Corporate Policy Statement

This policy sets out the ACNC’s approach to feedback and complaints about our services from members of the public, including from people involved in charities and the not-for-profit sector (referred to in this policy as “customers”).

  • Feedback is an opinion or view about a service provided by the ACNC that provides insight into what we do well and what can be improved, which does not require a response or to which a response is not reasonably expected. We consider all feedback carefully.
  • Complaints are an implied or express statement of dissatisfaction to which a response is sought, reasonable to expect or legally required. These are actioned formally by an independent person or team and are guided by certain principles outlined in this policy.

This policy does not address complaints about charities, which are addressed in our Commissioner's Policy Statement: Complaints about Charities. This policy also does not address objections to a decision made by the Commissioner (for example, a decision not to register a charity or to revoke a charity’s registration), which is addressed by Commissioner’s Policy Statement: Reviews and Appeals.

Principles

  • Principle 1: The ACNC will provide high quality services
  • Principle 2: The ACNC will deal with complaints efficiently
  • Principle 3: The ACNC will treat customers fairly and with respect
  • Principle 4: The ACNC will protect personal information and comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • Principle 5: The ACNC will review and use feedback and complaints to improve our service

Principle 1: The ACNC will provide high quality services

  1. We aim to provide high quality services that are timely, helpful, and accessible. We publish our Service Commitment, which indicates the standards we set for our services. Our starting position is to provide a complete service the first time.
  2. We encourage customers to tell us about their experience of a service we provided, whether it was positive or negative.
  3. If appropriate, we use feedback and complaints to improve our services in accordance with Principle 5.

Principle 2: The ACNC will deal with complaints efficiently

  1. We aim to deal with complaints efficiently in accordance with paragraph 9 of this policy.
  2. If we cannot resolve a complaint within the timeframes set out in paragraph 9, it will be escalated to a more senior staff member.
  3. If feedback or a complaint relates to the activity of another government agency (for example, the ATO in dealing with tax concessions), we will refer the customer to that agency.

Principle 3: The ACNC will treat customers fairly and with respect

  1. Two of our core values are fairness and respect. The APS Values, APS employment Principles and the APS Code of Conduct set out the standard of behaviour expected of our staff. The ACNC Expectations of Customer Behaviour policy sets out our expectations of customer behaviour.
  2. Feedback and complaints can be made via our online general enquiries form, by calling 13 22 62, or whenever a customer communicates with our staff. There is no charge for providing feedback or making a complaint.
  3. We aim to acknowledge receiving a complaint within three business days and to respond within 20 business days with the outcome. If we cannot resolve the complaint within this time, we will contact the customer to provide an update, explain the delay and provide an indicative timeframe for resolution.
  4. The time it takes to investigate a complaint depends on its seriousness and complexity. For complaints that require deeper investigation, we will provide the customer with the contact details of the person or team reviewing the complaint.
  5. Consistent with the principles of fairness and respect, we will:
    • ensure that a complaint about a staff member is not investigated by the staff member who is subject of the complaint
    • consider each complaint on its merits
    • objectively evaluate all relevant facts and evidence the customer provides
    • disclose any perceived, potential or actual conflict of interest
    • ensure that customers are treated fairly regardless of any feedback or complaints they provide.
  6. We will explain the outcome of our investigation of a complaint to the customer. The customer will have the opportunity to respond before we finalise the complaint.
  7. If a customer is not satisfied with the outcome, they may seek further assistance from the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Principle 4: The ACNC will protect personal information and comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

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

Principle 5: The ACNC will review and use feedback and complaints to improve our services

  1. We value feedback and complaints about our services from customers. Feedback and complaints provide information about how the public, including charities, view our services.
  2. We will integrate this information into our daily business by ensuring that:
    • we train our staff in our process for handling complaints
    • we exercise good governance and keep appropriate records, ensuring the integrity of feedback and complaints are lodged and actioned
    • we regularly report feedback and complaints to the Commissioner and senior management, and
    • we provide feedback to our staff when it is relevant.
  3. We will use information from feedback and complaints to:
    • identify recurring issues
    • improve to our systems and processes
    • identify learning and development needs for our staff, and
    • review and evaluate work practices.

Version Control

Version Date of effect Brief summary of change
Version 1 - Initial Policy 03/12/2012 Initial policy endorsed by the Commissioner on 27/01/2015
Version 2 27/01/2015 Minor amendments to clarify process for advising ACNC of complaints or compliments
Version 3 - Amendments 09/07/2019

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

Version 4 15/04/2021 New template updated
Version 5 31/05/2021 Ombudsman reference added
Version 6 04/10/2021 Links and information updated to ensure consistency with related procedures

References