Your complaint journey - our complaints process

The steps we take when you make a complaint to the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC) are as follows:

Step 1

When you call us or send  a written complaint about a Victorian public mental health service our first step is to talk with you. We will make sure we understand your concerns and what you would like to achieve. If your complaint is about someone else’s experience we usually need to seek their consent to the complaint: Is the complaint about your experience, or someone else’s?

Step 2

If we can, we will help you to resolve your concerns quickly. For example, by speaking with a staff member at the service about your complaint if you agree.

Step 3

If we can’t resolve your concerns quickly we will talk to you further about your options. We will also consider whether:

  • we should refer you to a more appropriate organisation to consider your concerns
  • we have already assisted you with a complaint that raised the same or similar issues
  • it is unlikely that the MHCC can achieve the outcomes you are seeking

Step 4

If you have not yet made your complaint in writing, we will help you to do so. We usually confirm in writing whether we can deal with your complaint within 20 working days of receiving it. We may take longer if we need to ask you or the service for more information to make our decision.  

Step 5

If we can take your complaint forward, we can do one or more of the following to help resolve it:

  • help you to talk to the service directly about your complaint/concerns
  • seek a response from the service about the concerns you have raised, answers to specific questions and any actions taken by the service
  • arrange a meeting with you and the service to discuss what happened, how to resolve the complaint and what will happen next
  • provide advice and recommendations to the service to improve the situation for you and others, such as about its practice, processes or training 
  • arrange a conciliation process (which the service must agree to) – the Commissioner may recommend conciliation if there is a basis for seeking compensation based on legal advice
  • seek an undertaking from a service to take actions where there has been a breach of the person's rights or the requirements of the Mental Health Act 2014
  • formally investigate the complaint – the Commissioner only investigates a complaint if it has broad implications for the public and it is appropriate to make findings about what happened.

For the positive outcomes that can result from people’s complaints about Victorian public mental health services find the 4As of complaint resolution. Before we close a complaint, we will always consider the views of the people involved in making it.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint

We will do our best to resolve your concerns but are not always able to do so. If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can make a complaint about the MHCC to the Victorian Ombudsman or seek legal advice about other options to address your concerns. 

Reviewed 14 April 2021

Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC)

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