Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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Why complain?

There can be many reasons you might complain, including:

  • Receiving poor quality service
  • Being treated rudely or unfairly
  • Having your privacy breached
  • Poor accessibility

Complaining gives the other person or service the chance to find out about the problem in order to fix it or improve what they are doing.


Who should I complain to?

Usually it’s best to start with the person you are having the problem with, then work up the chain.

Don’t forget that you are entitled to support throughout a complaint process. This could be from a family member, friend or advocate.

Talk to the person or people involved.
If you have no success then…

Talk to the person’s supervisor or manager.
If you have no success then…

Check who is more senior and talk to them. 
You might do this by checking policies, asking those you’ve already spoken with, or asking others for advice


How should I make my complaint?

  1. Identify your issue/s
  2. Do your research
  3. Find out how to complain
  4. Make your complaint
  5. Keep records
  6. Take it further if needed

1. Identify your issue

Be clear about what has happened and what you want done about it.  Use the ‘Self-advocacy Step-by-Step Plan’ (2.3) to help this process.


2. Do your research

Do they have any policies that might support your complaint? Are there any laws, standards or human rights which might apply?

Find this out by looking on their website or asking others who might know.

3. Find out how to complain

Find out what the complaint process is for the organisation, company or department. Do this by asking or looking on their website.

They may have a form for complaints that you can request or download.


4. Make your complaint

Write out a draft (practice) complaint. Be sure to keep to the issues you identified.  Have someone you trust read through it and give feedback before you send it. Make sure it is clear and stick to the point.

You might choose to complain by (see information sheets for more):

Using a complaint form

Making a Phone Call  (3.2)

Writing a Letter (3.4)

Writing an Email (3.3)

5. Keep records

Keep copies and notes of everything. You may need to know details at a later date and will be able to refer to your notes.  Keep them together in a safe place


6. Take it further if needed

If you are not happy with the result of your complaint you may be able to take it further. There might be an external complaint process (outside the service, or department) or an appeal process. 

It is likely you will receive a written response to your complaint, and should be told what the next steps are if you are not happy.  If not consider asking an advocacy agency or other people who may be able to help.