Compliments and Complaints Policy
To provid e
the community with a method of making compliments and complaints, which
is consistent, transparent and accountable . Also, t o provide
Council with the means to identify areas which need improvement .
Parramatta City Council seeks to measure and monitor its service to
with the highest possible service and commitment.
is a compliment
is an expression of praise or regard for
service or conduct received .
is a complaint
A complaint is
an expression of dissatisfaction with a decision (outside of
a structured process), level or quality of service , or behaviour of an employee, Councillor or agent, which can be
investigated and acted upon.
is not a complaint
2.3.1. A request for service (unless there was no
response to a first request for service)
2.3.2. A request for information or an explanation of
a policy or procedure.
2.3.3. Disagreement with a policy or lawfully made
2.3.4. An appeal against a decision, other than that
made as the result of a complaint.
Why are complaints valuable ?
give Council an opportunity to identify
and resolve issues of concern to members of the community. Complaints may bring
to the Council's attention issues regarding:
administrative decision making process or procedure;
of a member of Council staff ;
of another resident in a matter before Council;
delivery of Council services;
to take appropriate action on a request;
and resources available; and
and/or harassment of a complainant or group of complainants on the basis of
their age, gender, race, country of origin, sexuality, marital status,
pregnancy, disability, transgender, medical record, religion, criminal record,
political belief or union activity.
Parramatta City Council is committed
· Providing an accessible compliment/complaints
· Listening to what the citizen has to say,
· Seeking to understand what the citizen wants,
· Respecting the citizen's integrity,
· Giving an explanation,
· Considering all aspects of the complaint including
possible solutions and the impact of the solutions on other members of the
· Taking action, if required, within a reasonable
time, and keep the complainant informed.
complaints be treated ?
Confidential ity will be
given to complaints according to the principles in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection
Act (NSW) 1998.
Wherever possible complaints
resolved and reviewed locally and have the fewest people necessary involved.
Complaints are treated confidentially and information is only used for the
purposes for which it was collected unless;
6.1.1. either the consent of the individual(s) is
reasonable grounds for believing the use of the information will
reduce a threat to the life or health of any person, or
use is authorised by law ;
How do we receive complaints ?
Council may receive complaints through the;
where the complaint will be registered and directed to the appropriate person,
through Customer Service , will be registered and
directed to the appropriate person, in person, by using the Counter Compliment
and Complaint Form (Appendix A) which will then be registered and directed to
the appropriate person
interpreter will be made available , if possible, to assist
with verbal complaints and filling out forms. Complaints shall always be
directed personally, rather about an issue that needs investigating.
are handled in a timely manner with achievable deadlines clearly stated for
each stage in the resolution of a complaint.
order to comply with recommendation
the Ombudsman Council's performance standard for responding to a complaint is
that it will be acknowledged within 10 working days, and answered
in approximately 28 days. Where a
complaint is complex, technical or requires additional time to search for the
required information, we will negotiate with the citizen to review the
timeframe for the response.
The time taken
to resolve a complaint is one of the measures of the success of
ability to effectively resolve complaints. Perceived unnecessary delay is
usually the single biggest complaint made about the complaints process.
statistics will be kept?
information will be reported to Managers monthly and to the General Manager
quarterly. A report will also be presented to Council quarterly. The report will consist of
the number of complaints/compliments received in service areas, the number of complaints
attended to and the number of complaints outstanding.
be done with the Information?
The statistical information
will be used to identify areas/services/procedures that need review or that may
need additional resources to provide the required level of service to our
citizens. In the case of compliments
about our service or our staff, we will use that information to reward our
staff, through the celebrating Success initiative as well as identify what
works well so that we may use those principles in other areas.
means that the process used to handle and resolve complaints is fair and is
seen to be fair. This principle refers to the way in which policies and
procedures are made clear, visible and comprehensible to all those using them.
Nothing should occur that could not easily be explained to any party to a
complaint. Whether making a complaint, being complained about, or witness to an
investigation, everyone should understand how information will be used; the
role of all those involved in handling the complaint or playing any part in the
process, and their own rights and responsibilities.
Council seeks to deliver transparency in the
decision making process. It means that resolutions or other decisions should
always be accompanied by an explanation of the process used to make the
decision and the reason why the decision was reached.
The following principles have
been identified by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and are required
to be addressed and implemented by Council:
· Who ever is
the subject of concern must know all the allegations in relation to their
· All parties
to the complaint must have the right to be heard;
relevant submissions and evidence must be considered;
which are not relevant must not be taken into account;
· The person
who makes the complaint must not determine the matter;
decision-maker must be fair and just.
diversity and special circumstances
which deter or prevent complainants from accessing the complaints system should
be identified and steps take n
to make access possible , including the need for interpreters or illiteracy.
compliments and complaints will be dealt with sensitivity and thoroughness , including country of origin, gender,
Indigenous Australian complaints, religion, sexuality and disabilities.
6.14. How will we handle complaints
Our policy to handle
complaints and for
compliments will be to use a set
of procedures which contain the following elements:
6.14.1. It is a
user-friendly system for accepting citizen feedback.
delegations and procedures for staff to deal with complaints and provide
must follow clear referral steps if the matter cannot be resolved by the
procedure and forms for recording, monitoring and providing feedback to the
standards are in place for response times and the quality of Council's
Action Tracking system and records management system
record and track s complaints, the outcomes and feedback.
of options and consequences
I t is our policy to explore
all of the options available with the complainant
to avoid one the most common, and most easily preventable, complaint handling
problems - unintended consequences.
who are abusive or vexatious
A ny interaction with members
of the community where personal abuse or vulgar language is used, the
communication may be terminated immediately by the employee. If face to face,
the employee should walk away. If on a
telephone, the employee will terminate the call. If in email, it may be blocked. If in correspondence, it will be returned to
the sender and not acted upon.
In the case of a vexatio n complaint, that is, a
complaint without substance, it will be recorded in the Complaints
and Compliments System but no further action will be taken.
employee feels threatened by the language or behaviour of the complainant, the
police shall be notified.
maladministration, serious and substantial wastage
Council is committed to maintaining high ethical standards. Therefore it is
everyones responsibility to not only act honestly but to report any instances
of possible corruption, maladministration or serious and substantial wastage.
Anyone who acts in an unethical manner can not only damage the reputation of
the Council but also its Councillors and employees.
You can report suspected
instances in accordance with this policy. You can also report suspected
corruption to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (9318 5999) and
suspected maladministration to the Ombudsman (9286 1000).