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Complaints policy

Our commitment to complaint handling

VCAT aims to provide Victorians with a low cost, accessible, efficient and independent Tribunal delivering high quality dispute resolution processes, including through alternative dispute resolution.

Any member of the public or group of people (including companies or public sector agencies) can make a complaint. We are committed to the following principles when handling a complaint:

  • Accessibility – we will ensure that information on how and where a complaint can be made is easily available. Our staff will actively assist customers to navigate the complaints process.
  • Customer focused approach – we will be customer focused and will respect the rights of customers to complain. We will provide customers with a timely, accessible and fair process for the lodgement and management of complaints. We will provide explanations and reasons for decisions about complaints, and ensure that our decisions are subject to appropriate review processes.
  • Responsiveness – customers with complaints will receive timely acknowledgement that their complaint has been received. We will keep customers informed of the progress of their complaint and every effort will be made to provide a response to the complaint within 10 business days.
  • Objectivity – every complaint will be addressed in an equitable, objective and impartial manner.
  • Confidentiality – all complaints are treated confidentially and are kept separate from any case files.
  • Continuous improvement – we value complaints and feedback as key to improving our services. Acting on, learning from and using complaint data helps us identify problems and improve services.

Our responsibilities

We take all complaints services seriously. While we encourage people to raise their concerns with our staff first, nothing in this policy prevents a person from making a complaint directly to VCAT's Principal Registrar.

If, in the process of responding to a complaint, VCAT reasonably suspects corruption is occurring or has occurred, we are obligated to inform the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) in accordance with section 57 of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011.

What response can I expect if I complain?

In response to your complaint we will:

  • explain the steps taken by us to investigate or resolve the complaint
  • clearly identify the outcome and, if the complaint is substantiated, the remedies you are offered
  • review and if appropriate change our processes and procedures if the complaint is substantiated, and
  • if appropriate, provide an apology.

Complaints about VCAT services or a staff member

We are committed to providing service excellence by being approachable, responsive, accessible, informal, timely, fair, impartial, consistent, professional and efficient.

Complaints about the following can be made directly to VCAT:

  • the quality of an action taken or service provided
  • the conduct of a VCAT staff member, or
  • a delay or failure in meeting our service commitments

Where possible, raise the problem first with a member of staff either in person, by telephone or by email. We may be able to resolve the issue quickly and effectively at that point. If it cannot be resolved, or if you prefer to make a written complaint, you can write to VCAT's Principal Registrar. You may also complete the complaint form and email it to our complaints team.

When you are making a complaint, you should provide details of the complaint and what action and/or remedy you are seeking.

A complaint can be made by:

Telephone:

Email: complaint@vcat.vic.gov.au

Address:
The Principal Registrar
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
GPO Box 5408, Melbourne VIC 3001

In person:
Ground floor, 55 King Street, Melbourne

or

Level 5, 223 William Street, Melbourne

How VCAT deals with complaints about services or staff

We take a three-tiered approach to resolving complaints:

  1. Frontline resolution: where VCAT staff receive a complaint, they will assess it, and where possible and appropriate, resolve it. This may include escalation of your complaint to their manager.
  2. Investigation: if our staff member cannot resolve your concern, they will refer it to VCAT's Principal Registrar for investigation and response. If you prefer, you can ask for your complaint to be referred directly to the Principal Registrar.
  3. Internal Review: if you are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation by the Principal Registrar, you can request a review by the Chief Executive Officer of VCAT.

Complaints about a VCAT member

The Judicial Commission is an independent complaints handling body. It investigates complaints about the conduct and capacity of judicial officers and VCAT members. In some instances, the Commission may refer a complaint back to VCAT for appropriate action. The Commission cannot investigate the correctness of a decision made by a VCAT member. You can contact the Judicial Commission using the following information:

Phone: 03 9604 2420
Email: enquiries@judicialcommission.vic.gov.au

Address:
Judicial Commission of Victoria
GPO Box 4305
Melbourne VIC 3001

Complaints about a VCAT member for any other reason can be made to the President of VCAT. The President may either deal with the complaint or, if appropriate, refer it to the Commission. You can complain to the President by completing the complaint form and sending to:

Email: complaints@vcat.vic.gov.au

Address:
The President
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
GPO Box 5408, Melbourne VIC 3001

Complaints about a VCAT decision

VCAT is not able to change any decisions or orders made in response to a complaint. If you are not satisfied with a VCAT decision, you can seek permission from the Supreme Court of Victoria to appeal the decision (this is called seeking ‘leave to appeal').

If you need advice on how to do this, what the associated fees are and/or a referral to a legal provider, you can contact the Self-represented Litigants Coordinator at the Supreme Court using the following information:

Phone: 03 9603 9240

Address:
Self-represented Litigants Coordinator
Principal Registry
Supreme Court of Victoria
210 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

In person (you will need to make an appointment):
Level 2, 436 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

View more on representing yourself at the Supreme Court.

Anonymous complaints and feedback

If you do not provide your name or contact details along with your complaint, this will be considered to be an anonymous complaint. We will manage these types of complaints in line with this policy. We will respond if there is sufficient information.

Comments where no response or action is sought will be treated as feedback. You can provide feedback via the feedback form on the website. Feedback will not be dealt with a complaint under this policy.

Privacy

When gathering information to respond to a complaint, we will only:

  • use it to deal with the complaint or to address systemic issues arising from the complaint
  • discuss it internally on a need to know basis, and
  • disclose it in a de-identified format when releasing complaint data to the public in our annual report.

Managing unreasonable complaint conduct

We will consider the substance of all complaints. However, we will not continue to investigate or deal with a complaint where we consider the conduct of the person making the complaint is unreasonable.

Unreasonable conduct may include (but is not limited to):

  • excessive or persistent repetition of an issue
  • inappropriate demands or expectations
  • abusive, trivial or vexatious behaviour, or
  • persistent contacting of the Tribunal or staff while a complaint is being investigated or after an outcome has been provided.

Reporting on VCAT performance

We will report on our complaint handling in our annual report where we will also detail any service improvements made as a result of complaints received. Our Director Operations and Divisional Registrars will review reports on our complaints regularly.

We will report on the following key performance indicators in VCAT's Annual Report:

  • complaints upheld, partially upheld, not upheld
  • performance against timelines set by VCAT i.e. average time to respond to complaints
  • number of changes made to services as a result of complaints
  • number of complaint outcomes overturned on internal review
  • customer satisfaction with the complaint handling system.
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