Complaints Management Procedure

1.Overview

The Office of the Information Commissioner (the Office) takes any complaint about our services seriously. Feedback and complaints are an opportunity for us to improve the way we provide our services. You can give us feedback at any time by phoning us on (07) 3234 7373 or emailing administration@oic.qld.gov.au.

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction in writing, about the actions or services of the Office and the associated conduct of officers of the Office.

Dissatisfaction with a decision by the Office pursuant to the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) and Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act), where specific appeal rights are available is not a ground for complaint.

The following information provides options on what you can do if you are unhappy with how we undertake our work or deliver our services and wish to make a complaint.

2.How we deal with complaints

2.1 Ethical Obligations

Office staff are employed under the Public Service Act 2008. Office staff must comply with the following four ethics principles and related obligations under the Public Service Ethics Act 2004. The principles and obligations form the basis of the Office’s Code of Conduct:

  • integrity and impartiality
  • promoting the public good
  • commitment to the system of Government
  • accountability and transparency.

2.2 Independence

The Office’s performance of its statutory functions is independent of executive government. The Information Commissioner is an officer of the Queensland Parliament, appointed by the Governor in Council under the RTI Act. The Information Commissioner is directly responsible to Queensland Parliament through a Parliamentary Committee and cannot be directed by any person in carrying out functions under the legislation. The Office’s staff can only be directed by the Information Commissioner.

2.3 Privacy

The Office must comply with the privacy principles in the IP Act in its dealings with personal information. This necessarily includes dealing with personal information in the course of administering a complaint.

2.4 Responsiveness

The Office will deal with all complaints fairly, professionally and independently.The Office provides the following commitments concerning complaints:

  • will endeavour to acknowledge receipt of a complaint within 5 business days
  • will endeavour to process and finalise the complaint in a timely manner.

3.Complaint Resolution Options

Step 1 -Try to resolve issues informally

The quickest way for your complaint to be resolved is to raise your issue with the person in the office you are dealing with. If you are unhappy with the response from that person, ask to speak with their supervisor.

If you are unclear about whom you should talk to about your complaint, telephone (07) 3234 7373 and ask for the Director, Engagement and Corporate Services who will advise you of the most appropriate person in the Office to try and resolve the issue.

Complaints about the External Review Service

If your complaint is in relation to the external review service and you have not successfully resolved your concerns with the case officer managing your application, ask to speak to their supervisor. The supervisor will be familiar with your application and is best able to help. If they are not available when you call, they will contact you by phone or in writing as soon as possible to try to promptly resolve your issue.

If you disagree with an external review decision, you are not able to resolve this type of disagreement through the complaint process. An external review decision is final and cannot be changed by the Office. If you want to challenge the decision, you need to consider making an application to the Supreme Court under the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) for a judicial review or making an application for appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). You can only make an appeal or seek a review on a point of law. Statutory time limits may apply.

Complaints about the Privacy Complaint Resolution Service

If your complaint is in relation to the privacy complaint resolution service and you have not successfully resolved your concerns with the privacy officer managing your complaint, ask to speak to their supervisor. The supervisor will be familiar with your complaint and is best able to help. If they are not available when you call, they will contact you by phone or in writing as soon as possible to try to promptly resolve your issue.

If you disagree with a decision that the Office cannot deal with, or deal further with, your complaint you are not able to resolve this type of disagreement through the complaint process. If you want to challenge the decision, you need to consider making an application to the Supreme Court under the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) for a judicial review. You can only seek a review on a point of law.

If you are a complainant and you are not satisfied with the outcome of the privacy complaint resolution process, you may choose to ask the Office to refer the privacy complaint to the QCA Tribunal for a determination. If you choose to do so, the Office is required to refer the privacy complaint.

Complaints about a breach of privacy by the Office

In providing its services the Office must comply with the privacy principles in the Information Privacy Act 2009. There is the capacity for an individual to make a privacy complaint about the actions of the Office. The individual must first make their complaint directly to the Office and give us the opportunity to respond to the issues raised in the complaint. See reference to Privacy Complaint Handling Policy

Step 2 - Make a formal Complaint

You are encouraged to resolve your complaint informally but, if you remain dissatisfied after speaking with the person you are dealing with and their supervisor, you may wish to make a formal complaint. Formal complaints must be in writing, marked ‘Private and Confidential’ and addressed to:

The Director, Engagement and Corporate Services
Office of the Information Commissioner
PO Box 10143
Adelaide Street
Brisbane 4000

Or emailed to: complaints@oic.qld.gov.au

Be sure to include in your complaint all the issues you are concerned about and the details to support your complaint.

What happens then?

The Director, Engagement and Corporate Services, will conduct an assessment of the content of the complaint and will undertake to resolve the matter and provide a written response and outcome within 28 days.

In assessing a complaint or enquiry, the Director, Engagement and Corporate Services, may determine that the content of the complaint requires an investigation. If this occurs, the Director, Engagement and Corporate Services will ask the Information Commissioner to nominate a suitable person to conduct an independent assessment of the content of the complaint or enquiry and who will undertake to resolve the matter and provide a written response and outcome within 28 days.

If your complaint raises issues that must be reported to another body, for example the Queensland Police Service or the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), we will notify you of the referral.

Step 3 - Request a final review from the Information Commissioner

If after receiving a response to your formal complaint you are still dissatisfied, you may request a final review from the Information Commissioner. A request for a final review must be in writing, marked ‘Private and Confidential’ and addressed to:

The Information Commissioner
Office of the Information Commissioner
PO Box 10143
Adelaide Street
Brisbane4000

The Information Commissioner will independently assess your complaint, make a final decision and reply to you in writing within 28 days.

Step 4 - If you believe there has been corrupt conduct

Under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (CC Act), the CCC has the responsibility to ensure complaints about corruption are dealt with appropriately, with a particular focus on cases involving more serious or systemic corrupt conduct. The CCC has jurisdiction over corrupt conduct affecting units of public administration in Queensland, including departments, statutory bodies, universities, and local government.

If you think there may have been corrupt conduct or police misconduct, write to the CCC at:

Crime and Corruption Commission
GPO Box 3123
Brisbane Qld 4001

Or email mailbox@ccc.qld.gov.au

4.Monitoring Effectiveness

The Office reports on the complaints it receives about its services or conduct in its annual report and to its Parliamentary Oversight Committee.

The Office also conducts customer satisfaction surveys of complainants and agencies. The information obtained through the surveys and from the annual statistics identify areas for improvement in the service it provides.

The Office reviews the operation of its complaint handling system annually.

5.References

  • Public Service Act 2008
  • Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
  • Right to Information Act 2009
  • Information Privacy Act 2009
  • Code of Conduct
  • Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld)
  • Crime and Corruption Act 2001
  • Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009