Complaints Handling – Information for Interested Parties
The purpose of this document is to provide complaints handling information to interested parties, regarding how to make a complaint, where to make a complaint, and what complainants might reasonably expect when making a complaint which is related to Certification Oceania.
Certification Oceania takes complaints seriously and manages them in a confidential, timely, objective, transparent and meaningful way. We achieve this by:
acknowledging that a common goal is achieved with an outcome acceptable to all parties;
acting in good faith and in a calm and courteous manner;
showing respect and understanding of each other’s point of view and value difference, rather than judge and blame;
respecting and acknowledging the need for cultural appropriateness;
ensuring complaints are handled objectively and confidentially, and that clients are not unfairly treated as a result of making a complaint; and
recognising that all parties have rights and responsibilities which must be balanced; ensuring that the complaints handling process is free of charge to the complainant.
Complainant will Not be Disadvantaged
Certification Oceania shall not cease providing a complainant with certification services or otherwise recriminate against any complainant because they have made a complaint.
How to make a Complaint
Complaints can be made by completing a Certification Oceania Feedback form, which can be made available from any member of Certification Oceania staff.
Complainants will be asked to put their concerns in writing and provide all relevant supporting documentation, such that the matter can be properly investigated.
All complaints will be acknowledged and responded to as soon as practicable. Our aim is to acknowledge receipt of complaints within three business days of receipt.
Complaints will be dealt with in a timely manner and complainants will be kept informed about the progress of their complaint and anticipated timeframes.
Certification Oceania shall endeavour to resolve/close out complaints, wherever practicable, within 35 business days.
Allegations of suspected harm, risk of harm to a person or possible criminal activity will be actioned immediately by urgent referral or reporting to the relevant agency.
Information concerning the complainant shall be available where needed, but only for the purposes of addressing the complaint within Certification Oceania and such information shall be actively protected from disclosure, unless the complainant expressly consents to its disclosure, or disclosure is required by law.
Managing the Complaint
Where possible, complaints will be dealt with as quickly as possible by a senior manager, referred to as Certification Oceania’s Complaints Handling Management Representative, who is appointed by the Certification Oceania Director.
Certification Oceania’s corrective action decision/s shall be tailored to the nature and severity of the complaint and shall be subject to any statutory requirements. To address a complaint, Certification Oceania may:
gather relevant information concerning the complaint;
investigate and assess relevant information to the complaint;
refer the complaint to an independent external party (as required) – to investigate, assess, and conduct an independent review of relevant information, and provide a recommended response to the complaint; and/or
escalate the complaint to the relevant accreditation authority/body.
Where mediation is required, all parties will have the right to agree to the appointment of the mediator.
Serious matters, such as the following, shall be immediately brought to the attention of the Certification Oceania General Manager:
the safety, health or wellbeing of staff or the public; and/or
contravention of relevant legislation.
The Certification Oceania General Manager will take the lead in having such matters investigated and dealt with in a timely manner.
Follow-Up and Review
Each complaint will be viewed as an opportunity for improvement. After the complaint has been dealt with, Certification Oceania will analyse the complaint to determine if any policy or procedural changes need to be implemented.
The Certification Oceania General Manager will follow-up to confirm that complaints have been successfully resolved to relevant parties’ satisfaction.
Complainant’s Right of Appeal
If complainants are not satisfied with our decision and the outcome, they are entitled to seek review of the outcome. An application to have the outcome/decision internally reviewed must be made to Certification Oceania within 20 business days of the date of the letter communicating the original decision.
When a review is requested by a complainant, an internal review will be conducted by a staff member or external agent who was not involved in the original investigation and assessment of the complaint.
Complainants are to be made aware that:
such a review is not a new investigation of their complaint;
the review process will consider:
the process adopted by the original investigating officer and whether it was appropriate to identify the validity of the complaint and where applicable, address the concerns raised; and
the merit of the conclusions and whether they were clearly and appropriately explained to the complainant; and
the second review will finalise the complaint (subject to the finalisation of any additional matters referred back to the General Manager for consideration); and
complainants may also choose to directly engage with an external body, such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman (Level 5/14 Childers St, Canberra ACT 2600) to seek a review of Certification Oceania’s handling and/or the outcome of the complaint.
Last updated: 9 December 2020
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