services by the Transition to Home (T2H) program. The investigation was undertaken following a complaint received by the HCSCC about the care of a T2H client. The department has undertaken to implement the recommendations.
  • The Community Connections Program team developed an FAQ sheet for RDNS staff to provide to clients to ensure they receive accurate information. This was developed in response to feedback from a participant in the Adults with Chronic Conditions program who was unsure if her services would continue. She was also unaware that a longer-term service may be available under the new Community Connections Program if she was assessed as suitable.
  • Concessions and Support Services developed and implemented an appeal process for declined Companion Card applications. The process was created in response to a request from a customer who was declined for a Companion Card on multiple occasions for the same reason. The process provides the declined customer with the opportunity to submit new information and have their application reassessed by a panel that is independent from the original decision.
  • In response to public complaints and feedback regarding supply issues in the South Australian disability housing sector, DHS entered into a bilateral project agreement in February 2022 to support the delivery of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) for NDIS participants in South Australia. The project will deliver an increase in the supply of customised SDA arrangements for a cohort of NDIS participants with very high needs who have limited or no accommodation options available to them due to their exceptional needs and circumstances.
  • Throughout 2021–22, DHS Disability Services has been working towards full registration with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, including registration to provide services under the NDIS. The Commission is responsible for safeguarding NDIS participants and monitoring service providers. As such, NDIS registration contributes to improvements in DHS Disability Services’ complaints management policy and processes.
  • The Screening Unit has updated the email message sent to applicants notifying them that they are permitted to work with children. Following enquiries from applicants about the outcome of their Working With Children Check, the Screening Unit identified that the term ‘not prohibited’ was confusing for some applicants who believed it meant that they were not permitted to work with children. The email to applicants was updated with the term ‘not prohibited’ replaced with ‘cleared’. The Screening Unit no longer receives these types of enquiries from applicants.

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 : 31 Oct 2022

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