Disability service complaints

On , the Western Australian Government and the Commonwealth Government announced a new agreement to bring Western Australia into the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). From , the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) assumed responsibility for the delivery of the NDIS in Western Australia. The NDIS continues to be rolled out on a geographical basis and will be operating across all of Western Australia by .

A new independent body, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has been established and will be responsible for receiving complaints about service providers under the NDIS in Western Australia from .

In the meantime, HaDSCO continues to be responsible for receiving and resolving complaints about disability services. This includes disability services provided to individuals who have NDIS plans through the NDIA, for individuals who have transferred from WA NDIS to the NDIS, and for individuals who continue to receive services through the State Government or its contracted service providers.

HaDSCO cannot deal with complaints about access to NDIS, an NDIS plan or the funding allocated under a plan. Contact the NDIA by telephoning 1800 800 110 for complaints about NDIS planning and funding.

Need more information

Read our resource:

Complaints about disability services (PDF 147KB)

Making a complaint to HaDSCO

This section includes details about:

How to make a complaint and links to an online complaints form

What information is required when lodging a complaint

Who can make a complaint

What can be complained about

Time limitations

View the HaDSCO Brochure (PDF 279KB) and Helpful tips: raising a complaint information sheet (PDF 398KB).

How to make a complaint

In order to raise a complaint, first read the information on this page. Information supplied here outlines who/what can be complained about and when. Once familiarised with this information, either:

Completing a complaint form

Complaints must be lodged in writing, unless there is a good reason why this is not possible. It is recommended, where possible, to utilise the HaDSCO Complaint form as it provides an easy to follow format.

Complete a complaint form online

Download a complaint form (PDF)

It is important to note that an assessment of information provided cannot commence until a complaint form is completed and submitted to HaDSCO or a written complaint is received with signed authorisation statements.

Each section of the complaint form requires specific information that is important to the resolution of the complaint. Please ensure forms lodged to HaDSCO are completed in full. This will ensure our staff are equipped with all the information required.

For help completing the form, contact HaDSCO

HaDSCO, by law, is required to consult with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) when complaints relate to a registered health professional. This will determine which agency is the most appropriate to deal with the complaint.

Preparing a written complaint

If a complaint form cannot be completed, please submit a complaint in writing. Ensure the following information is provided.

  • The name and date of birth of the person who received the service
  • The name, date of birth and contact details of the person making the complaint
  • If relevant the relationship between the person who received the service and the person who is lodging the complaint (the person lodging the complaint cannot be paid to make the complaint)
  • The name and contact details of the person or organisation who provided the service
  • The date the service was provided
  • Details of any attempt that has already been made to try and resolve the complaint
  • Details of the complaint
  • The desired outcomes and what is hoped to be achieved by making the complaint
  • Information collected for de-identified statistical use as set out on the complaint form

Ensure any complaint submitted to HaDSCO includes the following authorisation statement. This statement must be signed and dated.

‘I, _______________________________________, authorise the Director of the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) to access information relating to this complaint, discuss this complaint with a relevant organisation and to send a copy of my complaint to the service provider and/or any other relevant organisation.’

Signature: _______________________________________ Date:               /           /

Who can make a complaint

A complaint may be lodged by:

  • The person who received the service
  • A relative, representative or carer
  • A recognised advocate of the person who received the service
  • A carer, about a failure to comply with the Carers Charter as set out in the Carers Recognition Act 2004

Complaints can also be directly accepted from carers when a provider has failed to comply with the Carers Charter. Read more about the Carers Recognition Act (external site) and making a complaint as a carer.

HaDSCO accepts complaints about any disability service provider. This includes public or private organisations, public authorities providing disability services and the services provided through the Department of Communities.

What can be complained about

Disability services are defined as any services provided specifically for people with disabilities, such as:

  • Accommodation
  • In-home support
  • Respite services (in-home and residential)
  • Therapy services
  • Employment services
  • Day activities
  • Recreation and leisure services
  • Advocacy services

Complaints can include allegations that a disability service provider or the Department of Communities has acted unreasonably:

  • by refusing to provide a service
  • by providing a service that should not have been provided
  • in the manner of providing a service
  • by denying or restricting the consumer's access to records
  • by breaching confidentiality
  • by charging an excessive fee
  • by not dealing effectively with a complaint
  • by failing to comply with the Carers Charter
  • by failing to comply with the Disability Services Standards or failing to ensure that those standards were met by service providers.

If a complaint raises issues that would be better dealt with by a professional registration Board, the Director may, with the written consent of the complainant, refer the complaint to the appropriate Board.

Time limitations

Under section 24 of the Health and Disability Services (Complaints) Act 1995 (WA), you must bring your complaint within 24 months of the incident in which you are complaining about, unless you can show good reason for the delay.

You should also be aware that other actions that you may wish to pursue through the court system must be brought within a certain time frame and that time will continue to run while the Director of HaDSCO is considering your complaint. HaDSCO cannot advise you about any legal action that you may be considering.

HaDSCO is generally unable to assist with complaints that have already been determined by a court, registration board or tribunal.

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