Making contracting complaints to us
Last published 30 Jul 2019
How our funded service providers can complain to us, and who they can contact.
You can complain to us about a wide range of actual or potential contracting issues such as:
- the way your contract is being managed
- the way we communicate and engage with your organisation or respond to your staff
- the way we handled a complaint from or about your organisation
- the actions of another service provider funded by us.
Find out how the public can make a complaint to us about contracting or any other matter.
We aim to be collaborative, unbiased and transparent when investigating your complaints, and resolving the issues you have.
We encourage you to actively engage with us when you have a contracting complaint, so that we can work together to take action and achieve a satisfactory resolution. This helps us to understand what we can do better, and facilitates our focus on collaborative working relationships and quality service delivery.
Find out how we handle contracting complaints about the department and service providers we fund.
What constitutes a contracting complaint?
A contracting complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction made to us, about us or a service provider, in relation to staff, services or handling of complaints, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or is legally required.*
Contracting complaints relate to matters concerning funded contract management. You can make contracting complaints to us about matters such as:
- the way your contract is being managed, and decisions made
- the quality, level and/or timeliness of communication and contracting support provided
- behaviour of our contracting staff
- failure to meet promises or commitments related to managing the contract
- the service delivery practices of another service provider funded by us, such as denying a client access to its services or of providing insufficient service.
A contracting complaint is not a matter that relates to services funded by another agency or that has another specific process for its management. The following aren't treated as contracting complaints:
- allegations of misconduct
- issues arising during the negotiation of a contract with a service provider
- privacy complaints
- requests for information
- concerns, feedback and enquiries
- child protection-related complaints raising risk of harm concerns.
* This definition is adapted from the definition of a complaint in AS/NZS 100002:2014, and is based on and the definition used in the DCJ Complaints and Feedback Management Policy.
Raising a contracting complaint
If you want to make a contracting complaint, take the following steps:
1. Go local, first
We have multiple channels that you can use to make a contracting complaint.
However, make your assigned contract manager your first point of contact.
Many matters can be resolved quickly and easily by speaking with our contract managers.
If the complaint is about your assigned contract manager, you can ask them for, and they're obliged to give you, contact details for their line manager, or the manager or director of their unit. If you're not comfortable with this approach, you can make the complaint through this website.
2. Act quickly
Please make contracting complaints as soon as possible. The earlier you tell us, the sooner we can act and work with you to resolve the matter.
This builds trust between our organisations, and confidence that both organisations are being transparent and focused on issue resolution.
3. Be clear
To help us assess and resolve the issues raised in the complaint, please provide as much information as possible, including:
- details of the contract, if known, and if the matter relates to a contracted service
- what happened
- who was involved
- when and where it happened
- any other relevant information.
Importantly, please tell us what outcome you would like as a result.
We also accept anonymous complaints. However, we may find it difficult to thoroughly assess and respond to a matter if there is insufficient detail. In this circumstance, the matter may not be investigated or may not be able to be investigated as thoroughly, and the outcome will not be reported back to you.
Escalating a contracting complaint
When handling a contracting complaint, we make decisions in line with the terms and conditions agreed in the contract with you.
If you're unhappy with the outcome or how we handled a contracting complaint, you can escalate the matter in the following ways:
- first escalation: internal review
- second escalation: independent internal review
- third escalation: external review or dispute.
First escalation: internal review
If you're not satisfied with how a complaint was handled, including decisions made by our contract managers, ask for the matter to be escalated internally.
Make this request through your assigned contract manager or their managers. If you ask, our contract managers are obliged to provide the contact details of their line manager, or the manager or director of their unit.
Second escalation: independent internal review
If you're not satisfied with how an internal review was handled, ask for an independent internal review by the Prudential Oversight unit in our central office.
Make this request through your assigned contract manager, their line manager, or the manager or director of their unit.
You can escalate complaints to the NSW Ombudsman after demonstrating your organisation has first tried to resolve the complaint directly with us, and if the unresolved complaint is regarding conduct that is illegal, unreasonable, unjust or oppressive, improperly discriminatory, based on improper or irrelevant grounds, based on a mistake of law or fact, or otherwise wrong.
If you're seeking to either:
- further escalate an issue regarding the application of the terms and conditions of the contract
- review a decision made by us about a contracting issue
or both, then you can invoke the dispute resolution clause in your contract with us.
In this case, the dispute is dealt with in accordance with that clause, commencing with your organisation issuing a dispute notice to your assigned contract manager.
This triggers the involvement of nominated, senior and legal representatives to engage in good-faith discussions, and may include the use of alternative dispute resolution.
We've listed dispute as a third escalation option because it is preferable, and usually less costly and time-consuming, to resolve issues by one of the other options identified.