We work to resolve complaints in ways that: 

  • safeguard rights, promoting awareness of people’s rights and compliance with Victoria's Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) and Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 
  • support recovery, ensuring people feel heard and respected and are confident that their concerns have been taken seriously and that their views and preferences have been appropriately considered
  • improve services, ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Act and the mental health principles and identifying opportunities to improve services 
  • improve individual experiences, providing a person centred process that works to reduce fears and build the confidence and relationships needed for a person to raise complaints directly with the service
  • aim to prevent a recurrence of issues, for the individual concerned or for others.

The Act gives us flexibility to work with the person on the most appropriate approach to resolve their complaint.

Options for dealing with complaints include:

  • assisting people to raise their concerns directly with the service 
  • using informal and formal dispute resolution processes (including reviewing service responses, facilitating meetings, and seeking and confirming actions to address identified issues)
  • providing advice and recommendations to services
  • referring the complaint for conciliation
  • investigating matters, seeking formal undertakings from services and issuing compliance notices, where appropriate.

Wherever possible, we promote the early resolution of complaints between the person and the service. We support the person and the service to work together to gain a mutual understanding of the issues and reach agreement on ways in which these can be addressed and resolved. 

In resolving complaints, we are guided by 

  • the rights and requirements under the Act, with a particular focus on the mental health principles 
  • our principles  
  • recovery-oriented approaches
  • best practice approaches in complaint handling and investigations
  • ongoing feedback from those involved in our processes. 

We work with services to develop ways to effectively respond to complaints, and to take into account the ‘Four As’ of complaint resolution: acknowledgement, answers, action and apology. 

We aim to ensure services implement any agreed actions to address individual concerns or improve the services they provide, and record these as outcomes of complaints. 

We also use our powers under the Act to obtain responses from services on risk and safeguarding issues, to investigate matters and provide recommendations to services for addressing quality and safety issues identified in complaints.