The Client Voice

A client’s experience of and participation in services are basic indicators of quality and safety. The voice of clients is critical in bringing attention to real or potential situations of harm, and to identify what is already working and opportunities for improvement at all levels of service delivery and design.

Actively empowering clients to have their voices heard, to make informed decisions and to have real influence supports the development and delivery of services that are better tailored to the person’s needs, preferences and values. This leads to better outcomes and helps prevent avoidable harm.

What is the client voice?

The client voice refers to any and all expression of the views, opinions, needs, experiences and outcomes of individuals, families and carers who have previous or are currently involved with a community service.

This includes all information derived from a client, in any form, for example any interaction with a worker, case planning discussions and records, complaints and feedback mechanisms, quality audits, service reviews or policy consultations. It includes non-verbal indicators of a person’s experience or views, it may include overt or covert actions, behaviour, engagement or non-engagement in services.

The client voice is an umbrella term describing essential input to any activity that seeks, elicits and captures the views and perspectives of clients including person-centred practice, co-design and quality governance. The client voice is also the output of these activities.

The client voice is relevant at all stages of a person’s involvement with the system, and at all levels – individual, organisation and system.


A Client voice framework is being developed by the Department of Health and Human Services to assist Victorian community service providers, policy and program areas to seek, capture and use the client voice at all levels – individual, organisational and system.

This work follows on from the Community Services Quality Governance Framework (QGF) released in October 2018 which sets the objective for safe, effective, connected and person-centred community services for everybody, every time.

The Client voice framework is being aligned to the Safer Care Victoria’s Partnering in Healthcare Framework released March 2019, in recognition that some organisations and clients span and access both health and community services.

The Client voice framework will also complement and support existing safeguarding mechanisms including regulation, performance management, quality standards and feedback systems. These include the Child Safe Standards that require organisations to have “strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children”.

Your input will be used to develop the final Client Voice Framework and inform the implementation plan. After the consultation has ended, a consultation summary will be released (mid-May) to report back on what we heard.

In scope

Community services that the department delivers, funds and regulates including disability, family violence, housing and homelessness, child and family, child protection and community based mental health and alcohol and drug services.

Client Voice Framework released!

We are pleased to announce that the Client Voice Framework has now been finalised and officially released. We thank all participants who contrinbuted to the consultation and the development of the framework.

You can view the framework via the link below:


Consultation summary

We have also released a consultation summary, outlining the engagement activities undertaken, a summary of the feedback received through Engage Victoria and key insights. The summary is available below to view:


Q1. Which best represents your organisation?

Please select multiple where applicable

Please rank the top 3, with 1 being the top barrier.

  1. Attitudes and mindsets (such as fear of ‘doing it wrong’; reliability and usefulness of information) #
  2. Capability and skills of staff to seek, listen and/or act on the client’s voice #
  3. Capacity to seek an act on the client's voice (such as funding/staff/time) #
  4. Engagement resources and tools #
  5. Participation challenges (such as access to clients and supporting & facilitating their needs) #
  6. Ethical considerations #
  7. Support from Executives management / leadership team #
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Q5. What would help your organisation to work with clients to improve the quality and safety of community services?

Please select one or more from the following options and elaborate in comment section below.

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Q6. The Client voice framework will be centred around five principles. Thinking about each draft principle, consider how these would translate to practice. Would you expand or change how these principles look in practice?

Do you have any suggestions about the wording of the principles and the associated ‘what this looks like’ columns?

a. The client voice is essential for quality and safety.
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b. Clients have expertise.
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c. Client voice is a shared and ongoing responsibility.
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d. Every client is unique.
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e. The client voice leads to action.
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A summary of proposed key sections is outlined in table below

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Privacy collection notice

The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) is committed to protecting your privacy. Participating in this survey is voluntary and all information collected will be treated as confidential.

Should you decide to provide your personal contact details, the department will collect and handle any personal information you provide for the purposes of informing the Client voice framework. The department will not use your information for any other purpose or disclose it to any external parties.

For more information on the department’s privacy collection, please refer to the department’s privacy policy or visit our website on https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/publications/privacy-policy