Corporate Policy Statement

This policy sets out the ACNC’s approach to complaints and compliments from members of the public (including those involved in charities and the not-for-profit sector) about the ACNC’s services.

This policy does not deal with complaints about ACNC’s decisions (for example, a decision not to register a charity). This is covered by the Review and Appeals policy. This policy also does not deal with complaints about charities, which is dealt with in our Commissioner's Policy Statement: Complaints about Charities.

Principle 1: The ACNC will provide high quality services
Principle 2: Customers will be treated fairly and with respect
Principle 3: The ACNC will protect personal information and comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
Principle 4: The ACNC Complaints and compliments procedure will be accessible and responsive
Principle 5: Complaints will be dealt with efficiently
Principle 6: The ACNC will review and use complaints and compliments to improve our service


  • compliment – any expression of satisfaction with the ACNC’s administration, a staff member, process, service or resource
  • complaint – any expression of dissatisfaction with the ACNC’s administration, a staff member, process, service or resource resulting from the ACNC’s failure to meet the customer’s expectations
  • recurring issues – any issue that, if not identified and appropriately addressed, has the potential to recur and generate complaints, or has a negative impact on customers


Principle 1: The ACNC will provide high quality services

  1. The ACNC aims to provide high quality services that are timely, helpful and accessible. We publish our Service Commitment that indicates the standards we have set for our services to the public and charities. Our starting position is to provide good service the first time.
  2. The ACNC encourages members of the public to tell us if they are not happy with a service provided by the ACNC. The remaining principles in this policy set out how the ACNC will address complaints received from the public.
  3. The ACNC also encourages members of the public to tell us if they have received good service. Compliments can be made in the same way as complaints, but rather than investigating, the compliment will be communicated directly to relevant staff. Compliments will be used to improve our service in accordance with Principle 6.

Principle 2: Customers to be treated fairly and with respect

  1. Two of the ACNC’s core values are fairness and respect. Consistently with this, the ACNC will inform those complaining about a service how the complaint will be handled and the outcome of the investigation.
  2. Complaints or compliments can be made via our online general enquiry form or by calling 13 22 62. There is no charge for making a complaint.
  3. An ACNC staff member will attempt to acknowledge and respond to the complaint within seven working days of receipt. For more complex matters the customer will be given contact details of the team reviewing the complaint, and the complaint will be addressed within 21 days of receipt. If the complaint cannot be addressed within this time, then the customer will be contacted with an update and an explanation for the delay.
  4. Consistent with the principles of fairness and respect, the ACNC will:
  • ensure that the complaint is investigated by a person other than the staff member who is the subject of the complaint
  • treat complaints on their merits and with an open mind
  • objectively evaluate all relevant facts and any evidence provided by the customer
  • disclose any apparent or actual conflict of interest, consistent with our Conflict of Interest policy
  • ensure that customers will not be adversely treated because they have made a complaint.
  1. The ACNC will explain the outcome of the investigation to the customer and provide reasons if the customer’s evidence is not accepted. If the customer is not satisfied, the customer will be given an opportunity to respond to the decision on the complaint before the complaint is finally resolved.

Principle 3: The ACNC will protect personal information and comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

  1. Information obtained by the ACNC is regulated by the laws relating to privacy, and freedom of information and also the Part 7-1 of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth). The ACNC’s approach to these laws is set out the Privacy Policy, Freedom of Information Policy and the Protected Information Procedure.
  2. The ACNC will accept anonymous complaints, although this may affect our ability to investigate the complaint fully.

Principle 4: The ACNC complaints and compliments procedure will be accessible and responsive

  1. The procedure for making a complaint or compliment is clearly accessible on our website. We will also provide this information when dealing with the public generally where appropriate.
  2. The procedure will allow for different ways of making a complaint or compliment. We will take into account the special needs of certain members of the public. We will be flexible when dealing with complaints by vulnerable customers, including by dealing with an appointed contact person where appropriate.
  3. If the complaint or compliment relates to the activity of another agency with which we work (for example, the ATO in dealing with tax concessions), we will refer the customer to the relevant complaint or compliment procedure of the other agency.

Principle 5: Complaints to be dealt with efficiently

  1. We aim to deal with complaints efficiently. We aim to deal with simple complaints the first time a customer contacts us, and will aim to resolve more complex complaints as quickly as possible, and in accordance with the service standards.
  2. Managers and supervisors will be given regular reports on complaints and, if complaints remain unresolved, they will be escalated to a more senior officer.

Principle 6: The ACNC will review and use complaints and compliments to improve our service

  1. The ACNC values complaints and compliments about its services from the public. These provide direct information about how the public, including charities, view our services.
  2. We will integrate this information into our daily business, by ensuring that:
  • staff throughout the agency are trained in the complaint handling process, and
  • there is regular reporting of complaints to the Commissioner and senior management, and feedback provided to ACNC staff.
  1. We will use this information to
  • identify recurring issues
  • make improvements to our systems and processes
  • identify learning and development needs for groups of staff, and
  • review and evaluate workloads and work practices.


Review and Appeals policy
Commissioner's Complaints about Charities
Service Commitment
Conflict of Interest policy
Privacy Policy
Freedom of Information Policy
Protected ACNC Information Procedure

Version Control

VersionDate of effectBrief summary of change
Version 1 - Initial Policy03/12/2012Initial policy endorsed by the Commissioner on 27/01/2015
Version 227/01/2015Minor amendments to clarify process for advising ACNC of complaints or compliments
Version 3 - Amendments09/07/2019

Update policy to reflect current practice and to ensure clarity around the way the ACNC treats personal information. Removed obsolete references. Updated links