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Feedback and Complaints Handling Policy

Policy name: Feedback and Complaints Handling Policy
Policy number: SP002
Version: 12.01.4
Effective: 01/02/2012

Download a copy of the Feedback and Complaints Handling Policy (PDF file - 148 KB)

 

1.0 PURPOSE
1.1 The purpose of this policy is to define how ACTION 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 ACTION uses the information from feedback and complaints to continuously improve service delivery.

 

2.0 APPLICATION
2.1 This policy applies to all complaints/feedback received by ACTION which relate to operational or other services provided by ACTION Buses.

 

3.0 CONSULTATION
3.1 This policy has been developed in consultation with ACTION’s Senior Customer Service Manager, Regional Customer Service Managers and ACTION’s Senior Management Team. It is consistent with the Directorate’s policies and procedures on feedback and complaints.

 

4.0 BACKGROUND
4.1 Through a recommendation of the Performance Audit on ACTION’s Services conducted in 2010 by the ACT Auditor-General, ACTION has recognised the need for a formal policy and robust procedures to be developed relating to the management of feedback and complaints.
4.2 ACTION policy forms an integral part of ACTION’s Governance Framework along with associated legislation. Legislation relevant to this policy includes:
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Act 2001, the
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Regulation 2002, the
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) (Minimum Service Standards), the
Public Sector Management Act 1994, and the Public Sector Management Standards.

 

5.0 PREAMBLE
5.1 ACTION will ensure that customers are made aware of:
5.1.1 where feedback and complaints can be submitted
5.1.2 how feedback and complaints can be submitted
5.1.3 what information should be provided by customers to help ACTION more effectively respond to feedback and complaints
5.1.4 the feedback and complaints handling process
5.1.5 time periods associated with the handling of feedback and complaints
5.1.6 how to obtain information on the status of feedback or a complaint
5.1.7 information on the review of decisions.
5.2 ACTION will aim to ensure that through the application of this policy:
5.2.1 feedback and complaints are addressed in a transparent, objective and timely manner
5.2.2 the Integrated Customer Support (ICS) database will be used effectively and according to relevant procedures to ensure that data is recorded accurately
5.2.3 the protection of privacy and confidentiality is maintained
5.2.4 information is maintained in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1989, the Territory Records Act 2002 and the Privacy Act 1988
5.2.5 feedback and complaints are effectively monitored and reported so that business improvement opportunities are identified
5.2.6 feedback and complaints are subject to a review/appeal mechanism
5.2.7 in responding to feedback and complaints, ACTION is compliant with all relevant legislation.

 

6.0 SUBMITTING FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
6.1 Feedback and complaints can be submitted through:
6.1.1 ACTION’s website (under the ‘Contact Us’ link)
6.1.2 in person by filling in an ACTION Customer Feedback Form, available at MyWay Centres or from Transport Officers at bus stations
6.1.3 via phone by calling the ACTION Information Line on 13 17 10
6.1.4 by writing a letter to:

ACTION Buses
GPO BOX 158
Canberra City
ACT 2601

6.1.5 or by facsimile to (02) 6207 8056.
6.2 General feedback provided to ACTION 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 ACTION cannot be guaranteed. Customers are advised to use one of the methods identified above in order to ensure a response from ACTION.

 

7.0 INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED BY CUSTOMERS
7.1 In relation to feedback and complaints about particular services, the following information will allow ACTION to investigate and respond quickly and effectively:
7.1.1 time
7.1.2 date
7.1.3 route or bus number
7.1.4 location
7.1.5 direction of travel.
7.2 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.

 

8.0 FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCESS
8.1 All feedback and complaints will be recorded in the ICS database and allocated a unique reference number. The following details will be recorded:
8.1.1 the customer’s name and contact details
8.1.2 the route services or related practices referred to
8.1.3 a description of the feedback or complaint and relevant supporting data
8.1.4 the due date for a response
8.1.5 actions taken.
8.2 An ICS reference number will be generated when information is entered into the ICS database.
The ICS reference number is a unique identifier used for all correspondence with the customer.
8.3 Feedback or complaints involving criminal allegations or misconduct by ACTION staff will not be stored in the ICS system.
8.4 When feedback or a complaint is received and recorded in the ICS system, it will be forwarded to the appropriate area within ACTION to commence investigation and action.
8.5 Where appropriate, ACTION will investigate the relevant circumstances and information
surrounding feedback or a complaint. 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.
8.6 Upon receipt of feedback/complaints, ACTION will provide a written response detailing the steps that will be taken to investigate and/or rectify the customers concern. An outcome of the investigation will only be provided where it is explicitly requested by the customer.
8.7 Where written contact cannot be made with a customer, a telephone call will be made advising the steps that will be taken to investigate and/or rectify the customers concern. An outcome
of the investigation will only be provided where it is explicitly requested by the customer.
8.8 Feedback or complaints received about criminal matters will be referred to the relevant authorities. ACTION may take steps 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.

 

9.0 TIME PERIODS ASSOCIATED WITH HANDLING OF FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
9.1 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:
9.1.1 ten working days for feedback and complaints received by ACTION through the internet, phone, or by paper correspondence
9.1.2 seven working days for feedback and complaints submitted to the Road Transport
Authority in accordance with ACT Road Transport legislation.
9.2 If ACTION is unable to resolve feedback or a complaint within the nominated timeframes, it will contact the customer to advise when the issue is expected to be resolved.
9.3 Where ACTION has requested additional information from a complainant to investigate a complaint, if ACTION has not received a response 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.

