Feedback Policy

How ACSO handles feedback, compliments and complaints

ACSO is committed to having a culture where feedback is welcomed, recorded and appropriately responded to. ACSO views feedback as a valuable tool that supports meaningful communication with our clients and stakeholders and helps them feel heard and valued. It helps us maintain and continue to build transparent and positive relationships. Feedback lets us know what we're doing well, what our gaps are and what we could do better. Feedback is used for ongoing evaluation to assist in formulating informed decisions relating to best practice for continuous improvement across ACSO, from local to executive level. 

 

If you would like to provide feedback to ACSO, you can contact ACSO’s Feedback Response Team via: 

 

Email: feedbackresponseofficer@acso.org.au  

Mail: 1 Hoddle Street, 

             Richmond, VIC 3121 

 

If you would like to read more about Feedback at ACSO, please download ACSO’s Feedback Policy here.  

Introduction

ACSO is committed to having a culture where feedback is welcomed, recorded and appropriately responded to. ACSO views feedback as a valuable tool that supports meaningful communication with our clients and stakeholders and helps them feel heard and valued. It helps us maintain and continue to build transparent and positive relationships. Feedback lets us know what we're doing well, what our gaps are and what we could do better. Feedback is used for ongoing evaluation to assist in formulating informed decisions relating to best practice for continuous improvement across ACSO, from local to executive level.  

Purpose and Scope

This policy provides information to employees, clients and other external stakeholders regarding the submission and management of client and external stakeholder feedback and improvement requests. This policy to all external feedback provided in relation to ACSO’s processes. 

This policy does not apply to feedback related to other organisations or to ACSO’s funding bodies. The person providing the feedback will be referred to the relevant external organisation to provide their feedback. This policy also does not apply to ACSO employees who wish to provide feedback related to ACSO processes and/or other employees. These are dealt with under the People & Culture processes. 

Guiding Principles 

ACSO’s feedback framework is underpinned by 5 guiding principles: 

  1.  Fairness and Objectivity: We treat all feedback fairly, with integrity and in an objective and impartial manner.   

  2. Accessibility and Visibility: We ensure this feedback policy is made available to external stakeholders and that providing feedback is possible through easily accessible means. 

  3. Responsiveness: We acknowledge and resolve all feedback in a timely and people-focused manner. 

  4. Accountability: We take responsibility for our behaviours, actions and outcomes    

  5. Human Dignity: People from all backgrounds, including those with a disability, have equal rights to pursue a grievance and all people providing feedback will be treated with respect. 

When feedback is received, all employees will act in accordance with ACSO’s feedback guiding principles and ACSO’s core values

Definitions 

Feedback may be verbal or written and is any comment/suggestion, information or concern raised by a client, external agency, stakeholder and visitor that is positive, negative or identifies where ACSO can improve. 
 

Positive feedback is an expression of praise, thanks, admiration, or commendation (above and beyond a general thank you), relating to the behaviour/actions of an ACSO employee in relation to services ACSO has provided or in relation to ACSO’s services generally, which may lead to a positive outcome for the client.  
 

Area for improvement is an idea, suggestion or plan that is put forward for ACSO’s consideration relating to how a program or service could be done better or more effectively. 
 

Negative feedback is an expression of dissatisfaction, grievance or concern related to ACSO’s services,employees ,or the complaints handling process itself.  Negative feedback may: 

i. have a negative impact on ACSO’s reputation; or 

ii. Be criticism/concern regarding how a program is set-up/delivered, and where a response/action/change/review is required by ACSO. 
 

Complaint: A form of negative feedback where the client or external stakeholder explicitly expresses their desire or intent to make a complaint about ACSO’s services, processes or employees. 
 

Resolution Officer: The ACSO employee assigned to respond and manage the feedback to resolution.
 

Feedback Response Officer: An ACSO employee appointed to monitor adherence with ACSO’s Feedback Management Framework. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

ACSO Board

  • Accountable for ensuring that the organisation has an effective feedback management system. 
     

ACSO Executive and Senior leadership team

  • Promoting the rights of clients and/or their representative to provide feedback, including complaints 

  • Ensuring that all stakeholders are informed of the internal and external feedback management processes and how to access them 

  • Reporting on feedback raised through their services 

  • In consultation with the Feedback Response Officer, assisting in responding to feedback about ACSO services, with reference to the Feedback Matrix, and making recommendations and providing advice to the CEO and where necessary the Board and Board Committees 

  • Where appropriate, supporting the person providing feedback through any investigation and resolution process 

  • Ensuring that clients and stakeholders who provide feedback continue to receive services that are no less favourable than before the raising of feedback 

  • Ensuring that all feedback is acknowledged and recorded on the RiskMan database as soon as practicable 

