What to look for in a service provider



When looking for a good service provider, there are a number of key things to consider besides the availability of the service types you require, and the price of their services.

All service providers should keep to minimum standards, such as safety and privacy. These are legal requirements – by law all organisations must meet the requirements of workplace health and safety legislation, and privacy legislation and principles, for example.

So what sets a good provider apart is not whether they meet minimum requirements, because these are essential.

But what sets a good provider apart is whether they are achieving best practice; whether they go above and beyond for you.

A few examples are provided below, including how they treat your feedback and complaints; how they support your carer; how they interact with your advocate or representative; and how they cater for your special needs or areas of vulnerability.

Will they improve upon your services based upon your feedback and complaints?

You and your family members have a right to comment or make a complaint regarding the services you receive, but it is what a service provider will do with your feedback that shows whether or not they are a good provider.

A good provider will welcome your feedback as a valuable way in which they can improve their services for you, including your complaints.

If their services are not meeting your needs, goals or preferences, your feedback should lead to changes to improve your satisfaction as a client.

A good service provider will encourage feedback from clients, as well as their families and visitors. This feedback will let them know how well they are doing at serving you, and enable their staff to better understand your needs. Your complaints and feedback are crucial in assisting service providers to continue to provide the best quality of care for you.

All complaints to a service provider should be received and responded to responsively, in a supportive environment, and with impartiality in finding an appropriate resolution.

Will your family member or friend caring for you will also be supported?

Caring for people who are frail aged or have a chronic condition, a disability or a mental illness can be rewarding, but it can also be very demanding. Your carers should also receive help and support if needed.

A good service provider will support carers. They will make the most of available services that are there to help them. They will support carers to access the help they need by helping them understand what supports are available to them, by referring them to a provider who is funded to support them, or by providing them with the help they need directly.

Will they work effectively with your representative or advocate?

You have the right to access and use an advocate or representative of your choice. They can be a friend, a family member, or someone from an advocacy service. You should be able to simply nominate a responsible person to represent you and your interests.

A good service provider will recognise this, respect and support you to do this and provide you with information on free, confidential and independent advocacy services.

They should also work effectively with your representative throughout all engagement with you. They should allow your advocate to stand with you and speak for you on your behalf, if you prefer.

Will your special needs or areas of vulnerability be catered for appropriately?

You will want to know that you basic rights will be more than upheld, including if you identify with or belong to one or more of the vulnerable groups in our society; for example people who live in rural and remote areas; people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex; and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

A good service provider will:

  • Have sensitivity and understanding of special needs groups
  • Individualise services for you, having regard to your diversity, and take into account your individual interests, customs, beliefs and backgrounds
  • Cater for all of your needs, including any special needs, and be able to assist you appropriately
  • Facilitate your access to services based on your needs, regardless of race, culture, language, gender, economic circumstance or geographic location.