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Client Service Delivery Policy

1. Background

As an agency of the New South Wales Government, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) has a duty to:

  • implement the policies of the NSW Government efficiently and effectively, and
  • obtain good value for money and make the best use of public resources and property, and
  • comply with all proper instructions and directions and act in accordance with the spirit and the requirements of the law, and
  • maintain clear and sufficient documents to support decisions, and
  • not allow any official information to be misused, and
  • provide accurate, timely, honest and balanced advice as well as seeking to resolve ethical dilemmas.

The intent of this policy is to explain:

  • The standards of behaviour and service expected of staff and clients.
  • How a client can provide feedback about the services they use, including how to make a complaint.
  • How client feedback and complaints are managed.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all DCJ staff and/or its associates (which includes consultants, contractors and staff of community housing providers participating in Housing Pathways). This policy also applies to clients inclusive of applicants for housing assistance, people living in tenancies managed by DCJ, and tenants living in properties owned by the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) that are managed by DCJ.

3. Policy statement

All DCJ staff and/or its associates have a duty to abide by the DCJ Code of Ethical Conduct. Any conduct that does not comply with DCJ standards will be addressed. It is expected that clients will treat DCJ staff and/or its associates with courtesy. The standards of behaviour expected of DCJ staff, its associates and clients are outlined in the Service standards section of this policy.

DCJ respects the right of its clients to lodge a complaint, compliment or other feedback about the service they receive. Feedback from clients allows DCJ and its associates to monitor their performance and effectiveness and make appropriate changes or improvements where necessary.

For information about the DCJ client feedback system, including how to provide feedback or make a complaint, see the Feedback and Complaints management section of this policy.

If a DCJ tenant disagrees with a decision made by DCJ; or an applicant disagrees with a decision made by DCJ or a community housing provider (CHP) participating in Housing Pathways, they can request an appeal of that decision. For information about the appeal process, including how to request an appeal, see the Appeals policy.

Service standards 

Providing information about products and services

Information about products and services is available to everybody. For more information clients can:

To ensure that all clients across New South Wales have equal access to housing assistance and information, DCJ provides free, confidential and qualified language services for those who need the assistance of an interpreter and language services.

The types of services provided by DCJ and available to clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds include:

  • telephone interpreting service provided by All Graduates Interpreting & Translating
  • on site interpreters managed by the Block Booking Interpreter Service (BBIS) and provided by All Graduates Interpreting & Translating
  • sign language (AUSLAN) interpreters provided by All Graduates Interpreting & Translating
  • telephone National Relay Service (NRS) for the hearing and speech impaired
  • accredited bilingual staff to assist with brief client enquiries
  • translation of client supporting documentation
  • publications about DCJ services translated into major community languages.

The way staff treat clients

In dealing with clients, DCJ staff and/or its associates are required to:

  • ensure services are fair, accessible to all clients and appropriate to their needs
  • act with courtesy, promptness, efficiency and impartiality
  • give information and advice honestly, clearly and simply
  • ensure that clients receive their full entitlements
  • maintain confidentiality and privacy of information
  • offer the best service possible in light of available resources
  • respect individual differences
  • provide referrals to support services, if and as required.

DCJ staff and/or its associates aim to:

  • make fair decisions that are open to scrutiny, and
  • provide clear and accurate advice about decisions, and
  • provide information about the reason for decisions, and
  • advise clients of decisions within a reasonable timeframe.

The way DCJ staff and/or its associates expect to be treated

It is expected that clients treat staff with courtesy. DCJ staff and/or its associates have a responsibility to work supportively with clients who are facing difficulties and who may be experiencing stress. However, DCJ staff and/or its associates will not tolerate antisocial and/or difficult behaviour that creates a stressful, intimidating, frightening or offensive situation.

Antisocial and/or difficult behaviour ranges from expression of anger through to threats, intimidation and verbal and physical assault that occurs during or outside working hours on or off the Department’s premises, face to face, over the phone or via written correspondence.