  • Reviewing and reporting feedback trends to the senior leadership team 

  • Using trend data to identify and act upon opportunities for service improvements 

The Feedback Response Officer (Manager Quality and Risk)
Responsible for monitoring and reviewing external feedback received about ACSO services which includes: 

  • Providing consultation to feedback investigators regarding the feedback process and expected time frames

  • Assessing, in conjunction with Senior Managers, the feedback against the Feedback Matrix to determine appropriate responses e.g. should feedback be investigated by internal or external parties 

  • Ensuring feedback is responded to according to Feedback and Complaint Resolution Policy 

  • Leading any response to feedback about ACSO services determined by the Feedback Matrix to be in scope of this position, making recommendations and providing advice to the CEO and where necessary the Board and Board Committees. 

All employees 

  • Ensuring that clients are aware of their right to provide feedback and make a complaint and how to access internal and external feedback systems 

  • Ensuring that all external feedback received is reported and recorded promptly 

  • If necessary and appropriate, assisting a client to provide feedback or assisting in facilitating an independent third party to assist 

  • Ensuring that the privacy, confidentiality and dignity of the person providing feedback is maintained. 

Board Policy implementation guidelines 
 

Types of feedback 

ACSO can receive different types of feedback, which may be positive feedback, areas for improvement, negative feedback or a complaint. Feedback may be provided to any ACSO employee either verbally or in writing, in person, via telephone, email or SMS, through letter or by completing a feedback form (hard copy and digital) or via ACSO social media. 

Recording of feedback

Feedback within the scope of this policy will be documented in ACSO’s Feedback register in RiskMan. This will enable ACSO to review and identity any trends, issues or opportunities for improvement, and for auditing by funding and accreditation bodies. 

The feedback record will include at a minimum: 

  • The person’s details (noting requests for anonymity) 

  • The date of contact (to establish response time frames) 

  • The type of feedback (to establish specific feedback process) 

  • The action/outcome sought by the person (for example, an apology or explanation) 

  • Any other information required to effectively respond to the matter (For example file notes of interviews and correspondence) 
     

Employees who receive feedback are responsible for completing a feedback record in RiskMan within two business days of receiving it. 

 

Reporting of feedback

ACSO is required to report on the type of feedback received, together with any associated actions and outcomes, to external stakeholders such as NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commissioner, Disability Services Commissioner and Mental Health Complaints Commissioner. Internally, the data is reported to ACSO’s Board members, Executive and Senior Leadership. All RiskMan feedback records must comply with section 6.2 of this policy, ‘Recording of feedback’, to allow ACSO to effectively manage and resolve feedback, and to meet the standards of stakeholder feedback reporting obligations. 

 

Privacy 

ACSO handles all feedback in accordance with the requirements of ACSO’s Privacy Policy and Procedures. 

ACSO treats all feedback as confidential unless consent is given to disclose it, as necessary. When ACSO receives feedback, it may be necessary to reveal certain details that may identify the person providing feedback, in order to undertake an investigation. In these cases, ACSO will endeavour to make the person providing feedback aware that they may be identified in order to properly investigate the information provided. 

ACSO will only collect, use and disclose feedback where it is necessary to do so in accordance to the Australian Privacy Principles and ACSO’s privacy policy. Any feedback containing personal information will be stored securely in RiskMan to prevent its loss, misuse or unauthorised access or disclosure. 

Feedback may be provided to ACSO anonymously, however this may limit the way ACSO is able to consider and respond to it. 

 

Procedure 

Feedback management process 

ACSO has a three-level approach to feedback management. 
 

Stage 1 - Early Resolution or Low to Moderate Risk

  1. Positive feedback and suggested areas of improvement require an immediate acknowledgement upon receipt and no further response, unless requested. Suggested areas of improvement should be reviewed and considered by the relevant leader upon receipt. 

  2. Feedback comprises of complaints and negative feedback and requires immediate acknowledgement by the employee receiving the feedback. Where practicable, employees should aim for a speedy resolution, for example whilst acknowledging receipt of the feedback. For example, by discussion, explanation or apology. Where this is not practicable, the employee can refer it to their team leader or manager for speedy resolution. 

  3. Regardless of whether immediate resolution is achieved, the employee in receipt of the feedback must notify their leader of the feedback within 1 business day and enter the feedback in RiskMan within 2 business days. 

  4.  Where resolution is achieved and the person providing the feedback requests notification of the outcome, the outcome must be provided verbally within 20 business days of receipt of feedback. 

  5. If the feedback provider remains dissatisfied following this initial attempt for resolution and requests that the matter be escalated, the feedback will be treated as a complaint and proceed to stage 2, as outlined below. 

