Service Charter, complaints and code of conduct

The Commission's Service Charter provides information on the nature and level of service that the public can expect from the Commission's administrative staff.

The Commission works to ensure that its service meets the directives of the charter by providing high-quality and seamless services in accordance with the legislative framework within which it operates. Processes are in place to assist to address complaints quickly and informally.

The charter provides information on how to make a complaint or to provide feedback about the Commission's administrative activities. The full Service Charter can be found at Appendix L.

In 2013–14 the Commission updated its complaint and feedback system. In 2014–15, the complaint and feedback system was assessed against five criteria derived from recommendations made in the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Complaint management by government agencies (PDF) investigation report. The assessment showed that the Commission's complaint and feedback system incorporated all five best-practice recommendations.

In 2014–15 the Commission introduced a pathway for small business employers to provide feedback about its services. This can be accessed from the small business information page on its website.

The Commission has a separate process for dealing with complaints about Members in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Fair Work Act. The Fair Work Act provides that the President may determine a Member code of conduct and, as such, this was implemented in March 2013. The Member Code of Conduct (PDF) sets out the process for making a complaint about a Member of the Commission. This guide is published on the Commission's website.

Complaints

During 2014–15 the Commission received 162 written complaints. This is an increase from the previous year, when 104 complaints were received.

The Commission has made a conscious effort to improve access to information on how to make a complaint and this may account for the increase in the number of complaints received. The number of complaints made represent 0.47 per cent of the number of applications made in 2014–15.

The majority of complaints received were in relation to the Commission's processes. A substantial number of these complaints involved complaints about issues that were outside of its jurisdiction, or a fundamental misunderstanding of the process or authority of the Commission.

There was an increase in the number of complaints received in relation to the Commission's administration and a number of these complaints were about the website and electronic lodgment system. The Commission conducted a website usability review in 2014–15 and will also replace its electronic lodgment system in 2015–16.

Written complaints were responded to and finalised in an average of nine working days in the 2014–15 period, with some taking longer to resolve than others depending on the complexity of the complaint. This was within the Commission's service promise to respond to written complaints within 20 working days.

Image of the Complaints and Feedback page on the Commission's website.

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Image: The Commission has made a conscious effort to improve access to information on how to make a complaint, for example, through a dedicated information page on its website.

Table 44: Breakdown of complaints
Subject 2013–14 2014–15
Member conduct 8 10
Unfair dismissal conciliation1 20 18
Outcome of a matter2 12 23
Timeliness 2 1
Administration3 13 26
Pay and entitlements 1 2
Complaint relating to modern award or enterprise agreements4 4 10
Adjournment request refusal 3 3
Process5 24 59
Other6 17 10
Total 104 162
  1. Unfair dismissal conciliation includes conciliation processes and conciliator conduct.
  2. Complaints relating to the outcome of a matter include decisions of the Commission. These matters generally cannot be dealt with through the complaints process and usually require a formal appeal of the decision to be lodged.
  3. Administration includes administration errors, staff conduct, errors with the website and lodgment system.
  4. Complaints relating to the content of modern awards or enterprise agreements usually cannot be resolved through the complaints process and usually require a formal application to be lodged to amend or vary these instruments.
  5. Process relates to either dissatisfaction with one of the Commission's processes or a fundamental misunderstanding of the process or the authority of the Commission.
  6. Other includes complaints about not being able to find decisions on the Commission's website.