Complaints Procedure

St Kilda Legal Service is committed to ensuring that any person or organisation using SKLS services or affected by its operations has the right to lodge a complaint and to have their concerns addressed in ways that ensure access and equity, fairness, accountability and transparency.

SKLS will provide a complaints procedure that:

  • is simple and easy to use
  • is effectively communicated to all clients and stakeholders
  • ensures complaints are fairly assessed and responded to promptly
  • is procedurally fair and follows principles of natural justice
  • complies with legislative requirements.

Principles

SKLS will:

  • acknowledge all complaints it receives
  • treat all complainants with respect, recognising that the issue of complaint is important to the complainant
  • maintain confidentiality of parties involved
  • keep parties to the complaint informed of progress of the complaint
  • ensure that a complainant is not penalised in any way or prevented from use of services during the progress of an issue
  • ensure that feedback data (both positive and negative) is considered in organisational reviews and in planning service improvements
  • ensure that staff and volunteers are given information about the complaints procedure as part of their induction and are aware of procedures for managing client feedback and complaints.

Procedure

Making a complaint

  • A person wishing to make a complaint may do so in writing or verbally to the Principal Lawyer. If the complaint is about the Principal Lawyer, the complaint should be made to the Chair of the Board.
  • Written complaints may be sent by mail or email to the Principal Lawyer. The Principal Lawyer will then advice the Chair of the Board of the complaint.

Procedure for complaints management

The person managing the complaint will be responsible for:

  1. Processing the complaint:
    1. registering the complaint in the complaints register
    2. informing the complainant that their complaint has been received and providing them with information about the process and time frame.
  2. Investigating the complaint:
    1. examining the complaint within a reasonable time of the complaint being received
    2. investigating the complaint and deciding what needs to be done
    3. informing the complainant within a reasonable time of the complaint being received of what is being done to investigate and resolve it, and the expected time frame for resolution.
  3. Resolving the complaint:
    1. making a decision within a reasonable time of the complaint being received and informing the complainant of the outcome:
      1. – upheld (and if so what will be done to resolve it)
      2. – resolved (and how this has been achieved); or
      3.  if no further action can be taken, the reasons for this.
    2. Informing the complainant of any options for further action if required.

Record keeping

The register will be maintained by the Principal Lawyer and Chair of the Board and will record the following for each complaint:

    • Date lodged
    • Category of complainant
    • Nature of complaint
    • Status of complaint
    • Outcome
    • Complainant advised
    • Any further action.

Copies of all correspondence will be kept electronically.
The complaints register and files will be confidential and access is restricted to the Principal Lawyer and Chair of the Board.

Depending on the nature of the complaint, complaints can also be made to:

  • Office of the Australia Information Commissioner – Website: www.oaic.gov.au – Phone: 1300 363 992

CLIENTS FROM DIVERSE CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC BACKGROUNDS

SKLS recognises that clients have diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and that, for some people, this may limit the ease or confidence with which they are able utilise feedback and complaints procedures.

SKLS will seek to prevent and/or address disadvantage which may be encountered by service users in providing feedback or making complaints through:

  • Where possible, having relevant documents translated in other languages
  • Assisting clients to access interpreter services as required
  • Encouraging clients to obtain assistance and support from other relevant organisations and individuals
  • Incorporating flexibility into feedback and complaints processes where this may be required