Policy purpose and scope
This policy outlines the handling and management of feedback and complaints at SANE.
Using feedback to improve service provision
At SANE we strive for a safe, diverse and equitable service provision for all service users and community members. We aim to ensure that all individuals who come into contact with SANE are treated with respect and dignity in all circumstances. Our operations and behaviours should at all times be dictated by what is believed to be in the best interests of people with lived experience of complex mental health issues, and their loved ones. We consider an effective feedback handling process to be an essential part of this commitment, providing an insight into services that are not working as well as they might, and allowing us to monitor, develop and improve their quality and effectiveness. Every item of feedback we receive is read by one of our staff members, summarized and analysed and where appropriate, fed into our continuous improvement processes.
The SANE Team, through its Executive Team, monitors summary information from our feedback and complaints systems each quarter. We may use feedback from stakeholders in our publications (e.g. Annual Report), newsletters, marketing material, and for training and quality assurance purposes. This is always done in a way that protects the identity of the individual, or if this is not possible or appropriate, with their express permission.
Responding to feedback, including concerns and complaints
SANE will investigate and respond to all complaints. SANE also acknowledges individuals providing other types of feedback e.g. compliments and suggestions. SANE will treat any individual making a complaint (or providing any form of feedback) with dignity, respect and confidentiality. SANE will not respond to feedback that is provided in an offensive, harassing or malicious manner.
Receiving feedback and complaints
Feedback and complaints can be received in a number of ways. An individual may:
- Write a letter to SANE, C/O 700 Swanston St, Carlton VIC 3053.
- Participate in a satisfaction survey or program evaluation facilitated by SANE.
Anonymous feedback and the use of pseudonyms
Anyone providing feedback is entitled to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym if they so choose. SANE however, may be limited in what action it can take in responding to, investigating and addressing anonymous feedback.
If requested, SANE will assist an individual to provide feedback or lodge a complaint by:
- guiding the individual to the Enquiries & Feedback form on our website; or
- entering feedback or complaint into our Feedback Tracking System on their behalf; or
- helping the individual to complete a Feedback form applicable to the service or program.
An individual providing feedback or making a complaint may appoint a third party to act on their behalf. SANE will respond to the third party, subject to the provision of appropriate written authority.
Managing feedback and complaints
SANE acknowledges and respects the rights of all people to express their opinion about our work - whether complimentary or critical. We encourage feedback and will respond to complaints in a timely manner.
SANE will endeavour to resolve all complaints through its internal processes including:
- A review of the issue of concern
- Discussions with all relevant SANE staff
- Discussion with all relevant senior staff at external agencies if the incident involves a contracted agency
- A review of internal documentation, policies and procedures, and SANE's legal, regulatory and funding obligations.
In receiving a complaint, SANE will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five (5) working days where possible, and if a response has been requested
- Investigate the issue raised and decide on any actions or improvements that may be required
- Advise relevant government departments and/or external agencies where required to under legislation.
Once we've completed this internal review we will respond to you in writing within 30 days, detailing the steps of the review process and the outcome.Once we've completed this internal review we will respond to you in writing within 30 days, detailing the steps of the review process and the outcome.
If the matter cannot be resolved within this time, SANE will advise the individual of the reasons for the delay and provide a revised timeframe, ensuring appropriate records are maintained in accordance with SANE policies and procedures, any applicable program or contractual requirements, and applicable Privacy legislation.
In receiving other types of feedback, SANE will acknowledge the receipt of the feedback with an appropriate expression of appreciation.
The Chief Executive Officer will respond within 30 days days of receiving the written request.
Complaints to the Health Complaints Commissioner
We take complaints seriously and aim to resolve them quickly and fairly.
If you remain dissatisfied with our response, you may contact the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC). The HCC responds to complaints about health services and the handling of health information in Victoria.
Their service is free, confidential and impartial. To lodge a complaint with the HCC:
Fill out a complaint form online at hcc.vic.gov.au or phone 1300 582 113 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday to discuss your complaint.