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Wage Inspectorate Victoria's complaints and feedback policy

How you can give us feedback or make a complaint, and how we'll handle the information you provide.

Introduction

Wage Inspectorate Victoria (the Wage Inspectorate) enforces Victorian-based workplace laws contained in the Child Employment Act 2003 (CE Act), the Long Service Leave Act 2018 (LSL Act),  the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFC Act) and the Wage Theft Act 2020 (WT Act). These Acts generally aim to protect Victorian workers and improve conditions in Victorian workplaces.

We achieve these aims by providing advice through our information line and website, assessing child employment permit applications, resolving long service leave claims and undertaking a range of compliance functions including intelligence-led risk-based auditing, investigations and prosecutions.

We welcome feedback and value your comments on the service you receive. While we make every effort to deliver the highest value services to the public, we recognise that there may be occasions when people are not fully satisfied with the service they have received.

Members of the public have a right to complain and we encourage and welcome feedback about our performance. Feedback from the Victorian public and our stakeholders allows us to improve our understanding of community and stakeholder expectations and helps us to continually improve our service delivery. It is also one of many ways we demonstrate the public sector values of integrity and accountability.

This policy:

  • puts in place an open and transparent complaint handling system
  • sets out how members of the public can provide feedback or make a complaint
  • establishes our timeframes for resolving complaints
  • provides a process for our staff to handle complaints fairly and objectively
  • sets out what you can expect if you contact us to make a complaint or provide feedback
  • sets out how our staff record and analyse complaint data to identify where we can improve our services.

Guiding principles

This policy is based on 7 principles.

1. Commitment

We are committed to resolving complaints and have a culture that recognises an individual’s right to complain. We value complaints and feedback and recognise them as being part of our business of serving the community and improving service delivery.

2. Accessibility

People with a range of needs can easily provide feedback on our performance. Our staff will help them to navigate the complaints process.

3. Transparency

We make it clear how to complain and provide feedback, where to complain and provide feedback, and how the complaint or feedback will be handled. The steps taken to respond to a complaint are recorded and will be appropriately scrutinised.

4. Objectivity and fairness

Complaints are dealt with courteously, impartially and within established timeframes. They are assessed on merit.

5. Privacy

Complaint information is handled according to privacy laws and other relevant legislation.  We will remove personal data or identifying details from complaint data if we publicly report on it.

6. Accountability

We are accountable internally and externally for our performance in making decisions and handling complaints. We provide explanations and reasons for decisions and ensure that our decisions are subject to appropriate review processes.

7. Continuous improvement

Acting on, learning from and using complaint data helps us identify problems and improve our services.

Definitions

Term Meaning
Feedback Unsolicited commentary from the public or stakeholders about the Wage Inspectorate and/or its services.
Complaint An expression of dissatisfaction with the quality of an action taken, a decision made or a service provided.
Complainant A person, organisation or authorised representative who makes a complaint about the quality of an action taken, a decision made or a service provided.

Scope

This policy applies to all Wage Inspectorate staff. It also applies to third party contractors carrying out services on our behalf.

This policy does not extend to the review of:

  • decisions made during investigations where that particular matter is before the Courts
  • infringement notices issued under the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act. These have a separate mechanism for review.

Our approach to handling complaints

We follow the Enable, Respond, Learn and Improve model to handle feedback and complaints from the public.

The principles of this model are to:

  • enable members of the public to provide feedback or make a complaint
  • respond by taking action to resolve the feedback or complaint
  • learn and improve by analysing feedback and complaint data to improve services.

This policy is read in conjunction with the Wage Inspectorate’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy and the following Victorian Ombudsman publications:

How do I provide feedback or make a complaint?

If you have feedback, a complaint or are dissatisfied and you are already dealing with a Wage Inspectorate officer, you should discuss your issues directly with that officer. Our staff will try to resolve your concerns as quickly and informally as possible.

Our frontline staff are empowered to respond and manage issues as they arise. This may include escalating matters to managers if appropriate.

If your complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, you can provide feedback or make a complaint in a number of ways.

You can also use these channels to:

  • provide general feedback on the service you have received
  • make a complaint about the service you have received from us or the conduct of one of our officers
  • seek a review of a decision made in respect of the outcome of a child employment permit application, long service leave complaint or any other decision made by us during or at the conclusion of an audit or investigation.

How do we handle general feedback?

In accordance with our Enable, Respond, Learn and Improve model, we catalogue all feedback and seek to use it to improve our services.

