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Managing the Complaints Process

General Complaints Process

Western Downs Regional Council intends to provide a level of customer service that does not attract complaints, but acknowledges the right of persons to provide feedback, both positive and negative, on its services and/or to lodge a complaint about a decision or other action it takes. The complaints process has been instituted to ensure that, to the greatest practical extent, any complaint is dealt with fairly, promptly, professionally, in confidence (subject to any legal requirements and in a manner respectful to the complainant.

Council’s Complaints Management Policy outlines the process for dealing with administrative complaints. An ‘Administrative Action Complaint’ is defined as a complaint about a local government’s:

  • decision, or failure to make a decision (including failure to provide a written statement for reasons for a decision);
  • act, or failure to do an act;
  • formulation of a proposal or intention; or
  • making of a recommendation.

Complaints Fact Sheet

 

Complaints about Councillors

Complaints about the conduct of Councillors should be made to the Office of the Independent Assessor. The Independent Assessor will receive and assess all Councillor conduct complaints.

The Office of the Independent Assessor may be contacted via:-

  • phone: 1300 620 722
  • email: OIAcomplaints@oia.qld.gov.au
  • in person: Level 13, 53 Albert Street BRISBANE QLD 4000
  • mail: PO Box 15031 CITY EAST QLD 4002

 

Confidentiality and Information Privacy

The confidentiality of witnesses and information is respected at all times. However, our ability to keep your information confidential may be limited depending on the seriousness of the suspected misconduct, right to information legislation and other legal processes.

Western Downs Regional Council will collect your personal information for the purposes of assessing your complaint and to ensure that Council is able to remain in contact with you regarding the status of your complaint.

Your personal information will only be accessed by employees and/or Councillors of Western Downs Regional Council. Some of this information may be given to: an external investigator for the purposes of investigation; the person complained about where the rules of natural justice requires; the Queensland Ombudsman in the event that a review of Council’s decision is requested; Council’s solicitor or insurance broker and/or underwriter where legal or insurance advice is required; the Crime and Misconduct Commission and Queensland Police Service in the event that the matter involves criminal conduct or official misconduct, and other authorised government agencies as required to process your complaint.

Subject to the above disclosures, your personal information will not be given to any other agency unless you have given us permission or we are authorised or required by law to do so.

 

How to lodge a complaint

Administrative complaints are to be directed to Council in writing (either by letter, facsimile, email or online via the complaints form) or verbally (in person at Council offices or by phone).
Complaints should be forwarded to:-
The Chief Executive Officer
Western Downs Regional Council
PO Box 551
DALBY QLD 4405
Phone: 1300 COUNCIL (1300 268 624)
Fax: (07) 4679 4099
Or emailed to info@wdrc.qld.gov.au

 

Public Interest Disclosures

A public interest disclosure (PID) is a disclosure about wrongdoing in the public sector that serves the public interest. For an allegation to be considered a public interest disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (the PID Act) it must be:

  • public interest information about serious wrongdoing or danger; and
  • an appropriate disclosure; and
  • made to a proper authority.

Members of the public can make a PID regarding:

  • A substantial and specific danger to public health and safety of a person with a disability;
  • A contravention of environmental law which is a substantial and specific danger to the environment; and
  • A reprisal.

Western Downs Regional Council has adopted a Public Interest Disclosure – Council Policy and Public Interest Disclosure Procedure.

How do I make a PID?

A PID can be reported to any “proper authority”, for example:

To identify if Western Downs Regional Council is the proper authority to make your report to, you should consider who and what the report is about.  Western Downs Regional Council would be authorised to receive a PID where:-

  • The disclosure is about the conduct of Council or its employees; or
  • Council is responsible for investigating the particular issue/s.

To make your PID –

  • In writing – Mark ‘Private and Confidential’  to PID Coordinator, Western Downs Regional Council, PO Box 551, Dalby  Qld  4405
  • In writing via email – to PIDCoordinator@wdrc.qld.gov.au
  • By phone – asking to speak to the Customer Support and Governance Manager (PID Coordinator) – Ph 1300 268 624

The PID Coordinator will assess your disclosure, and if it does not fit the criteria of a PID, it will be dealt with under the appropriate complaints management process.

What if I want to make an anonymous PID?

You can make an anonymous PID. Remaining anonymous means you do not identify yourself as the discloser at any stage to anyone. However, anonymous PIDs are often more difficult to investigate. Council strongly encourages disclosers to identify themselves if possible.

If you do identify yourself to the person who receives your PID, Council shall make every effort to keep your identity confidential. Remember that Council will not be able to inform you of any action it takes if you remain anonymous.

What are my responsibilities as a discloser?

When making a PID, you have a responsibility to:

  • Provide honest and accurate information – deliberately providing false or misleading information is an offence;
  • Provide all information currently in your possession – you must not seek to investigate the matter yourself; and
  • Make the disclosure to someone you reasonably believe is the proper authority to receive the disclosure.

Where do I get more information?

Contact the Customer Support and Governance Manager within Council’s Governance Branch for more information.

The Queensland Ombudsman website provides fact sheets and information guidelines regarding PID’s and your rights and responsibilities – https://www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au/improve-public-administration/public-interest-disclosures