Our Policies - Muscular Dystrophy Queensland

Our Policies

For more information about Muscular Dystrophy Queensland, our services and policies, we offer the below for your information.

Privacy

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) is committed to compliance with the Privacy Act and the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which is the legislation governing the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information. You can find out more about the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australia Privacy Principles by calling the office of the Australian Information Commissioner on 1300 36 39 92, or through their website.

To provide programs and services, MDQ needs to collect and store some relevant personal details about stakeholders.

In dealing with personal information, Muscular Dystrophy Queensland will:

  • ensure privacy for all stakeholders when they are discussing matters of a personal or sensitive nature
  • only collect and store personal information that is necessary for the functioning of the organisation and its activities
  • use fair and lawful ways to collect personal information
  • collect personal information only by consent from an individual
  • protect sensitive information
  • ensure that people know what sort of personal information is held, what purposes it is held it for and how it is collected, used, disclosed and who will have access to it
  • ensure that personal information collected or disclosed is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, and provide access to any individual to review and/or correct their wrong information
  • take reasonable steps to protect all personal information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure
  • destroy or permanently de-identify personal information no longer needed and/or after legal requirements for retaining documents have expired
  • notify individuals and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) when there has been a data breach (or suspected breach) of personal information, if it is likely to result in serious harm to individuals whose privacy has been breached

Consent

Personal information is only collected following consent – explicit consent via signed consent form; verbal consent which is documented on the client database, and implied consent when the stakeholder shares the information.  All information is treated with respect and according to privacy laws and principles.

For children, MDQ recognises the rights of the parents/guardians to give consent, however, also understands that the Privacy Act sets no minimum age at which an individual can make informed decisions regarding his or her personal information. MDQ acknowledges that the Guidelines to the National Privacy Principles suggest that each case must be considered individually as to when a young person may have the capacity to make a decision on his or her own behalf.

How MDQ collects personal information

MDQ collects personal information directly from MDQ stakeholders, either verbally or in written format. In some cases, we collect personal information through details that have been provided on MDQ’s website and Facebook page. Instances where personal information may be collected include:

  • Through a call to MDQ’s Helpline, email asking for assistance, conversations
  • Information provided by care givers or external professionals e.g. NDIA staff, health professionals
  • Marketing, mailing lists and records of event attendees and responses to MDQ’s fundraising campaigns

What information is stored?

Only personal information that is needed is stored. MDQ requires personal information to:

  • Communicate with you
  • provide appropriate services (this may include health information)
  • meet the reporting requirements of some funded services.

Storing and disclosing personal information

MDQ stores personal information in a variety of secure formats including in secure databases and on portable devices with password control.  The security of this personal information is of primary importance to MDQ. We ensure that our cloud-based programs store information on Australian servers and we take all reasonable steps to protect information from loss, misuse, unauthorised access, or disclosure.

MDQ may be obliged by law to disclose personal information. We may disclose personal information to third parties if permitted by the Privacy Act or, with explicit consent, to other entities for service provision or to assist MDQ’s functions or activities, including:

  • Government departments, namely Qld Health, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Education Qld
  • ‘For purpose’ disclosure to lawyers, accountants, auditors or business consultants
  • Law enforcement agencies

MDQ does not sell or share our fundraising database information.

Within the organisation, staff have restricted access to folders which are not relevant to them.

Accessing, correcting or opting out of sharing personal information

It is important that the personal information that MDQ holds is kept up to date and accurate. You may request access to your personal information or request that your personal information is changed or removed from MDQ’s records. MDQ may ask questions to verify identity in this process. Access may be denied if MDQ cannot satisfactorily identify the stakeholder; if the request is unreasonable; or if there are perceived grounds to refuse access e.g. if in providing access, there is a risk that the privacy of another party is impacted.

You can deal with MDQ anonymously or use a pseudonym instead of your personal details when engaging with MDQ, however, there may be limitations to the services we are able to provide.

You can opt-out of allowing your personal information to be collected and held by MDQ, however, this will impact the services that MDQ will be able to provide to you.  MDQ does not charge a fee to access, update, remove or opt-out of sharing personal information.

Please contact the Privacy Officer (details at the end of this document) if you wish to access, update or opt out of sharing information with MDQ.

What happens when you share personal information online?

The MDQ website may use cookies to track site visits, navigate within MDQ sites, and add items while using the donation facilities.  If you are concerned about the use of these cookies, your browser can be configured to notify you when you receive a cookie and provide you with the opportunity to accept or reject it. by using the MDQ website, Facebook or other social media sites, you are providing implied consent.

How to register a complaint if you believe your privacy has been breached

You may lodge a complaint regarding a perceived breach of your privacy related to the Australian Privacy Principles.  The complaint must be made in writing and addressed to MDQ’s Privacy Officer (details below). MDQ will need a reasonable time to investigate and respond to the complaint. In the unlikely event that the privacy issue cannot be resolved, you may take your complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner (www.oaic.gov.au ).

MDQ’s full Privacy Policy is available on request. We may at any time update or remove this policy without prior notice. Any changes to this policy will be published here on our website. This policy was last updated in August 2020.