We will acknowledge feedback and, in some instances, seek more details to allow us to fully understand the feedback.

How do we handle complaints?

We take a tiered approach to handling complaints. This involves:

  1. Raising issues as they arise with the officer who the complainant is dealing with. This is the most direct way for us to be able to resolve issues.
  2. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, they may formalise their complaint by contacting us through the channels outlined in Part 6 above and setting out why they are dissatisfied. The complaint will be assigned to an officer for investigation.
  3. If the complainant is aggrieved with the outcome of an investigation, they can request an internal review.
  4. If the complainant remains aggrieved, we will inform them of their external review options.

Our process for handling complaints

1. Acknowledge the complaint

We will contact the complainant within 7 business days to confirm we have received their complaint.

2. Assess the complaint

We will assess the complaint to determine:

  • the seriousness of the issues
  • whether there is a need for urgent action (for example, if there were safety concerns)
  • whether the dispute concerns another agency and if we are the right agency to respond to the complaint
  • whether the complaint is subject to special statutory requirements, for example, a protected disclosure under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.

3. Determine the most appropriate way to respond

We use a tiered response for complaints depending on the type of complaint received. This is set out below:

  Type of complaint Officer Timeframe
Complaints that are dealt with by frontline staff

Complaints are typically those relating to:

  • the availability or quality of our online tools and resources
  • service received by our officers over the phone or in person
  • complaints regarding the timeliness and quality of our services
  • complaints relating to the outcome of an investigation or permit application
These types of issues are most appropriately raised with the officer you have been dealing with in the first instance.

We will acknowledge the feedback or complaint within 7 business days of receipt.

Our frontline staff can respond and resolve issues as they arise.

In some instances, we may decide it is appropriate to escalate matters to managers or refer the complaint to another agency, if the Wage Inspectorate is not the right agency to respond.
Unresolved complaints that may be escalated Where the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint, they can contact us through one of our channels and set out the grounds on which they believe their complaint should be escalated.

An officer within the Wage Inspectorate will be assigned to investigate the complaint.

We may not always escalate the complaint.

We will review the grounds set out in the complainant’s response and decide whether the issues have been fully dealt with in the initial review.

Where a complaint is escalated, we will investigate and advise the complainant of the outcome within 28 days.
Internal review If the complainant is aggrieved with the process or outcome of an investigation, they can request an internal review Where complaints are escalated, the complaint will be reviewed independently by a senior officer within the Wage Inspectorate who was not involved in the original decision or investigation.

An internal review will be conducted within 28 days of a request. An outcome letter signed by the officer responsible for the internal review will be provided to the complainant at the conclusion of an internal review.

The outcome letter will advise the complainant of any avenues of external review available in relation to the matter, including the Victorian Ombudsman and their contact details.

External review If we have exhausted our internal complaint management process set out above and the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, they may lodge a complaint with a Victorian complaint and dispute resolution body, usually the Victorian Ombudsman. We will advise the complainant of this avenue when we inform them of the outcome of their complaint.

The Victorian Ombudsman can be contacted between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday on (03) 9613 6222 or by using their online complaint form.

4. Communicate the outcome

We’ll keep the person initiating the feedback or complaint informed about the progress of their feedback or complaint and the outcome.

5. Share key learnings from the complaint to improve services

Complaints and feedback may offer opportunities to improve our services. We will determine whether the complaint has uncovered any system or procedural issues that need to be addressed to improve our services.

Complaints about contractors

We recognise that we retain a level of responsibility for services carried out by contractors on our behalf. If we receive feedback or a complaint in relation to a contractor, we will seek a response from the contractor and handle the complaint in accordance with the process outlined in Part 9 above.

Remedies

Where we investigate a complaint and find we have made an error, or our level of service was not at a reasonable standard in the circumstances, we will take steps to fix the situation.

Possible remedies include, but are not limited to:

  • providing an explanation of why the error occurred and the steps taken to prevent it happening again
  • issuing an apology
  • reconsidering or reversing a decision
  • providing additional information or assistance.

Accessibility

Contact us if you need this information in an accessible format such as large print. Please telephone 1800 287 287 or email us at feedback@wageinspectorate.vic.gov.au. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 and ask to be connected to Wage Inspectorate Victoria on 1800 287 287.

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 a complaint
  • disclose it in a de-identified format when disclosing data to the public
  • share it with Wage Inspectorate staff on a need-to-know basis.

Reviewed 12 July 2021

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