Difficult behaviour broadly encompasses behaviour such as agitation and vulgarity to more serious aggressive and violent behaviour. For staff to appropriately manage this range of behaviour, firm and fair communication and action can be used to reduce harmful behaviour.  Restriction or suspension of housing assistance, or action under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 may be necessary for more serious behaviour.

DCJ staff and/or its associates will record all incidents of antisocial and/or difficult behaviour on the client’s file. These may include but are not limited to:

  • observations of serious and/or inappropriate behaviour
  • reports of serious and/or inappropriate behaviour
  • witness statements
  • police reports.

Where a client has demonstrated that they have modified their behaviour, DCJ staff and/or its associates will update the client file to reflect this.

Following serious and inappropriate incidents, DCJ staff and/or its associates will advise clients in writing that such behaviour will not be tolerated and advise of the consequences of repeated or persistent antisocial and/or difficult client behaviour.

If a client continues with threatening or abusive behaviour, DCJ staff and/or its associates will ask the client to attend an office interview with a more senior officer. This will provide the client and DCJ staff and/or its associates time to discuss the behaviour and provide an opportunity for the client to modify their behaviour. DCJ staff and/or its associates may suggest that the client brings an advocate to the interview. The advocate may assist the client to discuss the situation in a way that avoids a repeat of the aggressive behaviour. In cases of persistent aggression, the client may be advised that they can only contact DCJ staff and/or its associates by phone, rather than in person until they can demonstrate that they have modified their behaviour.

In cases of more serious and inappropriate behaviour by a tenant towards DCJ staff and/or its associates including physical violence or intimidation, DCJ may ask the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for an order of immediate possession under Section 90 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

DCJ or a community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways may determine an applicant or members of their household ineligible for social housing or other housing related products and services, if at any time they:

  • seriously threaten or abuse social housing employees (including DCJ and CHP staff, and/or its associates), or
  • intentionally engage in conduct that objectively causes social housing employees (including DCJ and CHP staff, and/or its associates) to feel intimidated or harassed.

DCJ staff and/or its associates will warn an individual that applications received from them are not to be considered for assessment should their behaviour continue. Staff of social housing providers and/or their associates must be satisfied that the behaviour will not be repeated before making any decision about the client’s eligibility.

Antisocial behaviour management

The Client Service Delivery policy is used to manage incidents of antisocial and/or difficult behaviour against DCJ staff and/or its associates which does not occur at a tenant’s residence, neighbouring property or common area, by:

  • tenants who signed their Residential Tenancy Agreement before 6 February 2023
  • all other clients such as household members, applicants, and members of the public.

The Antisocial Behaviour Management policy is used to manage:

  • all incidents of antisocial behaviour that occurs at a tenant’s residence, neighbouring property or common area of properties managed by DCJ, regardless of the date the Residential Tenancy Agreement was signed
  • all other incidents of antisocial and/or difficult behaviour towards DCJ staff and/or its associates, for tenants who signed their Residential Tenancy Agreement on or after 6 February 2023.


All clients and members of the public have the right to offer feedback about the services that DCJ and/or its associates provide, either because they:

  • are dissatisfied with the quality of service, or
  • believe that a policy is wrong, unjust, unlawful, discriminatory or unfair, or
  • have positive feedback to provide about the service they have received.

All feedback is encouraged, valued, and taken seriously. This feedback helps to improve DCJ policies, systems and service delivery. For more information on the types of feedback that DCJ would like to receive, please see the Client Feedback Service factsheet.

Feedback can be provided in person, in writing, by email, online or over the phone. For more information, see Feedback and complaints.

Feedback will be considered in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner, and a client’s privacy will be respected. DCJ provides free, confidential and qualified language services to clients who need the assistance of an interpreter and language services to provide feedback.

Feedback can also be lodged on a client’s behalf by a third party such as a family member, support provider or an advocate. The client’s consent is required before any information about the client can be provided to a third party, see General Consent to Exchange Information and Authority to Act on Client’s Behalf

Clients may also choose to provide feedback through another source, for example:

  • their local Member of Parliament
  • the Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness.