 
 

Stage 2 - Internal Escalation or High to Extreme Risk

  1. Feedback in Stage 2 is feedback that has been escalated from Stage 1 due to dissatisfaction with the outcome or it has been assessed as a high to extreme risk upon receipt. 

  2. Where feedback has not been escalated from stage 1, the employee who received the feedback should notify their leader of the feedback within 1 business day and enter the feedback in RiskMan within 2 business days.  

  3. Upon being informed of the feedback, the Feedback Response Officer and the relevant Program’s Senior Manager (or authorised delegate), will meet to review the feedback against the Risk Matrix  and will determine a response plan within two business days of the receipt of the feedback.  A Resolution Officer will be assigned. Conflict of interests’ issues will be taken into consideration when assigning the Resolution Officer. In cases where the person providing the feedback does not require a response, action plans must still be undertaken. 

  4. The Resolution Officer will provide a formal letter of acknowledgement to the complainant within five business days of the feedback being received, using the approved templates. 

  5. Following completion of an Action Plan, the Resolution Officer will consult with senior leadership to discuss concerns and findings in order to develop appropriate recommendations and/or course of action, which once agreed,  must be documented in the feedback report upon completion. 

  6. The Resolution Officer will determine an outcome and notify the person providing the feedback within 20 business days unless there are exceptional circumstances. If a complaint is not resolved within 20 business days, the Resolution Officer must inform the complainant of progress. 

  7. If, following the proposed resolution and outcome, the complainant or the respondent is dissatisfied, they may request an internal review (grievances) of the outcome and proceed to Stage 3. (i) 
     

Investigations

In stages 1 and stage 2, when feedback relates to an allegation and a fact-finding process is required, an investigation may occur as part of the response plan. Depending on the severity and nature of the feedback, an informal or a formal investigation may be undertaken. The outcome of the investigation must occur within 20 business days of the receipt of the feedback If an investigation is not resolved within 20 business days, the Resolution Officer must inform the complainant of progress.  

Where an investigation is required, an investigator will be assigned, who may be a Senior Manager, People and Culture, the Feedback Response Officer or a combination of the above. In Stage 2, consideration can be given to engaging an external party to undertake the investigation.   

 

Investigations Grievances/Reviews 

  1.  If the person providing the feedback or the client or employee subjected to the feedback (the respondent) is not satisfied with the resolution or outcome of feedback investigated by ACSO, grievances can be raised with external organisations and bodies such as the Disability Services Commissioner. 

  2. The person providing the feedback or the respondent can also request an internal review if they are dissatisfied with the resolution or outcome of the investigation. 

  3. Internal review requests must be lodged using the Request for Investigation Review form to the Feedback Response Officer within 20 days of being notified of the outcome/feedback resolution. 

  4. Internal reviews will only be made on the grounds of lack of procedural fairness. Procedural fairness is a principle of law relating to how the investigation or resolution process was conducted.  It does not look at the outcome.  Therefore, an internal review won’t be granted because the complainant or  the respondent disagree with the outcome or resolution. 

  5. The request for review must clearly identify why the person believes procedural fairness was not applied in the way ACSO handled the matter and provide any relevant supporting information or evidence. 

  6. The Feedback Response Officer or delegate and Company Secretary will review the request and make a decision of whether a review is required. The Feedback Response Officer will acknowledge the request for a review within 10 business days. If the Feedback Response Officer grants the request for review, the review will be conducted by an experienced ACSO employee who was not involved in the original investigation of the complaint. The review should be completed within 20 business days where practicable. Where it is not possible to meet this time frame, the review officer will communicate this to the person requesting the review. 

  7. The review officer may: 

-        uphold the decision of the original investigator 

-        change the decision of the original investigator 

-        send the matter back to the original investigator or another investigator for further investigation or better explanation. 

 8. The review officer will inform the person requesting the review of the review outcome. Once an internal review has been completed, ACSO will not conduct any further reviews of the complaint. 

 

This policy will be reviewed at least every two years. ACSO reserves the right to change the terms of this Feedback Policy from time to time, without notice.  

The Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) proudly acknowledges Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and their rich culture and pays respect to their Elders past, present.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s 
first peoples and as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely.

We embrace the spirit of reconciliation, working towards equality of outcomes and ensuring an equal voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, including those who have come in contact with the justice system.

The Australian Community Support Organisation recognises the right to a safe and inclusive service without bias. ACSO is committed to the equitable treatment of its participants, employees and partners. We believe in humanity and celebrating the diverse voices of our community through leadership, practice and policy design, to honour and embrace diverse traditions, cultures and experiences of those we support and work alongside.

ACSO acknowledges funding from the Victorian, New South Wales & Queensland State Governments and Federal Government.

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