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Feedback and Complaints Handling Policy

Policy name: Feedback and Complaints Handling Policy

Policy number: SP002

Version: 2016.01.1

Effective: 11/02/2016

Download: Feedback and Complaints Handling Policy (PDF file - 148 KB)

  1. PURPOSE
    1. The purpose of this policy is to define how Public Transport receives and responds to feedback and complaints so that treatment is consistent, timely and meets the needs of customers. This policy will also outline appeal mechanisms and how the information from feedback and complaints is used to continuously improve service delivery.
  2. APPLICATION
    1. This policy applies to all complaints/feedback received which relate to operational or other services provided by ACTION Buses.
  3. CONSULTATION
    1. This policy has been developed in consultation with Public Transport’s Senior Management Group, Public Transport’s Customer Service Manager and Territory and Municipal Services Directorate (TAMS) Governance. It is consistent with the Directorate’s policies and procedures on feedback and complaints.
  4. OVERVIEW
    1. Public Transport will ensure that customers are made aware of: 
      1. where feedback and complaints can be submitted 
      2. how feedback and complaints can be submitted 
      3. what information should be provided by customers to help effectively respond to feedback and complaints 
      4. the feedback and complaints handling process 4.1.5 time periods associated with the handling of feedback and complaints 
      5. how to obtain information on the status of feedback or a complaint 
      6. information on the review of decisions.
    2. Public Transport will aim to ensure that through the application of this policy:
      1. feedback and complaints are addressed in a transparent, objective and timely manner
      2. the Customer Record Manager (CRM) database will be used effectively and according to relevant procedures to ensure that data is recorded accurately
      3. the protection of privacy and confidentiality is maintained
      4. information is maintained in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1989, the Territory Records Act 2002 and the Information Privacy Act 2014
      5. feedback and complaints are effectively monitored and reported so that business improvement opportunities are identified
      6. feedback and complaints are subject to a review/appeal mechanism
      7. in responding to feedback and complaints, Public Transport is compliant with all relevant legislation.
  5. SUBMITTING FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
    1. Feedback and complaints can be submitted through: 
      1. ACTION/MyWay Customer Feedback Form https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/forms/action_feedback
      2. in person by filling in a Public Transport Customer Feedback Form, available at Access Canberra Shopfronts or from Transport Officers at bus stations 
      3. via phone by calling the ACTION Information Line on 13 17 10 
      4. by writing a letter to: ACTION Buses, GPO BOX 158, Canberra City ACT 2601
      5. by facsimile to (02) 6207 8080
      6. via Social Media. Where possible and appropriate, complaints lodged via social media will be addressed on social media. Where there is enough information provided and depending on the nature of the feedback or complaint, Public Transport will investigate the matter following the feedback and complaints handling process in Section 8.
    2. The preferred method of submitting feedback or a complaint is via the ACTION/MyWay feedback form.
    3. General feedback provided to staff in any other way (for example on the bus, or on interchange platforms) will not be considered formal feedback or a formal complaint. In these instances, a formal response from Public Transport cannot be guaranteed. Customers are advised to use one of the methods identified above in order to ensure a response from Public Transport.
  6. INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED BY CUSTOMERS
    1. In relation to feedback and complaints about particular services, the following information will allow effective investigation and a quick response: 
      1. time
      2. date 
      3. route or bus number 
      4. location 
      5. direction of travel. 
    2. Customers must be prepared to give their name and contact details for feedback and complaints to be investigated. Anonymous feedback and/or complaints may not be investigated, but will be recorded and referred to the appropriate area for information and noting only.
  7. FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCESS
    1. All feedback and complaints will be recorded in the CRM database and allocated a unique reference number. The following details will be recorded: 
      1. the customer’s name and contact details
      2. the route services or related practices referred to 
      3. a description of the feedback or complaint and relevant supporting data
      4. the due date for a response
      5. actions taken.
    2. A CRM reference number will be generated when information is entered into the CRM database. The CRM reference number is a unique identifier used for all correspondence with the customer.
    3. Feedback or complaints involving criminal allegations or misconduct by staff will not be stored in the CRM system.
    4. When feedback or a complaint is received and recorded in the CRM system, it will be forwarded to the appropriate area to commence investigation and action.
    5. Where appropriate, the relevant circumstances and information surrounding feedback or a complaint will be investigated. For complaints in particular, the level of investigation will be commensurate with the seriousness, frequency of occurrence and severity of the complaint. Where a customer’s complaint cannot be investigated for whatever reason, the complainant will be notified of this.
