How to manage complaints as an NDIS provider 

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People with disabilities have the right to complain about poor or unsatisfactory services, and the NDIS encourages them to do so. 

You must have a complaints policy and a mechanism in place to record and address the potential participants’ complaints as a registered service provider.  

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission handles complaint resolution for all providers, for small businesses to large corporations. 

Addressing complaints often brings positive results for all the involved parties, in some cases policies and procedures are adjusted where in some new suggestions for service improvement are introduced. 

But as a NDIS provider how can you effectively manage complaints? 

The way a service provider handles complaints can have an impact on its reputation. Poorly handled complaints can reflect negatively on the organisation and reinforce inefficient business processes. 

The four A’s of Complaint Resolution 

Acknowledging the complaint helps you set the tone for the rest of the process and send out a strong message that speaking-up is worthwhile. It’s important to recognise and understand the impact of the experience. Recognising their rights and what should have happened in a given situation is also important. 

People need to know why something happened or did not happen, or why a particular decision was made. The information should be provided in a manner that is readily understood. Providers also need to make sure that the answers are meaningful and encourage people involved to ask additional questions if needed.

There is a need to take steps to address any concerns, to change or improve the experience and/or treatment. The actions taken to address the issues in the past should give reassurance that similar issues are less likely to happen again in the future. 

A meaningful apology does not need to be fancy or over-the-top; it just needs to be genuine. This last step typically entails all the 3 A’s, acknowledgement, answer and actions by the service provider. A poorly given apology can make the situation worse, whereas an appropriate response at this stage can help in restoring peoples’ trust in the service. 

It’s important you have a good system in place to reflect on the complaints process and outcomes associated to it. An ideal complaint management system can provide you with the tools to check-in with the person who made the complaint to get their feedback on how the process was for them. 

Facing a complaint can be uncomfortable at times. If you attempt to view it from a different perspective, you’ll know that it helps you evaluate the quality of your services and gives you the motivation for continuous improvement. 

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