DSS Service Charter

About our Department

The Department of Social Services is the Australian Government’s principal source of advice on social policy.  We work in partnership with other government and non-government organisations in the management of a diverse range of programs and services in order to deliver on the Government’s broad social policy agenda.

We support and help

We work in partnership with

  • individuals, families and communities
  • the not-for-profit community sector
  • peak representative organisations
  • organisations that provide services on behalf of the Department
  • other Australian Government departments and agencies
  • state and territory governments
  • local government
  • foreign governments
  • businesses
  • research bodies

Our commitment to you

We observe the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct.

In line with the Values in our Corporate Plan, you can expect us to:

  • be professional
  • be fair and impartial
  • respect your privacy
  • treat you with dignity, courtesy and respect
  • provide you with clear, accurate and timely information
  • continually look for better ways to deliver our service to you
  • inform you of any delays in our response to you
  • continually review and improve procedures to simplify administration and reduce red tape
  • ensure staff have the skills, information and other resources necessary to assist you
  • accommodate your special needs
  • refer you to an appropriate contact if we are unable to assist you

Our Service Standards

When developing policy advice, we will where possible:

  • consult widely
  • design service delivery based on a detailed understanding of clients’ needs and expectations
  • explore opportunities for better coordination and collaboration with other agencies
  • explain the process
  • provide reasonable timeframes to respond to policy proposals

When policy decisions have been made, we will where possible:

  • provide information to stakeholders about decisions
  • consult stakeholders during the implementation of decisions

When administering programs, we will provide:

  • clear, accurate advice and information
  • ready access for clients
  • services that enhance clients’ self esteem and best use the capability of different agencies
  • services that  reflect a close working relationship between relevant agencies
  • fair, unbiased treatment
  • an explanation of our decisions

When you deal with us, we will abide by the Privacy Act 1988, which requires us to:

  • keep your personal information private and confidential unless the law requires disclosure
  • give you access to your personal information if you ask

If you phone us, we will:

  • return telephone messages promptly
  • respond to queries within a reasonable timeframe if we are unable to resolve immediately

If you e-mail or write to us, we will:

  • respond to written queries and requests for current Departmental printed information or publications in a timely manner. If your query is complex, we will provide an interim response to inform you of our progress.

How you can help us to help you

You can help us by:

  • treating our staff with courtesy and respect
  • telling us if you have special needs or requirements (such as the need for an interpreter) so that we may accommodate you
  • providing us with the information we need to respond to your enquiry
  • responding to all reasonable requests

Compliments, suggestions & complaints

Compliments and Suggestions

DSS aims to provide consistent and quality services to the Australian community through our staff and service providers. If you have a compliment 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.

More information on how to make a Compliment or Suggestion can be found on the DSS website.


We encourage all clients to provide feedback on their experiences with DSS or one of our funded service providers.

The complaints management process ensures that any problems you have with the services or decisions of DSS or a DSS-funded service provider are taken seriously and dealt with promptly. Expressing your concerns can help us to improve our processes.

We will treat your concerns as a priority, manage your complaint with integrity and fairness, and keep you informed while working with you towards a satisfactory resolution.

In each Annual Report, DSS will provide information about the number of complaints received and resolved.

More information on making a Complaint can be found on the DSS website.

Reviewing our client service charter

We will review this Service Charter in detail every three years.

How to contact us

  • Telephone: 1800 634 035
    (Calls are charged at a local rate except from mobile phones which are charged at mobile rates.)
  • Mail: GPO Box 9820, Canberra, ACT, 2601
  • Email: complaints@dss.gov.au

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

Additional contact information is available on the DSS website.

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