Feedback – Compliments, Complaints and Enquiries

Compliments and Enquiries

DSS aims to provide consistent and quality services to the Australian community through our staff and service providers. If you have a compliment, suggestion or enquiry about a DSS program or a DSS funded service provider or would like to make a suggestion about how we could improve our services we would like to hear from you.

Complaints

We recognise that from time to time we may not meet your expectations. If you wish to raise a concern about DSS or a DSS funded service provider you can do this through our Complaints Management Process.

1. Statement of commitment and goals of the Complaints Management Process

Goals of the Complaints Management Process

  • To provide DSS clients with an accessible process that handles complaints in a timely, professional and consistent manner.
  • To provide information to assist DSS to improve its customer service and administrative processes.

Statement of commitment

DSS encourages all clients to provide feedback on their experiences with DSS or a DSS funded service provider.

The complaints management process ensures that any concerns you have with the services or decisions of DSS or a DSS-funded service provider are taken seriously and dealt with promptly. Your concerns can help us to improve our processes.
DSS will treat your concerns as a priority, managing your complaint with integrity and fairness, and keeping you informed while working with you towards a satisfactory resolution.

2. Contacting the DSS Feedback Coordination Team about a complaint

We recommend that you try to resolve the matter with the relevant organisation before contacting the DSS Feedback Coordination Team on

  • Telephone: 1800 634 035
  • Fax: (02) 6133 8442
  • Email: complaints@dss.gov.au
  • Mail: DSS Feedback, PO Box 7576, Canberra Business Centre, 2610

Please Note: Calls made to the 1800 634 035 number will be recorded to assist in the effective management of the complaint as well as for training purposes.  Please advise the complaints officer if you do not wish to have your call recorded.

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service to contact any of DSS's listed phone numbers.

Aged Care Specific Complaints

If you have a concern about the care you or someone else is receiving, you can make a complaint by contacting the Aged Care Scheme on

3. What you can contact us about

The Complaints Management process looks into complaints from the public about DSS’s service(s), or the service of a DSS funded service provider. These complaints may be about:

  • unreasonable delay;
  • inadequate service, explanation or reasons;
  • legal error;
  • factual error in decision making process;
  • human error;
  • procedural deficiency;
  • discriminatory action or decision;
  • flawed administrative process; or
  • inadequate knowledge/training of staff.
  • unprofessional behaviour by an officer; or
  • breach of duty/misconduct by an officer.
  • fraud and compliance issues

As the purpose of the process is to assist in improving DSS’s services, issues that relate to Government policy or legislation are not dealt with as complaints but accepted as policy feedback and forwarded to the relevant program area for consideration when next that policy or legislation is reviewed.  You can contact the Minister about these concerns or you can send them to DSSfeedback@dss.gov.au

If you would like to request a review over eligibility for a benefit or entitlement, you will need to contact the relevant decision making body.

4. Other complaints handling mechanisms

General complaints are dealt with under the DSS Complaints Management process, however, there are other DSS-supported complaint handling mechanisms designed to deal with disability and Centrelink payments:

  • National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline - an Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disabilities using Government-funded services. Phone: 1800 880 052.
  • National Disability Complaints Resolution and Referral Service (CRRS)Link to external website - an independent avenue of complaint for users of Commonwealth-funded disability employment and advocacy services when complaints cannot be resolved internally and/or service users feel that they cannot use a service provider's internal complaints mechanism. Phone: 1800 880 052.
  • Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) - an independent body that reviews individual cases of payments administered by Centrelink. It can set aside, vary or affirm decisions. Phone: 1800 011 140.

5. What happens when you contact the DSS Feedback Coordination team about a complaint?

The team member will:

  • discuss your concerns with you.
  • advise you of the process that will be taken to resolve your concern; and
  • register your complaint.

You will be kept informed of progress and contacted to clarify any issues. A written response will be provided to you within 28 days. If the issue is complex we may need to extend that time and this will be communicated to you.

6. Information we will require and confidentiality

To look into a complaint we require:

  • Details of your complaint.
  • Details of any attempts you have made to resolve the matter.

We will accept anonymous complaints but the following optional information will help us to look into your concerns more effectively:

  • Your name and contact details.
  • Permission for the DSS officer/s looking into the matter to disclose your personal information to the relevant parties (if applicable).
  • Permission for the relevant parties to provide details of your dealings with them to the DSS officer/s looking into the matter (if applicable).

DSS staff will seek your consent before disclosing/requesting any of your personal information.

If you agree, your personal information will be used for the purpose of processing your complaint and will be protected under the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988. Your personal information will not be released to any person or organisation unless required by law or you provide your consent. 

If you submit your complaint over the phone, we will seek consent from you during the call. If you submit your complaint in writing you will need to provide a signed consent form PDF 102kB].

You have the right to withdraw your personal information from the Complaints Management process at any time.

7. What you can do if you are not satisfied

If you are not satisfied with the way in which your concerns have been handled you can complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Complaints to the Ombudsman can be made in writing, by phone, in person or by using an online complaint form.

Content Updated: 30 October 2013