Contact Details

Privacy Officer:  Senior Administration Officer
Postal address:  Locked Bag 3000 Eagle Farm BC 4009
Telephone: 07 3243 9700 or 1800 676 364
Email: privacy@mdqld.org.au

Complaints and feedback

Incident Management

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) is committed to providing services in a safe and competent manner and ensuring that incidents which occur in relation to the provision of services are managed consistently and effectively, and that workers can identify, manage, report and resolve incidents.

We take a risk based approach to our services with the goal of lessening risk. We are determined to continually improve the safety and quality of our services.

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland promotes a culture of open reporting. All workers, clients and others are encouraged to report any incident or alleged incident and there will be no negative consequences for doing so. Those involved have the right to information and input throughout the investigation and reporting process, and to a support person.
What should be reported

Any incident involving a client of MDQ that has occurred during the provision of MDQ services that has caused harm (or could have caused harm) should be reported. This includes:

  • Injury (minor, major or potential)
  • Death
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Emotional trauma
  • Sexual misconduct or inappropriate behaviour
  • Unauthorised restrictive practice
  • Security incident
  • Damage to property or the environment

Immediate action should be taken to remove or minimise danger to clients, staff and witnesses. Emergency services will be called and first administered if appropriate. MDQ staff will report any incident to their supervisor or manager who will complete MDQ’s incident investigation process. Those involved have the right to information and input throughout the investigation and reporting process, and to a support person.

Supporting clients

Throughout the incident management process, from initial response through to review, clients will be supported by the organisation through means of:

  • Reassurance if a client or family member was involved in or reported the incident
  • Where required, trauma and counselling services
  • If necessary, changes to regular supports
  • Clear, ongoing communication regarding the progress and outcomes of the investigation.

Clients will be involved in the management and resolution of the incident where appropriate. This includes:

  • Ongoing information as incidents are being investigated
  • Copy of any reports and also any changes made as a result of the investigation into the incident

Assessment and investigation

Following a report from a worker, client or member of the public, the relevant supervisor or manager is responsible for creating an initial assessment of any incident. They will determine the severity of an incident and establish the need for, and scope of, an investigation. The matter may be referred to the manager or CEO, based on the type and seriousness of the incident. Minor incidents can be managed internally.

If the incident happened in connection to an NDIS service and is classified as a Reportable Incident, MDQ will also report the incident to the NDIS Commission. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission also has a Participant Fact Sheet about this.

NDIS reportable incidents include;

  • The death of a person with disability
  • Serious injury of a person with disability
  • Abuse or neglect of a person with disability
  • Unlawful sexual or physical contact with, or assault of, a person with disability
  • Sexual misconduct, committed against, or in the presence of, a person with disability, including grooming of the person with disability for sexual activity
  • Unauthorised use of restrictive practices in relation to a person with disability.

Incidents involving criminal allegations will be reported to law enforcement, who will receive full support of the organisation in their investigations.

Whenever an investigation into an incident is conducted, it should establish:

  • Participants in the incident
  • The cause of an incident
  • The effect of an incident
  • Any organisational processes that contributed to or did not function in preventing an incident
  • Changes the organisation can make in order to prevent further incidents from occurring

Information related to incident investigations, including records of phone conversations and face to face interviews, emails and documents will be recorded and kept in strict confidence. MDQ keeps an accurate register of all incidents that occur in relation to the provision of MDQ services. Records will be kept for a minimum of seven years for an adult and for seven years post a child achieving adulthood.

Incident resolution

Based on MDQ’s assessment, the organisation may undertake remedial action proportionate to the severity of the incident, including but not limited to:

  • Providing an apology
  • Disciplinary action
  • Offer of psychological and emotional support
  • Financial compensation

The organisation collects and reviews data on incidents to inform improvement activities. The Chief Executive officer regularly reports incidents to the Directors and also provides an annual report addressing incidents – how they have been managed and actions which have been taken to continually improve practice as a result of the learning from incidents.

MDQ’s full Incident Management Policy is available on request. We may at any time update or remove this policy without prior notice. Any changes to this policy will be published here on our website. This policy was last updated in August 2020.

Diversity and Cultural Inclusion

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) is committed to provision of the highest quality services to all MDQ clients living with neuromuscular conditions, throughout their life span, using the principles of person centred practice, maintaining the dignity and privacy of client information, and ensuring equitable, inclusive access to MDQ’s services

MDQ welcomes all groups within the Australian community. We will deliver equitable access to services, ensuring that they are respectful of the values, customs, cultures and beliefs our our clients, no matter what their cultural or societal background, including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • People from diverse racial, religious or cultural backgrounds
  • People with a disability
  • Gay, Lesbian, Transgender/gender diverse, Bisexual or Intersex people
  • Who use an alternate means of communication, including but not limited to Auslan (Australian Sign Language) communicators

MDQ is committed to cultural diversity and will:

