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 FAQ Complaints

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I make a complaint?
There are a number of ways to make a complaint:

Does it cost anything to make a complaint?
No. The process is free.

Can I make a compliment about the Department?
Yes. The Department welcomes feedback and comment about good results.

Can I stop a complaint once it has been made?
Yes. If you decide not to continue with your complaint, you can stop it by contacting the person by telephone or in writing. Tell them you are ‘withdrawing’ the complaint and it will go no further.

Can I complain about an officer of the Department?
Yes. If you are concerned about the behaviour of an employee you can complain to the Manager or Director or to the Complaints Management Unit. We can’t look into personal complaints. Complaints about staff misconduct are not part of the Department's complaints process and will be referred to the Integrity Services Unit (ISU) for investigation. You can telephone ISU to discuss your concern directly on (08) 9222 2778.

What does misconduct mean?
It generally means that someone has acted dishonestly, been biased or deliberately acted wrongly. It also includes officers behaving in a way that harms the public's trust in the public service. Complaints about staff misconduct are not part of the Department's complaints process and will be referred to ISU for an independent investigation.

Can anyone make a complaint to the Department?
Yes. Anyone can make a complaint. If you do not want to make the complaint yourself, you can ask someone else to complain on your behalf. However, the Department will need to talk to you to take it further.

Can the Department help me to make a complaint?
Yes. You can ask any officer in the Department to help you. The Complaints Management Unit can help you to clearly explain your complaint and what you want to happen. You can also have someone help you when making a complaint. This could be a family member, carer, advocate or friend.

Can I take my complaint somewhere else?
Yes. If you are not satisfied with the way your complaint was handled, then you can contact the State Ombudsman:

Can I make an anonymous complaint?
You can, but the complaint won’t be taken further or investigated.

Can I complain about a Care Plan?
No. Care Plans are formal process of the Children’s Court. Complaints about Care Plans cannot enter the Department’s complaint process. You may be able to have the Care Plan reviewed by the Case Review Panel.

What should I include in my complaint?
Keep it simple and stick to the facts. However, be as specific as possible about dates, names and other important details. The Complaints Management Unit needs enough information to properly understand your complaint and how to deal with it.

  • What happened? 
  • Where did it happen? 
  • When (time and date)? 
  • Who was involved? 
  • Were there any witnesses? (Who else can say what happened?) 
  • Do you have any relevant documents? If so, include copies (not the originals) with your complaint. 
  • Have you done anything already about your complaint? What happened? 
  • Can you think of a suitable solution to your complaint? What do you think should happen?

How long will it take?
Many complaints can be resolved quickly. We will try to resolve your Step 1 complaint within 21 working days.
If you take your complaint to Step 2, the Unit will try to reach a final outcome in another 21 days. If it is going to take longer, then we will let you know and explain the reason.

What can I expect from the Complaints Management Unit?
We can tell you your choices, and give you an independent and impartial assessment of your complaint. The Unit also investigates appropriate complaints in a way that is independent and fair to everyone concerned. We will let you know what is happening with the complaint. We will also provide clear explanations about the final outcome of your complaint and any decision we make.

Can I complain about the Complaints Management Unit?
Yes. Criticisms and compliments are important ways of gaining feedback about our service. We are committed to improving our service to the community, and your views are welcome even if they are critical. You may contact the Manager of the Unit, and if you are still unsatisfied you can seek an external review of your complaint at the Ombudsman Western Australia:

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