Information for agencies while handling online complaints

Agencies can use the below information when reviewing their websites to identify what information might be helpful to customers.

Information topic What to include

Complaints are valued

Let customers know that your organisation values complaints and that feedback is welcome and will be treated seriously and fairly.

Definition of a complaint and distinguishing complaints from requests for service/appeals etc.

Explain what is a complaint and what is not a complaint, with examples that are relevant to your agency e.g. ‘we cannot review any decisions made by a court or tribunal’.

Distinguish complaints from matters that are dealt with through other review processes e.g. ‘complaints do not include an appeal about a fine issued’.

Distinguish complaints from a request for service where relevant to the agency. This is particularly important for agencies with regulatory responsibilities.

Methods to make a complaint

Information about the various ways to make a complaint, such as online, in person, and by telephone, email, letter or fax.

Acknowledgement of complaint

Provide information on when the complainant can expect an acknowledgement that their complaint has been received.

The acknowledgement should include an outline of the next steps, a contact point, and an approximate timeframe to resolve the complaint.

Timeframe to resolve

Provide information on approximately when it is anticipated that the complainant can expect to have their complaint resolved and that they will be informed if there are any delays and the reasons for those delays.

Assistance available

Let people know that your organisation will support people who may need assistance to make a complaint.

Set out what options are available for assistance such as interpreter services and that advocates and support people are welcome to assist a complainant.


Provide information on your privacy policy.

Anonymous complaints

Let people know that they can provide feedback and make a complaint anonymously.

This information should include a warning that people who make anonymous complaints are unlikely to know how their complaint was handled and that there may be other limitations if additional information is required about the matter.

Information on the process

Outline what a complainant can expect from the process:

  • complainants will be treated with courtesy and respect
  • which staff handle complaints
  • what steps will be taken
  • approximately how long it may take before a complainant will be provided a progress update on the complaint
  • that they will be contacted if further   information is needed
  • that at the end of the process, an   explanation of the action taken and reasons for any decisions will be given

Expectations from complainants

Set out the standard of conduct expected by each party to a complaint.

Provide information on any relevant policy e.g. Unreasonable Complainant Conduct policy

External and internal review options

Provide information about options for internal review of decisions and what a complainant can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint.

Provide information about external avenues of review and include contact details

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