Feedback about neighbourhood concerns such as reports of antisocial behaviour, property care issues, unauthorised alterations or illegal activity are also accepted, but will not be managed as a complaint in the first instance. These matters will be managed according to the relevant policy.

Feedback will be acknowledged by DCJ but in most instances, a detailed outcome cannot be provided either because there are ongoing legal proceedings, or to protect the privacy of other parties. For more information see the Privacy and Information Sharing policy.

DCJ staff and/or its associates are expected to conduct themselves in a highly ethical manner. In the event of fraud or corruption being suspected by staff or clients, please see Fraud and corruption prevention.

If a client or a member of the public is dissatisfied with the way services are delivered and the matter has not or cannot be resolved at the time, then it will be managed as a complaint. If a client believes that DCJ has failed to respond appropriately to their feedback, it will also be managed as a complaint.

Complaints management

Complaints concerning DCJ staff or a decision made by DCJ will be acknowledged and reviewed, with an outcome provided generally within 15 business days. Any complaint regarding a privacy issue will be completed within 60 calendar days. Clients will be advised if there are any delays in reviewing the complaint and will be provided with an outcome in writing.

Complaints will be directed to the area of DCJ that is responsible for responding to the issue. If the complaint is about an employee, it will be reviewed by a more senior officer than the employee it is concerning. If a client is concerned about their confidentiality or privacy, they may lodge a complaint anonymously.

If a client has made a complaint, it will not impact the service they are provided with.

If a client is unhappy with the outcome of their complaint or the way their complaint was managed, they should first discuss it with their local office. They can also discuss it with the NSW Ombudsman, the Tenant Union of NSW or a Community Justice Centre. If the complaint is about a privacy issue, the client can discuss it with the Information and Privacy Commission NSW.

Housing Pathways – feedback and complaints

In relation to housing assistance delivered through Housing Pathways, DCJ and community housing providers participating in Housing Pathways are responsible for managing feedback and complaints relating to service delivery.

For further information about the client feedback and complaints in community housing, go to Community Housing Complaints, Issues and Appeals Management Framework

Unreasonable conduct by a complainant

Unreasonable conduct is defined as any behaviour by a current or former complainant which, due to its nature or frequency, raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity concerns for either party to the complaint.

Examples of conduct that can be characterised as unreasonable include:

  • persistent phone calls, visits, letters, emails whilst the complaint is being reviewed, or after the outcome of the complaint has been explained
  • repeated demands for services that cannot be provided, assistance from certain employees or priority treatment
  • consistent unwillingness to cooperate with employees to manage the complaint, including providing insufficient, unclear or misguiding information
  • constantly making complaints that are not supported by evidence.

If this conduct continues after the client has been asked to stop, it will then be considered unreasonable. If there is abusive, threatening or intimidating behaviour from a client, please see the way DCJ staff and/or its associates expect to be treated

If unreasonable conduct by a complainant is identified, consideration will be given to limiting or changing the way staff respond to a complainant by applying a formal restriction for a period of either three (3), six (6) or twelve (12) months.

Contact to a designated employee may be limited when necessary. For example, allow contact only in specific secured locations or through a particular method such as in writing.

Contact may also be restricted to a particular subject matter, to a particular time, length of time, or frequency. For example, a complainant may only be able to lodge or request information about a complaint once a week in writing and addressed to a senior staff member, and any contact received outside of the restriction will not be responded to.

In some exceptional circumstances, restricting all contact with a client about their complaint may be considered.

Following a restriction period, the complainant’s conduct during the restriction period will be reviewed to consider extending, revising or lifting the restriction.

Clients will be advised of the nature and length of any restriction imposed, any breaches of the restriction, and the outcome of the review in writing.

4. Legislation and compliance

There is no specific legislative structure for client service delivery processes. However, DCJ and/or its associates must always act in a lawful way and operate within the following frameworks:

5. Further information

If a client is unhappy with a review of a privacy complaint, the client may be entitled to refer the matter to the NCAT. If the client feels that the issue has not been satisfactorily resolved, they may contact the NSW Ombudsman.

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Last updated: 18 Dec 2023