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Topic 4: Complaints and Incident Management

Complaints and incidents are managed well when NDIS Providers respond promptly and appropriately and engage NDIS Participants in open and honest communication.

Topic Overview

Complaints and incident management are closely related – a complaint could identify an incident that has occurred, and an incident may lead to a complaint being made.

Complaints

A complaint is an expression of unhappiness made to a business, about their services, staff or the handling of a complaint.

Anyone can make a complaint about services or supports provided by an NDIS Provider – to the NDIS Provider or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. All Registered NDIS providers must have a complaints management and resolution system in place to ensure people can easily make a complaint, and that all complaints will be treated fairly and quickly. Complaints made directly to NDIS Providers can be made to any staff member, however it is usually best to complaint to a Team Leader, Manager or someone else who has seniority in the business. NDIS Participants and NDIS Providers can both complain or share a concern about NDIS services or supports with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Complaints are a vital aspect of service delivery, as they highlight problems and issues impacting people with disability. Making a complaint can lead to improved services and communication and sometimes to changes to policies and procedures, as well as the way NDIS Providers deliver services.

Incident Management

All Registered NDIS providers must have an incidents management system in place to respond to, record and manage incidents. The incident management system must include procedures for identifying, assessing, recording, managing, resolving and reporting incidents.

Adhering to the requirements of the NDIS Code of Conduct and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s Reportable Incidents Guidance will ensure NDIS Providers respond to all incidents in accordance with the required processes and timeframes, to support NDIS Participants’ safety and wellbeing.

What this means for...

  • Participants
  • Providers

Participants

It is important for NDIS Participants to understand how they can make a complaint about the supports and services they receive and that they are supported in their right to make a complaint to their NDIS Provider or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. It is also important for NDIS Participants to understand how providers respond to and manage incidents, so they are aware of and can speak up about their rights to safety and wellbeing.

Participant FAQs

How do I make a complaint about my NDIS Provider?

For information about making a complaint about your NDIS Provider, review the resources below and visit ‘How to make a complaint about a provider’ on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s website.

How do I make a complaint about the National Disability Insurance Agency?

For information about making a complaint or giving feedback about your experience with the National Disability Insurance Agency, visit ‘Feedback and complaints’ on the NDIS website.

Can I report complaints or incidents that have happened in the past?

Generally, yes. While it’s best to report straight away, complaints and incidents can be reported at any time to NDIS Providers and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. The only exception is where the events happened before the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission started operating in your state or territory.

I need some support making a complaint or dealing with an incident - who can help me?

The Department of Social Services ‘Disability Advocacy Finder’ can assist you to find an advocate in your area. Simply type in your postcode and a list of advocacy services in your area will be generated. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission also has a range of ‘Speak Up’ resources you may find useful.

Participant Resources

  • Factsheet: The NDIS Complaints Process

    This factsheet has been developed through a co-design process with NDIS Participants. This factsheet is designed to be an easy reference to support them to understand the NDIS Complaints Process.

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  • Factsheet: The NDIS Incident Management Process

    This factsheet has been developed through a co-design process with NDIS Participants. It is designed to be an easy reference to support them to understand the NDIS Incident Management Process.

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    Please select the following fact sheet:

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  • Factsheet: What you Need to Know about Advocacy in the NDIS

    This factsheet has been developed through a co-design process with NDIS Participants. This factsheet is designed to be an easy reference for NDIS Participants to understand the role and responsibilities that an informal advocate has including when they work with them through a complaints or incident process.

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  • Infographic: The NDIS Complaints Process

    This resource has been developed through a co-design process with NDIS Participants. It can be used as a poster or flyer for NDIS Participants and summarises the NDIS complaints process. It includes information on how an advocate can support NDIS Participants through the complaints process.

    Download Files:

    Please select from the following 2 posters:

    Download A3 Download A4
  • Infographic: Understanding Advocacy in the NDIS Complaints Process

    This resource has been developed through a co-design process with NDIS Participants. It can be used as a poster or flyer for NDIS Participants and provides further detail about advocacy in the NDIS complaints process.

    Download Files:

    Please select from the following 2 posters:

    Download A3 Download A4
  • Infographic: The NDIS Incident Management Process

    This infographic can be used as a poster or flyer for NDIS Participants and summarises the NDIS incident management process. It includes information on how an advocate can support NDIS Participants through an incident.

    Download Files:

    Please select from the following 2 posters:

    Download A3 Download A4

Providers

All NDIS Providers are required to promptly address any concerns that may impact the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services. This includes responding to complaints raised and dealing with and responding to any incidents that occur. Registered NDIS Providers are required to have an incident management and complaints management and resolution system in place. It is best practice for unregistered NDIS Providers to have these also.

Both of these systems should be developed, maintained and implemented with the specific intention of supporting the delivery of safe and high-quality supports and services for NDIS Participants.

Provider FAQs

How can I develop an appropriate incident management system?

Visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s website for helpful factsheets and guidance to assist you in developing and improving your incident management systems.

What is a Reportable Incident?

Reportable Incidents are incidents that must be reported by Registered NDIS Providers to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. They include the death, serious injury, abuse or neglect of a person with disability and the unauthorised use of restrictive practices. Further information about reportable incidents is provided in ‘Incident management and reportable incidents (NDIS Participants)’ on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website.

How can I best handle a complaint as an NDIS Provider?

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission provides information about key principles and good practices for effective complaints management in the ‘Complaints management’ section of its website.

Provider Resources

  • Infographic: Responding To and Managing Complaints

    Available in A4 and A3 size, this poster has been developed as a quick guide to support NDIS Providers to respond to and manage complaints in a manner that aligns with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s requirements. It can be displayed in service delivery environments as an easy reference for staff.

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    Please select from the following 2 posters:

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  • Infographic: Immediate Incident Response

    Available in A4 and A3 size, this poster has been designed to quickly guide NDIS Providers through an incident response, immediately after it has occurred. It can be displayed in service delivery environments as an easy reference for staff.

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    Please select from the following 2 posters:

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  • Poster: Reportable Incident Timeframes

    Available in A4 and A3 size, this poster has been developed to be an easy reference guide for NDIS Providers and their staff around the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s required timeframes for lodging a Reportable Incident. It can be displayed in service delivery environments as an easy reference for staff.

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    Please select from the following 2 posters:

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  • Examples: Examples of Good and Poor Incident Reports

    These resources provide practical examples of how incident reports should and should not be completed by staff. They highlight the importance of providing thorough details of an incident while using objective language that respects NDIS Participants’ dignity and privacy. They can be used as a training and reflection resource for staff.

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    Please select from the following 2 fact sheets:

    Good Example Poor Example
  • Factsheet: Don't Forget Your Staff!

    This factsheet provides an overview of NDIS Providers’ responsibilities when dealing with complaints made by and incidents involving staff. Having processes in place to manage these situations are just as important as having processes for complaints and incidents involving NDIS Participants.

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  • What does Complaints and Incident Management look like in Everyday Practice from an NDIS Provider's Perspective?

    This video examines complaints and incident management in NDIS Providers’ everyday practice.

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  • Why are Complaints and Incident Management Important?

    This video looks at why effective complaints and incident management are important to NDIS Providers.

  • Watch video: Why are Complaints and Incident Management Important?