  • Ensure that diversity and cultural inclusion are incorporated in the organisation’s ethos during all activities of the organisation and relate to all staff and volunteers
  • Incorporate staff training and education in cultural competency and safety, and into organisational values, practices, policies and service delivery
  • Encourage the active recruitment of employees from diverse backgrounds and/or employees who have previous experience in service delivery to people from diverse backgrounds
  • Where possible and/or relevant, provide information on the services and programs in languages other than English which reflect the demographics of the target service areas
  • During consultations, seek the involvement of stakeholders from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in identifying and prioritising needs and in planning services
  • Seek to support new clients from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds
  • Ensure that changes to local cultural and linguistic demographics are reviewed in planning for future services
  • Ensure equitable access to MDQ’s services for people from cultural or linguistically diverse backgrounds and actively work to minimise their barriers to entry
  • Ensure that harassment or discrimination are not tolerated and that appropriate internal organisation and/or legal protocols, are followed to prevent or address harassment or discrimination
  • Provide flexible approaches and processes in response to clients, recognising and meeting cultural and linguistic needs
  • Continually improve our service quality for people from diverse cultures and backgrounds

MDQ staff are required to do all that is practical to:

  • Demonstrate respect for cultural or religious customs and health practices including beliefs and taboos
  • Arrange for interpreters (including sign language interpreters) in circumstances where clients are unable to communicate easily in English
  • Provide assessments and treatments in a manner that is culturally appropriate and respectful. This may also include using accredited interpreters where required, or involvement of a larger group of extended family members identified by the client
  • Respect cultural traditions when entering someone’s home
  • Actively seek information from clients or where appropriate their family/carer about their customs, culture and beliefs where it may affect the provision of service
  • Attempt to meet specific requests from clients, where possible, to demonstrate respect
  • Confer with employees from diverse cultural backgrounds and people with disability in planning and implementing client services.

MDQ’s full Diversity and Cultural Inclusion Policy is available on request. We may at any time update or remove this policy without prior notice. Any changes to this policy will be published here on our website. This policy was last updated in August 2020.

Infection Control

We at Muscular Dystrophy Queensland are committed to keeping you safe during our direct work with you so we have strict Infection Control procedures in place for when we visit you in your home or when you visit our Client Centre. This Infosheet explains what Muscular Dystrophy Queensland is doing to minimize the spread of COVID 19 and thus working for our collective safety. These are reviewed regularly as health directives change.

Our processes

  • MDQ has an infection control (COVID) committee which oversees staff training and safe processes for protection of our community and staff.
  • Staff do not to come to work if they have any COVID like symptoms e.g. sore throat, runny nose, temperature, or if they or a close contact is waiting for a COVID – 19 test. They cannot return to work unless they have had a negative COVID test.
  • Staff often work from home as a way to minimize any possible spread of the virus.
  • We offer services via telehealth and phone which offers service continuity during lockdowns
  • On the day of your appointment, we will text or call and ask after your COVID related health or symptoms and those of the people who live with you. Please respond to those texts with an honest answer so we can safely provide services
  • If you have symptoms (from COVID – 19 checklists) or you are a close contact of someone who is waiting for results of a COVID test, please cancel your appointment. If you explain this as a reason for your cancellation, we will not charge a cancellation fee.

When staff of Muscular Dystrophy Queensland visit your home

We have also introduced strict processes related to hand cleanliness, use of PPE and strict social distancing at all times.

Entering your home

First, thank you for welcoming MDQ staff into your home. And it is never too late to let your MDQ visitor know that you are not feeling well and will need to suspend the appointment.  If your MDQ visitor notices any COVID like symptoms, they will also have to suspend the appointment and leave your house. We apologise in advance for this but we must do all we can to stop the spread.

Cleaning hands and surfaces

MDQ staff are now required to wash or sanitise their hands before and after they visit your home and to take care in cleaning equipment before and after use. You are also encouraged also to follow this practice, before/after your appointment

  • Hand washing/hand sanitising: following the WHO guidelines, staff will wash or sanitise their hands upon entry to and exit from your home.
  • Cleaning surfaces: Staff use alcohol wipes to wipe surfaces and equipment between each usage

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Masks: Staff wear masks:
    • Upon request. All you need to do is ask and the staff member will wear a mask
    • During high risk times, if they cannot use social distancing inside your home, and in response to government guidelines (except during hydrotherapy sessions as the masks get very wet!)
  • Sanitiser and alcohol wipes: These are an important part of our infection control toolkit
  • Gloves: Gloves are used only where there is going to be mucous contact e.g. when assessing you for a cough assist machine.  Official advice is that clean hands are better than gloves
  • Gowns and Shields: MDQ has purchased some gowns and shields and will use them when we have done a risk assessment and we believe they are required AND if you are concerned but let us know beforehand so we can bring the equipment with us on your home visit.

When you are visiting the Muscular Dystrophy Queensland’s Client Centre

The Client Centre, at our Head Office in Nundah, is a very large and safe space and we are also providing extra cleaning and adhering to infection control processes according to health guidelines

  • Thermometer: MDQ has a forehead thermometer with which our frontline staff will be regularly taking their temperature for your safety.  During high risk times, will ask all of our visitors to the Client Centre to participate in a forehead temperature test.
  • If a visitor has a persistent temperature of over 37.5C, we will need to discuss our options with you e.g. discontinue your scheduled assessment/treatment.
  • If you feel you have a fever or heightened temperature, you can call us prior to the appointment and cancel without being charged a cancellation fee.
  • Cleaning surfaces: After each use, the rooms in the Client Centre are cleaned with an alcohol based cleaner, according to the MDQ COVID – 19 cleaning schedule.

