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Complaints about Commission staff
The Commission’s service charter outlines the nature and level of service the public can expect from Commission staff. The service charter is published on the Commission’s website at www.fwc.gov.au.
The website provides information on how to make a complaint or provide feedback on the Commission’s administrative activity. The Commission uses feedback and complaints to identify service problems and potential improvements, while recognising that each year some complaints involve issues that are outside the jurisdiction or authority of the Commission’s administration.
The Commission aims to respond to written complaints within 20 working days. In 2020–21, the Commission responded within an average of 10 working days, the same response time as in 2019–20.
Complaints about Members
The Commission has a separate process for dealing with complaints about Members, in accordance with the Fair Work Act. Information about the complaint handling process is available on the Commission’s website.
When conducting hearings and conferences, Member responsibilities include listening to evidence, understanding relevant information and ensuring that proceedings are fair and that parties are treated with courtesy and respect. The Fair Hearings Practice Note is available on the Commission’s website.
Reporting about complaints
The President deals with complaints about Members, including by discussing them with the person concerned. Complaints concerning a Member’s conduct are reported according to whether they were substantiated.
A substantial number of complaints involved issues that were outside the Commission’s jurisdiction or authority or which are appropriately dealt with through other processes such as lodging an appeal, applying for judicial review or seeking a remedy through existing processes such as making a recusal application. Complaints about the content of modern awards or enterprise agreements usually cannot be resolved through the complaints process and require a formal application to be lodged to amend or vary these instruments.
In 2020–21, a total of 125 complaints were received, equating to 0.4 per cent of the 29,631 applications lodged in the reporting period, as set out in Table 3.
Table 3: Complaints
Total Member complaints1
Member conduct in relation to a conference or hearing – not substantiated2
Member conduct in relation to a conference or hearing – partially substantiated or acknowledged2
Member conduct – referral to external complaint handler
Member conduct – referral to the Minister
Member conduct – referral to another agency
Total of all other complaints1