Complaints and Feedback

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to explain Southside Justice’s transparent, supportive and positive approach to complaints and feedback handling.

Definitions

Complaint
An expression of dissatisfaction about a service provided by Southside Justice. A complaint does not need to be in writing or include the words ‘complaint’ to be a complaint.

Feedback
Information provided about the quality of a service provided by Southside Justice.

Statement of the policy

People have the right to express dissatisfaction with services operated by Southside Justice and to be offered a timely and fair process for the management and resolution of complaints.

Southside Justice is committed to best practice when handling complaints by ensuring that:

  • Our Complaints Policy is clear for clients and other users of our services
  • Our investigations, decisions and recommendations are transparent, impartial, fair and consistent.
  • We learn from complaints to improve the way we plan and deliver services.
Who can complain and how

Anyone can make a complaint about Southside Justice’s services, including clients, other parties to a legal matter, practitioners, organisations and members of the public.

Complaints can be made:

Verbally
Directly to a staff member or by calling (03) 7037 3200

By email
info@southsidejustice.org.au

Post
118A Carlisle Street, St Kilda Vic 3082.

Note
If the complaint is about the Chief Executive Officer, complaints can be directed to the Chair of the Board.

Accessibility

Southside Justice is committed to making our complaints handling system accessible by:

  • Offering free access to a translation and interpreter service
  • Using the National Relay Service to communicate with people with hearing or speech impairments.
  • Providing information in accessible formats
  • Providing support to people to make a complaint if needed
  • Accepting complaints from a support person where a complainant needs assistance to make a complaint.

Responding to complaints

Early resolution

Where possible, complaints will be resolved at first contact with Southside Justice

Responsiveness

Southside Justice will promptly acknowledge receipt of complaints.

Southside Justice will assess and prioritise complaints in accordance with the urgency and/or seriousness of the issues raised. If a matter concerns an immediate risk to safety or security the response will be immediate and will be escalated appropriately.

Southside Justice is committed to managing people’s expectations, and will inform them as soon as possible, of the following:

  • The complaints process
  • The expected time frames
  • The progress of the complaint and reasons for any delay
  • Their likely involvement in the process, and
  • The possible or likely outcome of their complaint.

Southside Justice will advise people as soon as possible when it is unable to deal with any part of their complaint and provide advice about where such issues and/or complaints may be directed (if known and appropriate).

Southside Justice will also advise people as soon as possible when it is unable to meet time frames for responding to their complaint and the reason for the delay.

Remedies and outcomes

Southside Justice’s Complaint Policy promotes early and practical resolution of complaints. Often, complaints can be managed and resolved early by actively listening to the complainant and finding practical solutions to resolve the matter, including but not limited to:

  • Acknowledgement and/or correction of an error or issue
  • Providing an apology
  • Providing an explanation for the conduct
  • Discussion/training/feedback with the relevant staff member/s
  • Transfer or referral of a matter to another practitioner or service provider, where appropriate and possible
  • Implementation of a system improvement and communication to the complainant about this.
Privacy and confidentiality

Southside Justice protects the personal and sensitive information it collects as part of the complaints process and handles it in accordance with Southside Justice’ Privacy Policy. This means we:

  • Only collect as much personal information as we need to assist in resolving a complaint
  • Use information collected as part of an investigation to resolve the complaint or relevant systemic issue
  • Disclose information about complaint outcomes within Southside Justice to support its continuous improvement measures.
Transparency

Where possible and subject to legal restrictions, Southside Justice takes a transparent approach to complaint-handling.

Unless there is a good reason not to, Southside Justice shares complaints with the person or service complained about and also shares any response with the complainant.

If someone involved in a complaint asks for a copy of a related document Southside Justice holds – such as a file note or internal policy – we provide it, unless disclosure would breach:

  • Client safety
  • Client confidentiality
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.
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