If you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to call the office (07 3243 9700) and ask to speak to your support coordinator or your allied health team.  Stay safe and thankyou for trusting Muscular Dystrophy Queensland to provide your services.

Updated January 2021

Whistleblower

What is a Whistleblower?

A whistleblower is a person who discloses information about wrong doings for the benefit of the public.  In Queensland, the law protects whistleblowers from criminal prosecution or legal action being taken against them.  Whistleblowing is sometimes referred to as making a public interest disclosure and under the legislation, a whistleblower has rights.

Who is covered by the MDQ Whistleblower Policy?

This MDQ whistleblower policy and whistleblower protections are available to any eligible discloser who makes a disclosure that qualifies for protection.

Eligible disclosers include

  • Employees, volunteers, students on placement (either current or past)
  • Suppliers of goods and/or services to the organisation
  • Recognised influential stakeholders including MDQ clients and family members, where the matter is relevant

The discloser qualifies for protection as a whistleblower if they are an eligible discloser and

  • They are making a disclosure re a ‘disclosable matter’ directly to an ‘eligible recipient’’ or to ASIC, APRA, or another relevant Commonwealth body or a legal practitioner for the purposes of obtaining legal advice
  • They have made an ‘emergency disclosure’ or a ‘public interest disclosure.’

 What’s covered by MDQ’s Whistleblower policy?

The types of wrongdoings that can be reported i.e. disclosable matters include:

  • Misconduct
  • Breaches against relevant legislation and/or offences against any other Commonwealth law that are punishable by 12 months (or more) imprisonment
  • Fraud, embezzlement, or financial criminal mismanagement
  • Any issue that represents a danger to the public
  • Some (but not all) personal work-related grievances e.g. those which relate to infringement of the law; danger to the public, misconduct; breach of employment laws

The discloser needs to have reasonable grounds for suspicion.

Legislation which is applicable to whistleblower matters is as follows:

  • Corporations Act
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001
  • Banking Act 1959
  • Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001
  • The Insurance Act 1973
  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009

Disclosures e.g. that solely relate to personal, work related grievances, that are not about ‘disclosable matters’ do not qualify for protection under the Corporations Act, however MDQ also has the Feedback and Complaints policy and procedures under which issues can be raised.

  • A mere allegation with no supporting information is not likely to be considered as having ‘reasonable grounds to suspect,’ however, neither does a ‘discloser’ need to prove their allegations
  • A discloser may make a reporting error which is acceptable, however is a person makes a deliberate, false report, they may be subject to investigation and disciplinary action for knowingly false reporting

How and to whom do I make a disclosure?

Internal Disclosure:  To be able to qualify for protection as a whistleblower, the discloser needs to make a disclosure directly the organisation’s eligible recipient.  At MDQ, eligible recipients are as follows:

  • Chief Executive officer who is also the Company Secretary
  • MDQ Board Chair

External disclosure:  The discloser has the choice to make the disclosure directly to a regulatory body or other external party.  Disclosures to legal practitioners to obtain legal advice are also protected under the Corporations Act.

A discloser can also obtain additional external information through:

Public interest and emergency disclosures:  These disclosures are made to a journalist or parliamentarian and can be made under certain circumstances and qualify for protection.  It is important to understand the criteria under which these disclosures can be made.  Conditions may include:

Previous external disclosure e.g. ASIC, with adequate time given for response and previous written notice to the body that the disclosure will be made

  • The discloser does not have reasonable grounds to believe that adequate action is being taken
  • In public interest or substantial and imminent danger

Anonymous disclosures:  A discloser can choose to remain anonymous while making the disclosure, through the investigation and after its finalisation.  The discloser can take all reasonable actions to protect his/her identity and MDQ will also work with the discloser to make modifications to achieve anonymity.

MDQ notes that anonymity adds complexity and challenges to the investigation which will be explained to the discloser

 Making a disclosure:  As stated earlier, there are internal and external disclosure options and disclosures can be made anonymously and securely.

Internal disclosures can be made via

  • Email direct to the CEO or through the feedback form on mdqld.org.au
  • Phone (07 32439700) to CEO or post (locked Bag 3000, Eagle Farm BC Qld 4009)

If the discloser has a concern and is unsure about whether it is a disclosable matter which qualifies for protection under the Corporations Act, that concern can be addressed through MDQ’ Feedback and Complaints processes, which in turn, has a high level of confidentiality .  All disclosures are welcome as issues raised and addressed contribute to MDQ’s continuous improvement.   For all feedback and issues raised, MDQ gives an undertaking to address the issues in a timely manner.

