The Commonwealth Ombudsman considers complaints about Australian Government agencies including:

  • the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) which administers the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and
  • the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission which regulates and takes complaints about NDIS service providers. The Commonwealth Ombudsman does not take complaints about providers.

We are independent and impartial and our service is free. It is important to read the information below before you make a complaint.

We have also developed this Fact Sheet to help NDIS Participants know who they can contact if they are having problems with the NDIS.

Complaints about the NDIA

What we do:

  • We can look into complaints about the NDIA, including NDIS Partners in Community.
  • We consider all complaints but not all complaints are investigated.
  • We will always contact you in response to your complaint and give you reasons for our decisions.
  • We may suggest other options available to you.
  • We can make suggestions and recommendations to the NDIA about a better way of doing things.

What we cannot do:

  • We cannot advocate for you or give you legal or similar advice. Please see the Department of Social Services website for assistance in finding an advocate.
  • We cannot direct the NDIA to take action or change a decision.

If you want the NDIA to change a decision, you can ask it for a review. Many decisions made by the NDIA can be reviewed, including:

  • being accepted as an NDIS participant
  • decisions about reasonable and necessary supports, and
  • who is appointed as a plan nominee

If you disagree with a review decision by the NDIA, you may be able to ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the decision.

NDIS Participant Service Guarantee

We can also investigate complaints about the NDIS Participant Service Guarantee (PSG) which is included in the NDIA’s Participant Service Charter.

The Australian Government has committed to implementing the PSG which will set new service standards and timeframes for decision-making by the NDIA. This means there will be timeframes for things like receiving an NDIS plan or for having it reviewed. The PSG also includes five engagement principles that the NDIA will aim to meet in delivering the NDIS.

Although the legislation to establish the PSG has been delayed, the NDIA has started to implement the PSG and will begin reporting on the timeframes from 1 July 2020.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman will report on the NDIA’s implementation of the PSG in 2020-21. More information about the PSG can be found on the NDIA’s website.

Complaints about the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

What we do:

  • We can investigate complaints about the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This includes complaints about the provider registration process and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s handling of a complaint.
  • We consider all complaints but not all complaints are investigated.
  • We will always contact you in response to your complaint and give you reasons for our decisions.
  • We may suggest other options available to you.
  • We can make suggestions and recommendations to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission about a better way of doing things.

What we cannot do:

  • We cannot help with complaints about an NDIS service or support. We encourage you to raise your concern or complaint with your provider first. This is generally the best way to have your issue resolved quickly. All registered NDIS providers must have a complaints management and resolution system in place.
  • If you have a complaint about a support or service you have received under the NDIS, you can contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
  • We cannot direct the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to take action or change a decision.

If you want the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to change a decision, you may be able to ask it for a review. Many decisions made by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission can be reviewed, including:

  • A decision to refuse to register a person as a registered NDIS provider
  • A decision to give a compliance notice to an NDIS provider
  • A decision to make a banning order.

Information on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s compliance and monitoring role, and the review process can be found here.

If you disagree with a review decision made by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, you may be able to ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the decision.

Before you complain to us

You should try to resolve your complaint with the NDIA or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission first. This is usually the quickest way to resolve a complaint.

You can read about the NDIA’s complaint handling process here and about the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s complaint handling process here.

You can provide the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission feedback about how it has handled your complaint about an NDIS service provider at any time. If you disagree with the outcome of your complaint, you can ask the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission for a reconsideration.

Allow the NDIA or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission 21 working days to respond to your complaint. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can contact us.

Always ask the NDIA or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission for a ‘complaint reference number’. We will ask you for this if you contact us about your complaint.

How to complain to us

Contact us if you are not satisfied with the NDIA’s or the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s response to your complaint.

To contact us:

  • Submit our online complaint form (preferred).
  • Call us on 1300 362 072.
  • Contact us through the National Relay Service.
  • If you do not speak English, we can help through the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450.

See our Contact Us page for other ways to make a complaint to us. Our FAQs explain what happens when you complain to us.