This procedure details how the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) responds to complaints. It complements DLGSC’s Complaint Management Policy.
This procedure addresses complaints about the products and services provided by DLGSC to its customers and applies to all staff, contractors and volunteers engaged by the department.
for the purpose of this policy is aligned to AS/NZS 10002:2014, (the standard) wherein a complaint is defined as an ‘expression of dissatisfaction made to, or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling
of a complaint where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.’ A complaint is further defined below to ensure that the response to complaints is not duplicated and that the process does not become
onerous and counterproductive.
This procedure deals with general complaints where:
An example of an alternative process is where complaints under section 5.105 of the Local Government Act 1995 and complaints under section 117 of the Liquor Control Act 1988 are dealt
with in accordance with specific established procedures. The standard identifies certain matters that are not subject to these complaint procedures and they include:
General complaints about DLGSC’s products and services are to be referred to the relevant business area and processed in accordance with these procedures. Details of the complaint must also be recorded in the General Complaints Register managed
by Corporate Governance.
It is preferable that complaints be submitted through the DLGSC website using the online form under 'Complaints, compliments and suggestions'.
An automatic acknowledgement will be generated. Complaints received this way will be forwarded to the relevant business area and to the Corporate Governance Team or for inclusion and tracking in the General Complaints Register.
Complaints may also be lodged with DLGSC staff, contractors or volunteers via email, fax, letter or telephone. Complaints from children and young people may be made in person and through a support person. The complaint recipient (the recipient) should
ensure that all relevant information has been provided (see Acknowledgement section). The recipient should assess whether he/she has the skills, knowledge, authority and impartiality to
deal with the complaint. If the recipient is not able to deal with the complaint, the recipient should either:
The recipient must assess whether the complaint falls within the scope of this Complaint Handling Procedure by reviewing the definition of a complaint on page two of this document. If it is not a matter that can be handled by this general complaints process,
the complainant should be referred to a more appropriate process or a more appropriate body such as the Ombudsman (see the Western Australian Ombudsman’s Handling your Compliant for matters dealt with by the Ombudsman).
A complaint can also be refused where the recipient determines that the complaint is vexatious or trivial. If a complainant uses personal abuse, inflammatory statements or intimidation when communicating their complaint to DLGSC, their compliant will
not be accepted.
If a complaint has not been accepted the recipient must advise the complainant accordingly in writing with reasons provided. The advice must include notice that the complainant has the right to request an internal review of the decision by a senior officer
within DLGSC or by the Ombudsman. Prior to sending this advice the recipient must receive approval from their manager. The advice must also be provided to Corporate Governance Team for recording in the Complaints Register.
On accepting a complaint the recipient must ensure that the complainant has provided:
As soon as practicable and within 10 days, the recipient is to make initial written contact with the complainant to acknowledge receipt of their complaint. For complaints made by or on behalf of children and young people, the recipient is to make initial
contact with the complainant as soon as practicable and within 3 business days.
To determine how a complaint will be managed, it should be assessed in terms of:
If the recipient is of the view that the complaint warrants immediate action, they should take the necessary steps to initiate such action.
The recipient must contact the complainant as soon as practicable providing:
A copy of this advice is to be provided to Corporate Governance for recording in the General Complaints Register.
The recipient is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest when dealing with the complaint. In the event of a conflict of interest, the recipient will refer the complaint to their line manager for actioning by an alternate party.
Ideally the complaint will be resolved by talking to the complainant to see if some form of mutually acceptable resolution can be achieved. Where resolution is reached, the agreed action must be documented and communicated to the Corporate Governance
Team. In this event it may be unnecessary to continue with the investigation unless there are systemic issues that require further examination outside of the complaints process.
The recipient should define the issues to be investigated and develop an investigation plan. The investigation should be carried out by gathering sufficient reliable information to enable the issue to be properly addressed by proving or disproving matters
relevant to the issue. The investigation should be conducted in an objective and unbiased way following the principles of procedural fairness. The Western Australian Ombudsman’s Guidelines on Complaint Handling contain detailed guidance for
responding to complaints.
If the recipient determines that they will not be able to arrive at a decision within the prescribed timeframe, they must contact the complainant to negotiate a new timeframe for dealing with the complaint and inform the Corporate Governance Team accordingly.
This information is then recorded in the General Complaints Register.
The personal information of the complainant and anyone who is the subject of the complaint should be kept confidential and only used for the purposes of addressing the complaint.
It is important that the recipient keeps the complainant informed throughout the process and provides an up-to-date status to the complainant upon request, and at least at the time of pre-set deadlines.
When responding to a suspicion or allegation of harm or abuse from a child or young person, the recipient must listen and be respectful, believe what the child or young person is saying and take the disclosure seriously. The recipient, with the support
of their manager, should report concerns where there is a concern for the wellbeing of a child or young person to the Department of Communities Central Intake Team or WA Police if a child is in danger.
The recipient must confirm any decision with their line manager before communicating the outcome to the complainant. The recipient must also refer any matter to their line manager that requires disciplinary action, relates to a suspicion or allegation
of harm or abuse from a child or young person, training/upskilling or a review of programs and policies. Where practicable, consideration is also to be given to extending any remedy to other affected customers who did not complain.
The recipient is to advise the complainant in writing of their decision, including:
For complaints made by children and young people, the recipient may alternatively advise the complainant of their decision verbally in person or over the phone. The recipient may also liaise with and advise a trusted adult and advocacy organisation. The
recipient may be required to communicate using a translator or interpreter to aid the child or young person.
The Corporate Governance Team is responsible for receiving requests for internal review (either from the complainant or through the recipient) and will determine whether they have enough information from the complainant to warrant proceeding with a review.
The Corporate Governance Team will:
The reviewing officer will:
Corporate Governance is to record the details of the review decision in the General Complaints Register.
The recipient will ensure all information relating to the complaint is appropriately recorded and stored. The recipient must provide details of the decision to the Corporate Governance Team as soon as practicable after the complaint has been addressed
and resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, for recording and closure in the General Complaints Register. An assessment of the complainant’s satisfaction with the process will be determined by Corporate Governance via a questionnaire
which will be recorded and followed up if necessary.
Business areas and officers processing complaints are responsible for storing records of their investigations and decisions securely in either project/administration, personnel or access-restricted TRIM files as appropriate and in accordance with the
Department’s Records Management Policy and Record Keeping Plan. This includes keeping file notes and other records of any conversations, interviews, or other proceedings.
Corporate Governance is responsible for maintaining the General Complaints Register and storing general records about complaints and complaint data, in an access-restricted TRIM file.
Each quarter, Corporate Governance will collate the complaints data as follows:
Corporate Governance will identify:
Corporate Governance will collate the data and report any significant findings to Corporate Executive on a quarterly basis.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.