LEGAL PROTECTION AND SUPPORTS FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS

The following protections apply to all disclosers:

  • Identity protection (confidentiality)

Confidentiality underpins the whistleblower legislation and it is illegal to identify the discloser or share information that may lead to his/her identity.  If it is believed that MDQ has breached its duty related to confidentiality, the discloser can make a complaint to a regulator e.g. ASIC

Identity can only be shared under some circumstances e.g. with

  • ASIC (or similar agency), the Australian Federal Police, a person or body prescribed by legislation
  • Legal practitioner for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or representation
  • Written consent of the discloser

Within MDQ, identity and disclosure details are protected in the following ways:

  • Risk assessment and management plan undertaken to ensure the identity of the discloser is protected. Remedies will include
    • All personal information or reference to the discloser is redacted
    • Secure record keeping e.g. electronic copies only which are stored via password protected systems on secure /E/ drive
    • Outlining to the discloser, their role in ensuring that information remains highly confidential
  • Protection from detrimental acts or omissions

MDQ undertakes not to engage in the following related to the discloser and will treat all disclosers and parties associated with the disclosure with dignity and respect.

The following behaviours are expressly forbidden:

  • Dismissal or alteration of the discloser’s position as a result of the disclosure
  • Discrimination, harassment, harm, damage to reputation of the discloser.

MDQ will take any reasonable action to protect and support the discloser and others involved in the matter including:

  • Risk assessment and management related to protection from detrimental acts
  • Monitoring psychological status and offering access to MDQ’s EAP scheme
  • Regular meetings with discloser and others with the goal of protecting and minimising stress. Reasonable modification will be made to their work location and practice to achieve this goal
  • Mentoring re actions which can be taken if a detriment has already occurred e.g. assistance with lodging an external complaint, disciplinary action for another party

It is to be noted that MDQ will expect the discloser’s unrelated work performance to be reasonable and will manage any issues within our performance management framework.

  • Compensation and other remedies

If the discloser believes that injustice was done, he/she has the right to seek compensation and other remedies through the judicial processes.

  • Civil, criminal and administrative liability protection

The discloser is protected from civil, criminal and/or administrative liability associated with their disclosure.  The protections do not grant immunity for any misconduct a discloser has engaged in which is uncovered I the investigation of their disclosure

INVESTIGATING A DISCLOSURE AND ENSURING FAIR TREATMENT AND PRACTICAL PROTECTION FOR ALL PARTIES

In handling any whistleblower disclosures, MDQ will follow the key steps of the MDQ Feedback and Complaints policy and procedures as follows:

Making the complaint

  • To the appropriate MDQ officer
  • Documenting the complaint
  • Offering a support person and any relevant comforts and protections
  • Ensuring confidentiality

Investigating the complaint

  • Rights of discloser including
    • Provision of informed consent for steps in the investigation
    • Right to fairness, objectivity and independence in disclosure investigation
    • Discloser is provided with ongoing information about progress of the investigation
      • When the investigation begins
      • While the investigation is in progress
      • After the investigation has been finalised
    • Confidence that the disclosure will result in positive change
  • Investigating the disclosure
    • Addressing the disclosure in a prioritised, timely and objective manner
    • Developing and following a plan of the investigation which includes a risk assessment about matters previously stated. Plan will include:
      • Nature and scope of investigation
      • Direct and indirect participants
      • Any technical, financial, legal advice which may be required to support the investigation
      • Timeline which may vary depending on the complexity of the investigation, whether external referrals need to be made, discloser ability to co-operate, and predicted outcomes
    • Confidential discussion with the discloser
    • Discussions with other parties to the disclosure. Principles of natural justice and procedural fairness will be applied.  Other parties will be offered a support person, along with confidentiality during the investigation
    • Engagement with external parties as necessary
    • Confidential documentation
    • Documented outcome and actions which are implemented efficiently e.g.
      • Apology
      • Procedural changes
      • Training
      • Referral for criminal investigation (at any time within the investigation)
    • Ongoing analysis re achievement of outcomes
  • Documentation and reporting

A report (redacted where necessary) will be prepared for the MDQ Finance and Risk Committee and findings will be explained to the discloser with a report provided as necessary

  • Continuous improvement

Following finalisation of a disclosure the following steps will be taken with the goal of continuous change and improvement to MDQ’s practices:

  • Summary of the disclosure/incident in the risk register and inclusion in the risk management assessment and plan
  • Finance and risk committee to discuss, review and make recommendations to the board. Board to authorise changes for the CEO to implement

Updated January 2020

Making a Complaint to the NDIS Commission

What is the NDIS Commission?

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is an independent agency established to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services. The Commission regulates NDIS providers, promotes safety and quality services, resolve problems and identifies areas for improvement.
Web: https://www.ndiscommission.gov.au/

What complaints can be directed to the NDIS Commission?

Anyone can make a complaint to the NDIS Commission about any issue connected with NDIS funded supports or services provided by an NDIS Provider (registered or unregistered).
Complaints should be first be raised with the service provider, however that is not always appropriate and then, they can be raised with the NDIS Commission

Complaints the NDIS Commission can take:

  • Whether services and supports have been provided safely and respectfully and are of an appropriate standard
  • How an NDIS provider has handled a complaint about services to an NDIS Participant or responded to an advocate or carer of an NDIS Participant

Complaints the NDIS Commission cannot take:

  • About non funded NDIS services e.g. MDQ’s free services, or about an organization which is not an NDIS service provider e.g. Qld Health, Education Qld
  • Actions taken by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), including decisions about eligibility, funding, and supports included in a Participant’s NDIS Plan
  • Appeals of decisions of courts, tribunals or coroners

If you call the NDIS Helpline about a matter that the NDIS Commission does not address, they will direct you to the appropriate place for your issue to be heard.

