Managing critical client incidents

Community housing tenants include children, young people and adults in a range of settings.

Government and the community expect accountability in the delivery of services, to those who are vulnerable due to age, disability or life circumstances.

There are expectations that tenants are protected, and critical incidents are consistently and properly identified, reported, responded to, managed and monitored.

What is a critical client incident

Critical client incidents in community housing are events that happen at or in relation to a project property and cause a serious negative impact on the health, safety or well-being of a tenant or any person present at the property.

Critical client incidents may include:

  • the unexpected death, serious injury or alleged assault, including physical, sexual abuse, sexual assault and indecent assault of a client, that happens as a result of, or during the delivery of services
  • allegations of serious unlawful or criminal activity or conduct involving an employee, a subcontractor or volunteer that has caused, or has the potential to cause, serious harm to clients
  • an incident where a client assaults or causes serious harm to others (including employees, volunteers or contractors), as a result of, or during the delivery of services
  • a serious fire, natural disaster, accident or other incidents which are likely to result in:
    • significant damage to property
    • closure of premises
    • prevention of service provision, or
    • a significant threat to the health and safety of clients.

Community housing provider responsibilities

Community housing providers are required under the Master Community Housing Agreement to report all critical client incidents to Housing Partnerships.

NOTE: All deaths must be reported to Housing Partnerships, which has an obligation to report all deaths in accordance with the Coroners Act 2003, whether or not they are considered critical incidents.

Community housing providers must ensure:

  • the client's safety and well-being is the highest priority when an incident happens
  • critical incidents are reported to Housing Partnerships as soon as possible
  • critical incidents are correctly identified
  • critical incidents are managed in a timely, effective and consistent manner
  • all staff know their responsibilities following a critical client incident.

Reporting critical client incidents

Community housing providers should take the following things into account when judging whether an incident should be reported, as they are considered by the Incident Management Unit, which is responsible for classifying incidents as critical:

  • whether the death, serious injury or harm has a direct or indirect correlation to the services the person was receiving
  • whether the standard of services provided have been or could be perceived to have been, a contributing factor
  • the extent of harm that resulted or may result
  • the likelihood that others may be affected
  • if the death, serious injury or harm is due to unusual circumstances
  • the duty of care expected of the SAHT or the community housing provider in relation to the incident.

How to report an incident

Community housing providers must verbally report all critical client incidents within community housing immediately to their account manager. Please call 8207 0702 if you cannot reach your account manager.

An emailed critical incident report must be sent as soon as possible.

NOTE: All deaths must be reported even if they are not critical incidents.

If there is any doubt whether an incident will be considered critical, contact your account manager who will refer it to the Incident Management Unit, SA Housing Authority, to consider the situation.

If there was a  reportable death, report to the State Coroner Office on 8204 066.

To find out if the incident is a reportable death, refer to the Coroners Act 2003, Part 1, Section 3 Interpretation, '"reportable death".  If you’re not sure if it is reportable or has already been reported, call the Coroner’s Office. Failure to notify a reportable death is an offence.

The Housing Partnerships team will follow the procedures outlined in the internal SA Housing Authority Critical Incident policy and procedure and Coronial Policy.

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Page last updated 23 November 2022

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SA Housing Authority
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