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Contents

Purpose

This policy enables the department to effectively manage complaints. It supports the resolution of complaints in a consistent, systematic, timely and cost-effective manner, and enhances the department’s reputation by strengthening public confidence in its business processes. This policy also provides the department with information to facilitate improvements in service delivery.

The department’s approach to complaint management is consistent with the Public Sector Commissioner’s Circular 2009-27 — Complaints Management, as well as provisions and guidelines contained in the following:

  • Disability Services Act 1993;
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1984;
  • Public Sector Commissioner’s Instruction No.7 — Code of Ethics;
  • Western Australian Government Policy Framework for Substantive Equality; and
  • Western Australian Language Services Policy 2014.

Scope

This policy deals with how complaints are to be managed and the importance of value adding based on feedback from customers relating to programs and services provided by the department. It applies to all staff, volunteers and contractors. The Director General, Corporate Executive and Corporate Governance have defined responsibilities in terms of how this policy is to be managed.

Definitions

A complaint for the purpose of this policy is aligned to AS/NZS 10002:2014, which 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.’

The Standard identifies certain matters that are not subject to the complaint procedure including:

  • matters of administrative law;
  • appeal decisions;
  • judicial decisions;
  • approaches made directly to the Minister or the State Ombudsman;
  • allegations of misconduct by public officers involving corrupt or criminal activities (must be reported to the Corruption and Crime Commission);
  • any review process available under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA);
  • disclosures and wrongdoing within the state public sector involving improper conduct or irregular use of public resources (can be pursued through the Public Interest Disclosure process);
  • any grievance under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 or other Public Sector Human Resource Management Standards; complaint handling processes that are part of the agency’s core function. It also excludes complaints made by departmental employees that are employment related.
Complainant
is a person or organisation making a complaint.
Customer
is a person or organisation receiving advice, a service, using the facilities, engaging in an interaction or business relationship, or any other person or organisation having an interest in the functions or activities of the department.

Policy statement

  • The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is committed to effective complaint handling and values feedback generated as part of its complaints process.
  • The department will ensure that information about lodging complaints is well publicised and accessible to all stakeholders.
  • The department will ensure the complaint handling process is easy for all potential complainants to access and to understand.
  • Complaints will be acknowledged in a timely manner and the complainant kept informed throughout the process.
  • Complaints will be dealt with in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner; and personal information will only be disclosed or used in compliance with relevant privacy laws and ethical obligations. Complainants should not be adversely affected because of a complaint made by them or on their behalf.
  • If a complaint is upheld, the organisation undertakes to provide a suitable remedy.
  • As part of the complaint process an opportunity for appealing the department’s response to the complaint will be available to the complainant.
  • The department will monitor the handling of all complaints and report periodically to management on the status of all complaints.
  • The department views all complaints as a potential source of improvement in the delivery of its programs and services.
  • A complainant will not be charged a fee to make a complaint.
  • Complaints will be conducted in accordance with departmental investigation and resolution processes.
  • Where a complaint involves multiple business areas or organisations, consideration must be given to coordination of communication with the complainant.
  • The department will ensure staff are trained in its complaints management policy and procedures prior to undertaking complaint management activities.
  • A complaint management audit can be conducted in accordance with ISO 19011 and results will be incorporated into management review.
  • All department staff, volunteers, contractors and complainants must comply with the department’s Code of Conduct and Customer Service Charter.

Responsibilities

The Director General is accountable for, and Corporate Executive are responsible for:

  • fostering a culture of customer focus within the department;
  • conducting an internal review of complaints where necessary; and
  • receiving quarterly reports about the application of this policy.

The Executive Director Corporate Services is responsible for:

  • ensuring all staff, volunteers and contractors are aware of, and understand their responsibilities under this policy; and
  • ensuring that complaint management training is available to all staff.

Directors and Managers are responsible for:

  • monitoring customer service and complaint handling procedures and compliance with this policy (including compliance with the Code of Conduct and Customer Service Charter) by their staff, volunteers and contractors;
  • ensuring professional development and training support in complaints management is provided to their staff, volunteers and contractors; and
  • advising Corporate Governance of all complaints received, which they will be recorded in the departmental complaint register.

Corporate Governance is responsible for:

  • maintaining a central register for all departmental complaints;
  • overseeing complaint responses (including monitoring timeframes and deadlines);
  • providing quarterly reports on the application of this policy to Corporate Executive; and
  • coordinating complaints management audits and monitor, review and report on findings and recommendations.

All staff, volunteers and contractors are responsible for:

  • ensuring their conduct complies with the Code of Conduct and Customer Service Charter;
  • complying with documented complaints policy and procedures; and
  • keeping appropriate records of all complaints consistent with the department’s Record Keeping Plan.

Compliance context

Legislation and regulations

  • Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003
  • Disability Services Act 1993
  • Freedom of Information Act 1992
  • Public Sector Management Act 1994

Whole of government policy

  • Public Sector Commissioner’s Circular 2009-27: Complaints Management
  • Public Sector Commissioner’s Instruction No.7 — Code of Ethics
  • Western Australian Government Policy Framework for Substantive Equality
  • Western Australian Language Services Policy 2014

Department policy and procedure

  • Code of Conduct
  • Complaints Management Procedure (under development)
  • Disability Access and Inclusion Plan
  • Fraud and Corruption Control Framework (under development)
  • Freedom of Information Policy
  • Work Health and Safety Policy
  • Public Interest Disclosure Policy
  • Record Keeping Plan

Supplementary documents

  • Customer Service Charter (under development)

Other related documents

Page reviewed 25 June 2019