Item 12.6 - Attachment 3

Summary of Feedback Received


Summary of Submissions Received

The proposed amendments to the policy were exhibited on Council’s website between 7 and 21 September 2011.  The exhibition was advertised in both the Northern District Times and the Parramatta Advertiser. A total of one submission was received.  The suggestions and comments offered within the submission are summarised below for Council’s consideration.




Officer’s Comments

Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct

Concern that the inclusion of “unreasonable persistence” will lead to the unfair withdrawal of services to members of the community

This section of the policy is designed to address conduct which has an unreasonable impact on Council’s resources.  To protect against this clause being invoked unnecessarily, the policy provides that “Strategies which involve limiting an individual’s access to Council or its facilities will be applied as a last resort, and only on the authority of the Chief Executive Officer”.


Further, examples of each of the different types of unreasonable conduct have been added to the draft, on the basis of the feedback received, to provide clarity around when Council will consider someone to be “unreasonable persistent”.

Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct

Concern that the policy does not provide specific details about how Council will respond to “unreasonable persistence”

The policy currently indicates that Council will deal with “unreasonable persistence” and other forms of unreasonable complainant conduct via the means outlined in the NSW Ombudsman publication, the Managing Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Practice Manual.  The size of this document makes it unfeasible to incorporate in full into Council’s policy.  This is consistent with current practice.

Your Rights to Appeal

Concern that council’s draft policy does not clearly define the stages through which complaints are handled or display them diagrammatically

Comments have been taken on board, and amendments made to the section dealing with internal reviews, including the addition of a diagram to show the process.

Your Rights to Appeal

Concern that statements about when an internal review will be conducted are non-specific

Further information has been added to this section to indicate that it will be appropriate for an internal review to be conducted where “there are indications that the initial investigation was in some way deficient, was conducted improperly, or failed to consider all relevant material.”


Use of Information Provided with Complaints and Compliments

Query about whether the policy ought to include what information is contained within the report, and information about the form that the report will take (eg. Report to council or otherwise)

Further information has been provided about how reports are provided to Councillors and examples have been added to the policy of what kind of data may be provided.

Complaints that Council will not act on

Concern that statements regarding to complaints that are “excessively wasteful” be supported by a verification  process

Clarification has been provided that a declaration that the CEO will be responsible for forming views about whether it would or would not be excessively wasteful to act on a complaint.

Section 5.1, 6.1 and 7.6

Concern that information contained within sections 5.1 and 6.1 are unnecessarily repeated in s7.6

Section 7.6 has been included to meet Council’s obligations under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act (PPIPA).  Under that Act, Council can only use personal information in ways which are consistent with the purpose for which the information was collected, or in ways that the person providing the information was likely to be aware of.  The statements in section 7.6 are designed to ensure persons who make complaints are aware of the ways that Council might use the information they provide with their complaint, meeting the requirements of the Privacy legislation.    While they provide similar information, both sections are required to ensure that Council very clearly meets its obligations under PPIPA.


Exhibition of the Policy

Concern that the proposed changes ought to have been exhibited in a differing manner

Exhibition took place on Council’s website and was advertised in the Northern District Times and the Parramatta Advertiser.  There was no statutory requirement that Council exhibit its policy nor a requirement to conduct any exhibition in a particular manner

Administration - Review Schedule

Concern that a review schedule was not apparent in the exhibition draft

A clear review schedule (bi-annually) has been included within the section titled “Administration”


Feedback on the need to update the contents page

Contents page has been updated in the version presented to Council for adoption.