How can I make a complaint to the NDIS Commission?

What happens when I make a complaint?

The complaints officer from the NDIS Commission will

  • Help people who require additional support to make a complaint e.g. interpreters, communication assistants, cultural supports
  • Provide information about use of independent advocates and
  • Investigate and seek to resolve complaints according to principles of complaint management e.g. confidentiality and respect, objectivity, procedural fairness, outcomes focussed
  • Resolve your complaint and make suggestions about or direct parties to take remedial action.

What if I am not satisfied with the outcomes of the complaint investigation and attempts at resolution?

Your NDIS Commission Complaints officer will provide information about how to make an application for reconsideration or you can make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Interpreter Services

Is English not your first language?

Do you speak a language other than English at home?

Do you use an alternate means of communication such as Auslan?

If you have difficulty communicating in English, you can ask for an interpreter.

Australia is an ever-expanding, culturally diverse country, where over 20% of people speak a language other than English at home. In addition, 5% of Australians have a communication disability.

MDQ is committed to providing the highest quality services to all MDQ clients living with neuromuscular conditions, including those from different cultural and language backgrounds, and those who have communication difficulties that prevent them from being proficient in spoken and written English.

You can ask your NDIS Support Coordinator, if you have one, to access interpreter services, or ask another MDQ staff member. We are committed to understanding of the communication needs of our active clients and meeting those communication and cultural needs. We will engage appropriate interpreters where required to provide services.

Our full Interpreter Services Policy is available on request.

Informed Consent

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland is committed to adopting best practices that support and maximise the client’s clear decision-making, choice and self-direction. Informed consent is necessary for the provision of all MDQ services and is obtained through the completion of MDQ’s Consent Form.

In order to give informed consent, MDQ is responsible for explaining:

  • What the consent relates to
  • Why the consent is required

Who can give consent?

  • An adult client of MDQ. If you are physically unable to sign a consent form, you can ask an informal representative to sign it for you. We will ask for their details and a declaration that the form has been signed and submitted in consultation with you.
  • The legal guardian of an adult client
  • For children, MDQ recognises the rights of the parents/guardians to give consent, however also understands that the Privacy Act sets no minimum age at which an individual can make informed decisions regarding his or her personal information. MDQ acknowledges that the Guidelines to the National Privacy Principles suggest that each case must be considered individually as to when a young person may have the capacity to make a decision on his or her own behalf.

What does MDQ need consent for?

Consent to provide services: MDQ requires your consent before we can provide services. We will explain the services that we offer and any costs involved.

Consent to disclose and collect information: information is disclosed, collected, stored and shared under the Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles 2014. In order to provide a service, MDQ must have access to and authorisation to store and share information.

Consent to Communicate with a Guardian/Nominated Representative/Family Member: Under the Australian Privacy Act (1988) MDQ is not entitled to disclose client information to anyone other than a legally recognised guardian, unless we have your permission. If you are over 18 years old and would prefer that we communicate with a family member or other informal representative, you must give your consent and provide details. The MDQ consent form with allow you to nominate 2 people as your nominated representatives.

Consent to video, photography and media: You can choose to provide consent about how any images and digital media can be used. MDQ may wish to use photos, video and media for:

  • assessment, treatment or your NDIS goals
  • educational purposes
  • client publications, marketing, advertising and media (including social media)
  • fundraising publications, marketing, advertising and media (including social media)

You can choose to give consent or decline consent for using video, photography and media and this will not affect your access to services from MDQ.

How long does consent remain in place?

Your consent form will remain in place for three years unless:

  • You turn 18
  • There is a change in your circumstances e.g. you may wish to add or remove a nominated representative
  • You ask for it to be revoked – you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.

Client Advocacy and Support

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland is committed supporting the legal and human rights of individuals and their right to services.

Advocacy is embedded in our work for clients.  MDQ also leads systemic advocacy and within our capacity, will use our privately funded resources to advocate for clients’ significant needs.

Our organisation also strongly supports the right of clients to use an external advocate of their choice to negotiate on their behalf. This advocate may be used in relation to assessment, reviews, complaints or any other communication between the client and this organisation.

Systemic Advocacy

The CEO leads systemic advocacy. Issues arising within Queensland are addressed to appropriate government agencies, either with MDQ as the sole advocate or in partnership with other Queensland agencies. National issues are taken to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation where the Executive Committee makes decisions about issues for advocacy.

Individual Advocacy

MDQ staff may be able to provide individual advocacy, for example supporting you to make appropriate complaints, writing letters of support, supporting you to lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (MDQ does not have the capacity to support you through the process of an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunalfor this support, MDQ will refer you to an external advocate and if appropriate, to Legal Aid Queensland)

Significant issues are referred to the CEO. Approvals are at the discretion of the CEO who makes decisions based on significance of the issue, urgency, family history, circumstances and availability of MDQ resources.