    6. Upon receipt of feedback/complaints, the customer will be contacted via telephone or email to acknowledge receipt of the feedback/complaint. Further information may be required to investigate the matter and depending on the nature of the matter, will detail the steps that will be taken to investigate and/or rectify the customers concern.
    7. Where further investigation is required, an outcome of the investigation will only be provided where it is explicitly requested by the customer.
    8. Where feedback or complaints received relate to criminal matters, the customer will be advised to refer the matter to relevant authorities. Steps may be taken to secure evidence of any events referred to external authorities. Any evidence secured will be undertaken in accordance with all relevant policies and/or regulations.
  8. TIME PERIODS ASSOCIATED WITH HANDLING OF FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
    1. The following timeframes for resolving complaints have been set in accordance with applicable legislation and Directorate policies. All reasonable efforts will be made to resolve issues within these timeframes:
      1. ten working days for feedback and complaints received by Public Transport through the internet, phone, by paper correspondence or via social media.
      2. seven working days for feedback and complaints submitted to the Road Transport Authority in accordance with ACT Road Transport legislation. 
    2. If feedback or a complaint is unable to be resolved within the nominated timeframes, the customer will be contacted to advise when the issue is expected to be resolved.
    3. Where additional information has been requested from a complainant to investigate a complaint, if a response has not been received from the complainant within seven days, the complaint will be closed, with no further action taken. If the complainant provides the relevant information after the complaint has been closed, it will be reopened and investigated in accordance with this policy.
  9. ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR AND FRIVOLOUS OR VEXATIOUS FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
    1. Customers will always be treated with courtesy and respect.
    2. Customers are also expected to display courtesy and respect when dealing with staff. Abusive language, discriminatory remarks and threatening behaviour will not be tolerated and may result in communication with the customer ceasing.
    3. Feedback or a complaint may not be dealt with by staff where the Customer Service Manager is satisfied at any time after receiving the feedback or complaint that it is frivolous or vexatious in nature, or is being pursued by the customer for improper purposes.
    4. As a general rule, in considering whether the feedback or complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is being pursued by the customer for an improper purpose, staff will have regard to past dealings with the customer and the circumstances of the feedback or complaint.
    5. It may be decided that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is being pursued in a frivolous or vexatious manner or for an improper purpose, if the following is satisfied:
      1. the feedback or complaint is trifling or characterised by lack of seriousness or sense
      2. the feedback or complaint lacks sufficient grounds or is clearly untenable
      3. the feedback or complaint serves only to cause annoyance or embarrassment
      4. the feedback or complaint does not match operational records. For example, where there is no record of a service or bus in an alleged location and alleged time 
      5. the feedback or complaint has been made for a collateral purpose and not solely for the purpose of notifying Public Transport of the issue.
    6. Public Transport will not continue to deal with feedback or a complaint, if:
      1. the customer fails, without reasonable cause, to respond substantively to a request for information to assist in the resolution of the issue 
      2. a communication by the customer is misleading or deceptive
      3. the feedback or complaint is offensive or defamatory
      4. the customer fails to accept an offer to resolve the issue and Public Transport is satisfied that: - the offer of resolution is reasonable - the customer’s failure to accept the offer of resolution appears to be for an otherwise collateral purpose - in failing to accept the offer of resolution, the customer is exerting or is attempting to exert or use unfair pressure or undue influence.
  10. REVIEWS AND/OR APPEALS OF FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS HANDLING
    1. Where a complainant is dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, they may write to the Director, Public Transport outlining the reason for their dissatisfaction. The Director will instigate an internal review of the handling of the complaint and where necessary the initial investigation into the complaint will be re-investigated. Following the outcome of the internal review and any further investigation, the Director will write to the complainant in response to the complaint.
    2. If the complainant remains dissatisfied, they may pursue their complaint through the following external avenues:
      • ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
      • ACT Human Rights Commission
      • ACT Ombudsman.
  11. LEGISLATIVE AND OTHER REFERENCES
    • ACT Government, TAMS Records Management Policy (2015)
    • Auditor General's Report into the Management of Feedback and Complaints at TAMS Better Practice Guide to Complaints Handling (Commonwealth Ombudsman)
    • Freedom of Information Act 1989
    • Human Rights Act 2004
    • Human Rights Commission Act 2005
    • Information Privacy Act 2014
    • Privacy Awareness Guidelines
    • Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Act 2001Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Regulation 2002
    • Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) (Minimum Service Standards for Bus Services) Approval 2006 (No 1)
    • TAMS Code of Conduct
    • TAMS Records Management PolicyTAMS Statement of Intent
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