Analysis- Outcome 2
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The Commission’s National Information Service (NIS) and Investigation and Conciliation Service (ICS) both contribute significantly to the Commission’s key functions as Australia’s National Human Rights Institution, by providing education about human rights and responsibilities and by providing an accessible, fair and impartial complaint-handling process.
The NIS and ICS increase community knowledge and awareness of rights and responsibilities and facilitate a complaint handling process that can lead to systemic outcomes as well as outcomes specific to the needs and interests of individual parties. This is particularly effective where there are ongoing relationships between the parties, as is often the case in employment, education and service-related complaints.
In 2018–19, the ICS has continued to implement the legislative amendments to the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) that came into effect on 13 April 2017. In conjunction with successfully implementing the new legislative requirements, which include a mandatory preliminary consideration as to whether there is an appropriate reason to terminate a complaint without inquiry, the ICS has also been concentrating on streamlining complaint-handling systems. A particular focus of the ICS has been on progressing complaints that are assessed as being appropriate for priority allocation and resolution. Initial success with this approach has contributed to a reduction in overall complaint timeframes from an average of 4.6 months (in 2017–18) to 4.2 months in 2018–19.
In 2018–19, 1,010 complaints were resolved; this represents successful dispute resolution for over 2,020 individuals and organisations. The Commission achieves these outcomes through an investigation and conciliation process which, if successful, avoids the need for lengthy and potentially costly court processes. Information provided to the Commission indicates that only 2% of the complaints alleging unlawful discrimination that were finalised by the Commission in 2018–19 proceeded to court.
Continued improvements to our service delivery have enabled the ICS to consistently exceed PBS targets in terms of timeliness, outcomes and service user satisfaction.