MDQ Client Services staff can provide you with information about external advocacy agencies.

Supporting Advocacy

We support your right to use an external advocate of your choice to negotiate on your behalf or support you. Your advocate can be present at assessments, reviews, meetings or for any other communication between the you and MDQ. Our staff will not provide any information to an advocate when you are not present unless you have given permission to do so.

Client Representatives

In some circumstances, MDQ may communicate directly with a client representative. Authorised client representatives include:

  • Guardians
  • Attorneys under enduring powers of attorney
  • Agents under the Medical Treatment Act1988
  • Administrators under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
  • A person otherwise empowered by the consumers to act or make decisions in their best interests.

We will request to see proof of representative authority and will keep a copy of the documentation on file.

Our full ‘Providing Client Advocacy and Support’ policy is available on request.

Decision Making and Choice, Duty of Care & Dignity of Risk

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland is committed to empowering you to have control of your decision making about matters which affect your life and to be able to make choices.

We aim to support your independence and to avoid unnecessary removal of decision-making responsibility.  MDQ has a Duty of Care to help you avoid foreseeable risks. We also have an obligation under WHS legislation to protect the safety of clients and staff. Client Risk Assessments will be created to record potential risks and plans to reduce these risks.

You have a right to Dignity of Risk – to be able to make informed choices and take reasonable risks – just like everyone else. MDQ will support you to make informed decisions by providing information on the benefits and risks of proposed activities.

If you choose to undertake an activity that could harm you, but you understand the risk involved, staff will note this decision on your client file.

If it is not clear that you understand the risks and implications of a proposed action, we have a responsibility to:

  • Assess the likelihood and extent of the foreseeable harm or benefit
  • Explain the risk in way that can be understood
  • Research and recommend adjustments which will minimise risk without totally sacrificing the benefits
  • Respect your right of choice, independence and dignity

MDQ’s full Client Decision Making and Choice, Duty of Care and Dignity of Risk Policy is available on request.

Being a Client

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) specialises in providing information, support and services for people with muscular dystrophy and similar conditions (including neuromuscular conditions).   Our organisation provides user pays and free services for this group of people.

We welcome Queenslanders who have evidence of a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy or similar condition. (To help you to understand the conditions which are included in this list, we are guided by the list of neuromuscular conditions published by Muscular Dystrophy Association USA:  https://www.mda.org/disease/list )

People whose needs can be met by our expertise are provided with services at MDQ’s discretion and according to our capacity.  Usually these services fall under our ‘user pays’ group.  If, for any reason, MDQ cannot take you as a client, we will make those decisions objectively, explain the reason to you, and will suggest other appropriate service providers.

  • MDQ provides whole-of-life services i.e. through early childhood, school and university years, working life and retirement
  • MDQ values and respects people from all cultures and language groups, including respecting the culture and language of our First Nations people. MDQ will source interpreters for those who need them and will welcome any support person or cultural mentor who will assist our client to live with their condition
  • MDQ individualises services according to the person’s needs and our capacity. We are committed to person centred and family centred practice

Becoming an MDQ client      

There are usually just two steps in becoming a client of Muscular Dystrophy Queensland:

  • Offer from MDQ to become a client
  • Completion of paperwork

Anyone who receives services from MDQ needs to complete some simple paperwork which includes:

  • A client details form. This includes your personal details and some information about your condition and how it affects your life.  For children and those who have a nominee, we will also ask for parent/nominee details
  • A client consent form. This is your consent – or that of your authorised guardian – for MDQ to work with you.  It covers the following topics
    • Consent for Services
    • Consent to Disclose and Collect Information
    • Consent to Communicate with Guardian/Carer
    • Consent to Video, Photography and Media

Additional forms:

  • For people using MDQ’s NDIS services: MDQ Service Agreement and Schedule of Supports:  These documents are required by the National Disability Insurance Agency
  • For people wishing to access equipment loans g. Cough Assist Loan Agreement.

Be reassured that all of the personal information that is collected by MDQ is subject to the MDQ Privacy Policy and procedures and the Privacy Act 1988 and National Privacy Principles 2014.  For people who have difficulty in understanding the processes or language, we can enlist help for you e.g. a support person or an interpreter.

Being a client

Once you have completed the paperwork, you are a client and a member of our Queensland and Australian neuromuscular community and that has the following benefits:

  • Regular Client Updates
  • Access to our client services team:   They understand your condition more than most and can answer your questions and work with you to solve problems
  • Assistance with understanding the NDIS and specialist NDIS related services
  • Services from dedicated, specialist teams of professional staff.

MDQ is no longer able to keep initiate or have frequent contact with you unless you have active needs.  The good news is that we welcomes your calls – with questions; requests for assistance; need for advice and support – and will respond to your needs as best we can. 

 We would appreciate it if you let us know if

  • You change your contact details
  • You wish to change your instructions to us about anything
  • You would like MDQ to remove your personal details from our records.

Exiting MDQ’s services

People can easily exit Muscular Dystrophy Queensland when they do not want to continue as a client.  Just let us know and we will remove your contact details from our active client list.

