Ombudsman launches complaints enquiry

The complaint handling processes of Victoria’s 79 local councils are set to be scrutinised by the Victorian Ombudsman after the launch of a new enquiry earlier this month.

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass said that the enquiry is set to assess the practices of councils when handling complaints, whether or not they make it easy for members of the public and how they take action in resolving complaints.

It will assess the extent to which councils have implemented advice from the Victorian Ombudsman’s 2015 Councils and complaints – A good practice guide and whether more tools need to be developed to assist councils. It will also assess the level of consistency between councils in how they record complaints.

“Complaints about local government typically account for about a quarter of all complaints to my office each year,” Ms Glass said.

“Given the breadth of services councils provide to Victorian communities, this comes as no surprise,” she said.

“But it is important that councils themselves are responsive to the concerns being raised by their communities. Complaints are free feedback, and if used effectively, help councils improve their service to the public. We want to work with councils to ensure they’re encouraged and equipped to resolve complaints in a fair and timely manner.”

The findings are expected to be released in mid-2019.

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