Complaints and notifications
We classify our complaints and notifications as ‘formal’ or ‘informal’.
‘Formal’ matters are commonly written and we have a statutory responsibility to respond in writing. However, we consider contacts from vulnerable people in a formal way if they raise concerns of sufficient seriousness.
We classify matters as ‘informal’ if we can answer the person’s questions, address their concerns, or give them information without needing to take any formal steps. We commonly categorise phone calls and visits to our office as informal. We are also often sent copies of complaint letters directed to other agencies, which we categorise as informal matters.
With the matters we oversight, we try to reduce the number of matters reported to us by working with agencies to improve the way they deal with complaints. If we are satisfied that an agency has sound complaint handling and investigative systems in place, we can enter into a formal agreement with them called a class and kind agreement. Although we may not receive certain complaints and notifications, we proactively audit how these complaints are handled by the agency.
We report on the number of matters received annually, based on financial years.The complaints and notifications numbers can change from year to year depending on any number of things including any changes to our class or kind agreements or high profile public interest issues being discussed within the community.
In 2017–18, we had a decrease in formal and informal matters received and finalised – see table 1
Table 2 shows the formal and informal matters received and finalised over the last five years excluding police matters.
In 2017–18 we received 9,260 formal matters and 31,427 informal matters. We finalised 9,464 formal matters and 31,601 informal matters.
The following table shows the numbers of formal complaints and notifications received each quarter over the last four financial years. The graphs show the numbers received each month over the last four financial years.
Formal complaints and notifications received
The following table shows the numbers of informal complaints and notifications received each month over the last four financial years. The accompanying graph shows visually informal complaint trends over this period.
Informal complaints received