From time to time, MDQ may exit clients if we haven’t heard from you for a long term and cannot get in contact with you or our ability to provide services does not meet your needs.  We will try to let you know the reasons bout any changes and we will help you to look for another suitable service provider if that is what you would like us to do.

Contact us

If you wish to make enquiries about becoming a client of Muscular Dystrophy Queensland, do not hesitate to contact us:

Phone:  07 3243 9700 or 1800 676 364

Email: info@mdqld.org.au

Client Services Charter

This Client Service Charter outlines your rights, how you will be treated and what you can expect from us. It also sets out your responsibilities and how you can give us feedback on any aspect of our service. Clients will be made aware of this Charter upon becoming a client of Muscular Dystrophy Queensland.  It is also available in print copy or on our website:  www.mdqld.org.au

About us

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) provides whole-of-life services for Queenslanders with muscular dystrophy and similar conditions (also referred to as neuromuscular conditions or muscle wasting conditions).

Our organisation is family centred which means that we include provide information and support to the client’s immediate family e.g. spouse, children, unpaid carer.

Our services include:

  • User pays services
  • Allied health including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling and social work funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or other government package, private health, medicare or self-funded
  • NDIS support coordination, and
  • NDIS plan management
  • Donor funded free services such as information and support

You can find more detailed information about our services on our website or by emailing: info@mdqld.org.au or by calling MDQ on 07 3243 9700.

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland is also the peak body for Queenslanders with muscular dystrophy and similar conditions, providing advocacy for individuals and also for issues which affect our community.

Head office:        1149 Sandgate Road, Nundah Qld 4012
Opening hours:   8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Monday – Friday
Email:                  info@mdqld.org.au
Phone:                07 3243 9700

Our commitment to you

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland is committed to providing a high quality of support and services for you and your family.  We will respect your choices and assist you (within our capacity) to achieve your outcomes.

What you can expect from us

When you are in contact with our organisation, we will:

  • Treat you with respect at all times
  • Be transparent and honest in our dealings with you
  • Treat you fairly and without discrimination
  • Provide you with sufficient information about the service and its terms of use
  • Work with you to ensure you have choice and control over your decisions, including your choice of service providers
  • Support you to connect with other services if needed
  • Inform you of your rights and responsibilities
  • Provide a safe and healthy environment within the service and our facilities
  • Respect your privacy and confidentiality
  • Never subject you to physical, sexual, emotional, verbal abuse, or exploitation
  • Protect your personal information and only use it for the right reasons, after obtaining your informed consent
  • Tell you how to provide us with feedback on our service and how to make a complaint
  • Ensure your complaints are dealt with fairly and promptly
  • To do all that is possible to support access to our programs for all people, including:
    • Our First Nations people
    • People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds
    • People from LGBTIQ background
    • People from other minority groups within Australian society

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland also makes a commitment to

  • Involving members of our community in decision making about the future direction of our organisation
  • Encouraging feedback to us so we can continually improve all aspects of our organisation

How you can help us

You can help us provide a quality service if you and/or your family members and support people:

  • Provide MDQ with complete and timely information about yourself and your situation, and update that information if changes occur
  • Tell us, within a reasonable time frame, if things change or you cannot keep an appointment or commitment
  • Cancel face-to-face appointments with MDQ staff when you or members of your household have an infectious disease e.g. and respiratory symptoms, conjunctivitis, gastro enteritis
  • Treat MDQ’s staff with dignity and respect and behave appropriately towards them and others with whom you come into contact when using MDQ’s services
  • Provide a safe and healthy environment in which staff can work, including when we are visiting you in your home for work purposes
  • Provide us with respectful feedback about our service and how we can work better
  • Meet the terms of MDQ’s Service Agreement in terms of payments and proactively addressing any invoicing issues
  • Let us know if you are having issues with MDQ’s services or staff providing services

How you can provide feedback

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland (MDQ) welcomes your feedback as a way to understand the level of your satisfaction with our service and as an opportunity for us to continue to develop and improve.

Your feedback can be via compliments, suggestions and complaints. 

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland’s Complaints, Feedback and Resolution Infosheet is located on our website OR you can email info@mdqld.org.au for a copy of our full policy.

You can provide feedback or make a suggestion or a complaint by contacting Muscular Dystrophy or discussing your issues with any one of our staff.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have a conversation with an MDQ staff member who will either try to resolve your complaint on the spot or refer it to a manger for resolution. The staff member will ask you whether you want the feedback to be referred and assist you in writing a summary of your feedback if that is necessary
  • The MDQ Feedback form is available on or website
  • You can email the CEO at helenef@mdqld.org.au or write a letter to: Locked Bag 3000, Eagle Farm BC, Qld 4009
  • We have an annual, wide ranging Client Survey which you can use to provide us with feedback
  • We have workshop and program evaluations, and occasional phone surveys

How we manage complaints

Muscular Dystrophy Queensland aims to resolve complaints openly, honestly and quickly. We will acknowledge your complaint and respond within three business days

If you are not satisfied with the board’s decisions or you wish to refer the complaint to an external agency, you can take your issue to one of the following:

Client Guide

View the latest Client Guide here