Complaints management policy and procedure -
plain english version
Statement of Aims
This policy is designed to assist Council to record, respond to and manage complaints so that
- Council operates and is seen to operate in an environment of respect and professional behaviour
- opportunities for continuous improvement of processes and procedures can be identified, implemented and thereby improve Customer Service in all Council’s functions.
Complaint – Any expression of dissatisfaction received by Council with services or product(s) offered or provided.
- a request for service (unless it is a repeated request, where there was no response)
- a request for information or explanation of policies or procedures
- the lodging of an appeal in accordance with a standard procedure or policy (unless it is a complaint about Council’s decision making process) and/or
- criticism that primarily questions the merits of Council policy or procedure.
There are no legislative requirements. However, the Department of Local Government, NSW Ombudsman and ICAC recommend that all Councils implement such a policy.
- The policy is to establish a clear and concise process for managing complaints in respect of services and product(s) of Council. It provides guidelines for both customers and Council staff for making and dealing with a complaint.
- This policy aims to ensure that all complaints are treated consistently, fairly and ensure privacy.
- This policy aims to encourage excellence in Customer Service and accept complaints as an opportunity to improve Council service to customers.
- Kiama Municipal Council recognises a customer’s right to make complaints, comments or suggestions about the level and quality of services and products(s) provided by Council.
- Complaints may be received by telephone, in writing (letter, fax, email etc.) or in person.
- All complaints will be received courteously, investigated and acted upon fairly, appropriately and ensuring privacy.
- Council staff receiving and investigating complaints are to be treated with the same level of respect as described in (c) above.
- Council’s Public Officer has been appointed by the General Manager to assure responsibility for handling complaints against Council. The Public Officer will communicate with the complainant within five (5) working days of receiving a complaint against Council. All complaints where possible will be investigated and finalised within fourteen (14) working days from receipt of complaint.
- Where a complaint is proven to be justified, the Public Officer will recommend to the General Manager a corrective course of action to be taken. This action may include:
- an apology to the customer
- necessary action to fix the matter being complained of
- amendment of Council’s policy or procedure
- other action deemed appropriate by the General Manager in the circumstances
The complainant will be advised in writing of the outcome and action to be taken if applicable.
NOTE: Under the Civil Liability Act, an apology does not constitute an admission of liability and will not be relevant in the determination of fault or liability in connection with civil liability of any kind. Evidence of an apology is not admissible in a court hearing as evidence of fault or liability (other than the categories of civil liability excluded by section 3B of the Act)
- Confidentiality will be maintained beyond anyone directly involved in the investigation. Complainant’s details will not be divulged in accordance with Council’s Complaints Management Policy and Procedures.
- Complainants who may be dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint may refer their concerns to the Department of Local Government, NSW Ombudsman or ICAC depending on the nature of the complaint. Council’s Public Officer will be available to advise the complainant of the appropriate authority. The complainant may refer their matter to the above-mentioned external authorities regardless of the outcome of Council’s investigation.
- Protected disclosures will be managed in accordance with Council’s Internal Reporting Policy.
- This abbreviated “plain english” version of Council’s Complaints Management Policy and Procedures should be read in conjunction with Council’s Complaints Management Policy and Procedure document, Code of Conduct and Access to Documents/Information Policy.
The Policy on Complaints Management and Procedures was adopted by Council on 23 February 2005 Cr No. 066 Minute No.023.
Complaints Management in Councils – Department of Local Government
Effective Complaint Handling – NSW Ombudsman
Complaints Policy – Liverpool City Council.
Last updated: Tuesday 5 February, 2013