Complaints Management Policy & Procedures

Riverland Link is committed to managing complaints in an accountable, transparent, timely and meaningful way.

Riverland Link is committed to the following complaints management principles: 
• ensure complaints can be lodged without fear of retribution 
• protect confidentiality and privacy of complainants 
• fair, objective and professional assessment of complaints
• ensure complaints are resolved in a timely fashion 
• ensure the application of natural justice 
• clear accountability for complaints handling
• integrate complaints information into business improvement processes

The Riverland Link Complaints Management Framework is shown below: 
Riverland Link Complaints Management Policy 
Riverland Link Complaints Management Procedures – Internal Complaints 
Riverland Link Complaints Management Procedures – External Complaints

Scope
All complaints regarding Riverland Link are within the scope of this policy.  This policy does not replace, modify or revoke any legislative, contractual or other South Australian or Federal Government Directive requirements for the management of particular types of complaints. Such matters are defined as "specific complaints" and are addressed within the complaints procedures documents. 

The following are not classified as complaints and are out of scope of this policy: 
• Feedback obtained during consultation 
• Queries and requests for information

Applicability
This policy and supporting documentation applies to all Riverland Link staff, including temporary, casual and contracted staff.

Objectives
The objectives of this policy are to provide: 
a)  A uniform and effective mechanism for the management and prompt resolution of complaints; 
b)  Meaningful management information designed to highlight adverse trends and systemic problems associated with Riverland Link’s policies, products or services. This information will be considered, and if appropriate, used to improve business processes.

Rationale
Riverland Link's objective is to provide a high quality local phone book and business directory for the region in South Australia known as the Riverland. Feedback about our policies, products and services is highly valued as a means of gauging their efficiency and effectiveness and identifying areas for continuous improvement. This policy acknowledges customers, employees and all other parties who deal with Riverland Link have a right to raise concerns and make complaints about Riverland Link’s policies, products and services. Riverland Link's Complaints Management Framework is consistent with the Australian Standard ISO 10002:2006 Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations.

Policy and Procedural Elements
Complaints management in Riverland Link reflects the following elements.

Visibility and Access
• Complaints about Riverland Link's policy, products or services can be lodged by any member of the public, client, employee or other stakeholder. 
• Information regarding where and how to lodge a complaint and anticipated response times is readily available through it’s publication in the PND. 
• Unless there are legislative, contractual or other South Australian or Federal Government Directive requirements, complaints are accepted either both verbally and in writing as well as through a variety of means such as face-to-face, by telephone, text message, by letter, email or fax. 
• Riverland Link ensures the complaint process is flexible and no one is excluded from making a complaint. People from non-English speaking backgrounds; those with a visual or hearing impairment, learning disability or those who have decreased literacy skills may only be able to make a complaint in a particular communication format or mode such as through an interpreter, sign language, audio CD or audio tape. Riverland Link staff, where appropriate and necessary will assist complainants in the process of lodging a complaint.

Responsiveness
• Complaints can be of a sensitive and complex nature and may require detailed investigation and analysis. Timeframes for the management of complaints are to be reasonable and may not be excessively drawn out. Complaints will be addressed within 5 business days of being received. Riverland Link will meet legislative, contractual and other South Australian & Federal Government Directive requirements if they apply. 
• Riverland Link staff will be trained in complaints handling and will be provided with information and education through established Riverland Link mechanisms such as the Intranet, induction training and information sessions. This ensures a consistent approach is followed in the management and resolution of complaints across Riverland Link's operations.

Assessment and Action
• All complaints are managed in accordance with the complaints management principles detailed in section 1 of this policy. 
• Upon receiving a complaint, Riverland Link staff must take reasonable steps to ensure that the complaint is properly understood and seek clarification or additional information from the complainant where required. 
• Complaints are assessed, recorded and reported by Riverland Link management in relation to the product or service the complaint is about. A complaint received about the service of a particular Riverland Link employee is assessed and investigated by their supervisor/manager. 
• A preliminary assessment of the complaint is conducted to determine if it is a "specific complaint", as detailed in the procedures. 
• All complaints will be addressed with in a timely manner and Riverland Link will address the compliant in a practical and professional manner with the aim of achieving a satisfactory outcome for the both the complainant and Riverland Link.

Feedback
• The progress of the complaint is monitored until the outcome has been communicated to the complainant and all reasonable avenues have been exhausted. 
• If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome, they are advised of independent review mechanisms. 
• Riverland Link ensures continued improvement in its administration through meaningful feedback within its structure about potential improvements identified as a result of complaints. 
Monitoring Effectiveness 
• Complaint trends for the business are reported to the Managing Director on a regular basis. 
• Managing Director is responsible for implementing the Complaints Management Framework within the Riverland Link. 
• Riverland Link will regularly monitor the quality and effectiveness of the Businesses Complaints Management Framework and revise relevant components where appropriate.

Benefits
This policy provides a structured framework for managing complaints, in compliance with the Australian Standard ISO 10002:2006 Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations. It also provides a means to continuously improve the Riverland Link's policies, products and services.

Definitions
• Complainant: The person who makes the complaint. 
• Complaint: The expression of dissatisfaction, orally or in writing, about the policies, product or services of Riverland Link or its staff. 
• Confidentiality: Access to the information is controlled and the information does not have to be of a personal nature. 
• External complaint: The complainant is making the complaint as a member of the public or as other stakeholder, rather than as an employee of Riverland Link. 
• Internal complaint: The complainant is making the complaint as an employee of Riverland Link rather than as a member of the public. 
• Natural justice: The process by which a fair assessment is made by an objective and unbiased decision maker who is in possession of all the pertinent facts and details of the situation. It is concerned with ensuring that decisions affecting an individual's rights and interests are reached only after the individual has been made aware of the allegations made against him/her and has had the opportunity to present his/her claims in relation to the allegation/s and this response has been fully considered. It also requires that a decision maker should have no personal interest in the matter to be decided, have no bias as to the outcome and act in good faith throughout the process. 
• Privacy: The information is of a personal nature and reasonable steps are taken to protect the personal information from loss, unauthorised access, use or disclosure. 
• Specific complaint: The complaint has specific legislative, contractual or South Australian or Federal Government Directive requirements that supersede this policy
• Systemic Problem: A deficiency in the business’ administrative process, rather than an error in judgement by an officer, which causes or contributes to a complaint

ReferencesAustralian Standard ISO 10002:2006 Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations