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The Complaints Commissioner and the Staff

We are an agency operating under a statutory office holder, the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner. Our agency is subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. We provide a complaints resolution service across Australia. The staff of the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner are located in offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Our short title is the Complaints Commissioner.
Our functions, as set out in the legislation, are to:

  • Resolve complaints about aged care services.
  • Educate people and aged care providers about the best ways to handle complaints and the issues they raise.
  • Provide information to the Minister in relation to any of the Complaints Commissioner’s functions, if requested.

Find out more about the Complaints Commissioner and the staff below.

About the Complaints Commissioner – Rae Lamb

Rae Lamb took over responsibility for the management of complaints about Australian Government funded aged care on 1 January 2016, with the new title of Aged Care Complaints Commissioner. This transfer of responsibility to an independent Commissioner was announced in the 2015 budget where responsibility for the Aged Care Complaints Scheme would be transferring to the Aged Care Commissioner. It separates complaints handling from the Department of Health which continues to oversee aged care funding and regulation.

Rae Lamb

Ms Lamb has extensive experience with complaints handling and resolution, investigations, and review in the health and aged care regulatory environment, as well as public speaking and presenting.

She was Australia’s Aged Care Commissioner from 5 January 2011 until 31 December 2015, responsible for examination of complaints about the former Aged Care Complaints Scheme’s decisions and processes and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency’s processes.

From 2005 until 2011 Ms Lamb was New Zealand’s Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner, managing a front line independent complaints scheme for health, disability and aged care services.

Prior to this Ms Lamb was a journalist. In 2001/2002 she was a Harkness Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Her health services research on the open disclosure of medical error to patients in United States Hospitals has been widely published, and is still quoted today. The publications include an invited editorial on open disclosure in the British Medical Journal publication: Quality and Safety in Healthcare.

In February 2015 Ms Lamb was appointed as an ex officio member of the Aged Care Quality Advisory Council.

About the staff

We have approximately 150 complaints officers that are experienced in complaints resolution or specialist support or line management roles. All staff are public servants who are required to uphold the Australian Public Service (APS) values in accordance with the APS Code of Conduct. Our values express how we will engage with people who receive care, people who raise concerns, service providers and the aged care community.

The executive team ensure that the day-to-day work of the Complaints Commissioner meets strategic objectives. They are responsible for the overall management of the free complaint service provided to the community.

The complaint officers handle complaints. They may speak to you on the phone, communicate with you through email or letter or engage with you during a visit to an aged care home, a service or your home. Complaints officers come from diverse backgrounds and include registered nurses and allied health professionals and people who have worked as lawyers, counsellors, mediators and administrators.