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 officer to contact the complainant
- Withdrawn by the complainant at any time. This can occur if the complainant is satisfied with the initial response from the respondent, or has, with assistance from the conciliation officer, achieved a satisfactory resolution of their complaint
- Conciliated when both complainant and respondent achieve mutually agreed outcome or outcomes
- Referred to the 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, vexatious, misconceived or frivolous. A complainant can request in writing that a dismissed complaint be referred to the Tribunal after dismissal.
In this reporting year, the outcomes achieved in the complaint handling process were:
28.7% or 96 complaints were resolved through conciliation. The most common form of resolution was:
- Monetary settlement
- An apology
- An explanation from the respondent
- Education program
- Policy change
Some complaints are resolved in more than one way, for instance a monetary settlement 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 2016-17 a total of 89.6% of complaints resolved in under six months, and 99.7% in under 12 months. The length of time taken to resolve complaints within six months and 12 months has increased slightly compared to previous years; this is due to a reduction of 1.5 full time employees handling complaints, and to the complexity of issues raised by an increasing number of complainants.
Percentage of complaints resolved under six months