External complaints about OAIC employees or contractors – overarching policy

25 May 2021

Operational policy for the management of external complaints about the behaviour of OAIC employees or contractors

Audience and location: All staff
Review Date: 30 September 2021

Version

Name

Changes

Date

0.1

E. Hampton

Initial draft

23 August 2020

0.2

AGS

Amendments

24 September 2020

0.3

A.Falk

Approved

26 November 2020

Executive summary

This operational policy describes the way in which the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will manage external complaints about the behaviour of its employees or contractors (staff members).

Members of the public, businesses and government agencies have the right to complain about OAIC staff members. The OAIC’s service commitment to the community it regulates is contained in the Service Charter (D2020/015181).

There are two types of complaints that external people or entities might make about OAIC staff members:

1.Complaints that an OAIC staff member has interfered with the privacy of an individual

2.Complaints about conduct that does not involve interference with the privacy of an individual.

Either type of complaint can involve conduct that may amount to a breach of the Australian Public Service (APS) Code of Conduct by a current or former employee and which may be handled under OAIC’s Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct Procedures instead of being handled under the relevant complaints policy.

This policy provides guidance to staff members about the correct handling of all types of complaints.

Complaints of an interference with privacy

Where a complaint is received that an OAIC staff member has interfered with an individual’s privacy it must be managed in accordance with the Privacy complaints about the OAIC policy.

Such complaints will be managed by the Legal team.

Information on privacy complaints about the OAIC can be found here.

Complaints about conduct

Where a complaint is received about the conduct of a staff member that does not involve interference with an individual’s privacy it must be managed in accordance with the External complaints about OAIC employees or contractors – operational policy.

Information on external complaints about OAIC employees or contractors can be found here.

Complaints about conduct might include:

  • rudeness
  • delay
  • failing to respond to reasonable requests.

Such complaints will be managed by the staff member’s manager and reported to the relevant Assistant Commissioner or Principal Director.

Complaints about breaches of the APS Code of Conduct

The above policies do not preclude action being taken under the Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct Procedures if the complaint relates to a current or former OAIC employee (but not a contractor). Where a complaint concerns the conduct of a current or former OAIC employee that may amount to a breach of the APS Code of Conduct, such complaints may be managed in accordance with the Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct Procedures.

Information on breaches of the APS Code of Conduct Procedures can be found here.

The Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct Procedures also apply where concerns come to light other than through an external complaint.

If you are uncertain about which policy applies to a complaint, please discuss the matter with the Principal Lawyer or a member of Executive.

Regardless of the type of complaint made, the staff member receiving the complaint must register the matter as a complaint in Resolve.