The Act specifies a complaint can be finalised in one of a number of ways:
- Lapsed by the Commissioner if there is no response to attempts by the Commission's conciliation officers to contact the complainant, or if the person does not provide information to actively pursue the complaint
- Withdrawn by the complainant at any time. This can occur if the complainant is satisfied with the initial response from the respondent, or has, achieved a satisfactory resolution of their complaint
- Conciliated when both complainant and respondent achieve mutually agreed outcome or outcomes
- Referred to the State Administrative Tribunal by the Commissioner if it cannot be conciliated and the Commissioner believes there is an arguable case
- Dismissed by the Commissioner if it is lacking in substance, misconceived, vexatious or frivolous. A complainant can request in writing that a dismissed complaint be referred to the Tribunal after dismissal.
One hundred and thirty nine complaints (29.6%) were resolved through conciliation, whilst 25.7% were dismissed, and 24.3% withdrawn. These outcomes are similar to the outcome of complaints in past years.
The manner in which complaints were conciliated in the past two years. In the current financial year there was a modest increase in the number of complaints where an apology formed part of the resolution, and a decline in the number of complaints which involved a monetary settlement. Some complaints are resolved in more than one way, for instance the resolution of the complaint may include a monetary settlement, a policy change and an apology.
Time taken to resolve complaints
The Commission aims to investigate and conciliate or finalise complaints in a timely manner without compromising the ability of all participants to be treated fairly and achieve satisfactory outcomes.
In 2017-18 a total of 84.7% complaints resolved in under six months, and 98.5% in under 12 months. The length of time taken to resolve complaints within six months and 12 months has increased to 3.9 months compared to previous year’s average of 3.6 months; this is due to factors including the complexity of issues raised by an increasing number of complainants and reduction in the number of conciliation officers.