 

10.0 ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR AND FRIVOLOUS OR VEXATIOUS FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS
10.1 ACTION will always treat customers with courtesy and respect.
10.2 ACTION expects that customers will also display courtesy and respect when dealing with ACTION staff. Abusive language, discriminatory remarks and threatening behavior will not be tolerated and may result in ACTION ceasing communication with the customer.
10.3 Feedback or a complaint may not be dealt with by ACTION staff where the Senior 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.
10.4 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, ACTION staff will have regard to past dealings with the customer and the circumstances of the feedback or complaint.
10.5 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:
10.5.1 the feedback or complaint is trifling or characterised by lack of seriousness or sense
10.5.2 the feedback or complaint lacks sufficient grounds or is clearly untenable
10.5.3 the feedback or complaint serves only to cause annoyance or embarrassment to
ACTION
10.5.4 the feedback or complaint does not match operational records. For example, where
ACTION has no record of a service or bus in an alleged location and alleged time
10.5.5 the feedback or complaint has been made for a collateral purpose and not solely for the purpose of notifying ACTION of the issue.

10.6 ACTION will not continue to deal with feedback or a complaint, if:
10.6.1 the customer fails, without reasonable cause, to respond substantively to a request for information to assist in the resolution of the issue
10.6.2 a communication by the customer is misleading or deceptive
10.6.3 the feedback or complaint is offensive or defamatory
10.6.4 the customer fails to accept an offer to resolve the issue and ACTION 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.
- 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.

 

11.0 REVIEWS AND/OR APPEALS OF FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS HANDLING
11.1 Where a complainant is dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, they may write to the
Director, ACTION Buses 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.
11.2 If the complainant remains dissatisfied, they may pursue their complaint through the following
external avenues:
11.2.1 ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
11.2.2 ACT Human Rights Commission
11.2.3 ACT Ombudsman.

DICTIONARY
ACTION Corporate Governance Framework – an overarching framework that provides guidance, clarifies decision making processes, provides a measure of accountability and assures that the business meets agreed and legislated standards.
ACTION Senior Management Team – leadership group at ACTION responsible for making operational,
financial and corporate governance decisions relating to the ACTION Buses.
Complaint – a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of actions by ACTION or its staff, affecting an individual customer or group of customers. A complaint is not a request for service, requests for information, or explanation of policies and procedures.
Complainant – the person who makes the complaint.
Confidentiality – access to information is controlled.
Customer – a person who utilises ACTION’s bus services.
Dictionary – to be contained in all policy documents to identify key words or phrases for the purposes of providing and clarifying meaning.
Feedback – information about reactions to service, an officer’s performance of a task used as a basis for improvement.
Frivolous – not serious or sensible in content, attitude or behaviour.
Officer – any person engaged as a contractor, employee or officer whether temporarily or permanently working for the ACT Government.
Operational services – relates to regular route services, dedicated school routes and chartered bus
services. It also relates to work carried out by ACTION’s field staff.
Policy – a plan of action to guide decisions on specific issues to ensure sound and consistent outcomes.
Policy Development Framework – the guiding framework within which all ACTION policies are developed.
Policy Development Pathway – sets out the processes that guide the development of all policy.
Policy, Governance and Compliance Officer – this position manages the Policy Register and ensures all processes in the Policy Development Pathway are adhered to.
Policy Owner – is the person responsible for content development and review of particular policies,
usually where that policy relates to the Policy Owner’s particular functional area.
Privacy – the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view, or to control the flow of information about themselves.
Vexatious – instituted without sufficient grounds and serving only to cause annoyance.

12.0 LEGISLATIVE AND OTHER REFERENCES
ACT Government, TAMS Records Management Policy (2009)
ACT Public Service, Code of Ethics, ACT Public Service Integrity Policy Auditor General’s Report into
ACTION Bus Services
Auditor General’s Report into the Management of Feedback and Complaints at TAMS Better Practice Guide to Complaints Handling (Commonwealth Ombudsman)
Draft TAMS Feedback and Complaints Handling Guidelines
Freedom of Information Act 1989
Human Rights Act 2004
Human Rights Commission Act 2005
Privacy Act 1988
Privacy Awareness Guidelines
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Act 2001
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Regulation 2002
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) (Minimum Service Standards for Bus Services) Approval
2006 (No 1)
State Records Office of Western Australia – Complaints Policy (August 2004)
TAMS Code of Conduct
TAMS Records Management Policy
TAMS Statement of Intent
Queensland Government, Transport and Main Roads – Complaints Management Policy (October 2010)

 

13.0 REVIEW DATE
13.1 This policy will be reviewed in February 2015.

 

14.0 POLICY DEVELOPMENT
14.1 ACTION’s policies are developed within the ACT Government legislative framework and are designed to provide guiding principles in the decision making process.
14.2 All ACTION policies are developed in accordance with ACTION’s Corporate Governance
Framework and Policy Development Pathway.
14.3 Consultation with stakeholders occurs in the development and review of all ACTION policies before they are endorsed by the ACTION Senior Management Team. Public consultation is also undertaken for the development and review of all Service policies which have a direct impact on members of the public.
14.4 When endorsed, all policies are circulated to staff by the Director ACTION and placed on the
ACTION Intranet. Service policies are also available on the ACTION website. Each policy has a policy owner who is responsible for updates to content as required and regular reviews.

 

15.0 POLICY DEVELOPMENT CONTACT DETAILS
15.1 For further information on the development of this and other ACTION policy, contact: Policy, Governance and Compliance Officer
ACTION Bus Services
PO Box 158
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601
Ph. 13 17 10


 

Policy details

Policy number

SP002

Version

12.01.4

Policy name

Feedback and Complaints Handling

Policy owner

Corporate Manager

Approved by

Gary Byles on 01/02/2012

Date effective

01/02/2012

Review date

February 2015

 

Related documents

Title

Version

Customer Service Feedback Manual and Procedures

 

Customer Contact Form

 

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