Who we are
The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner is an independent, specialist body established under the Mental Health Act (the Act) to safeguard rights, resolve complaints about Victorian public mental health services, and recommend improvements.
What we do
- We help people to speak up about their concerns by supporting them to make a complaint directly to their public mental health service or to us.
- We work to address people’s concerns and complaints through informal and formal resolution approaches.
- We make recommendations for service and system improvements and use our investigation and compliance powers to effect change.
- We help Victorian public mental health services to develop accessible and responsive resolution approaches for addressing concerns and complaints.
- We receive and analyse reports from public mental health services about the complaints they receive and the outcomes of these complaints.
- We can also undertake investigations into any matter relating to Victoria’s public mental health services, as requested by the Minister for Mental Health.
- We carry out these functions to safeguard people’s rights and improve mental health services.
How we work
- We uphold the principles of the Act in all aspects of our work.
- We safeguard and promote people’s rights and wellbeing.
- We aim to resolve complaints in ways that support people’s recovery and improve services.
- We value the lived experience of consumers, families and carers and work collaboratively with them.
- We believe all experiences can contribute to improving services, and we work with public mental health services to support and effect positive changes.
- We work strategically to increase our reach and impact.
Section 228 of the Act gives the Commissioner the following key functions:
- to accept, assess, manage and investigate complaints relating to public mental health services
- to attempt to resolve complaints in a timely manner using formal and informal dispute resolution (including conciliation) as appropriate
- to provide advice on any matter relating to a complaint
- to make the procedure for making complaints in relation to services available and accessible, including publishing material about the complaint procedure
- to provide information, education and advice to services about their responsibilities in managing complaints
- to help consumers and people acting on their behalf, or who have a genuine interest in their wellbeing, to resolve complaints directly with services, either before or after the Commissioner accepts the complaint
- to help services improve policies and procedures to resolve complaints
- to identify, analyse and review quality, safety and other issues arising out of complaints and make recommendations for improvements to services, the Chief Psychiatrist, the Secretary and the Minister
- to investigate and report on any matter relating to services at the request of the Minister.
The MHCC has broad powers to deal with complaints in relation to designated mental health services and publicly funded mental health community support services.
To strengthen oversight, the Act also introduced the requirement for all public mental health services to provide a twice-yearly report to the MHCC detailing the number of complaints they have received and the outcomes of those complaints. Read more here.