Codes of Practice - Appendix 8: Complaints Policy Example

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This appendix is for guidance only and does not form part of the Community Radio Codes of Practice 2008.

This is an example of a policy that could be used to meet the requirements of Code 7.

Code 7 outlines our legal requirements relating to complaint handling.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the most appropriate way for [station name] to respond to complaints, and other comments from members of the public.

  1. [station name] acknowledges the right of our listeners, members and volunteers to comment and make complaints in writing concerning:
    1. alleged non-compliance with both the licence conditions in the Act and the requirements outlined in the Codes,
    2. program content, and
    3. the general service provided to the community.
  2. We broadcast at least one on-air announcement each week that contains information about the Codes and where listeners can get a copy.
  3. [station name] will make every reasonable effort to resolve complaints, except where a complaint is clearly frivolous, without sufficient grounds or not made in good faith.
  4. [station name] will ensure that:
    1. complaints will be conscientiously considered, investigated if necessary and responded to substantively as soon as possible,
    2. complaints will be responded to in writing within 60 days of receipt (as required in the Act, and the response will include a copy of the Codes,
    3. complainants are advised in writing that they have the right to refer their complaint about a Code matter to ACMA provided they have first:
      1. formally lodged their complaint with the licensee, and
      2. received a substantive response from the licensee and are dissatisfied with this response or did not receive a response from the licensee within 60 days after making the complaint.

    A written complaint or response can be a letter, fax or email.

  5. A responsible officer of the licensee will maintain a record of complaints and responses for a period of at least two years from the date of the complaint.
  6. The record of complaints and responses will be made available to ACMA on request.

 

Reporting and Record Keeping

To ensure stations can make a full response to ACMA if requested, the station is advised to include in their procedures the following steps:

To keep a record of material relating to complaints, including logging tapes or audio copies of broadcast material, and written documentation for one year, including:

  1. the date and time the complaint was received,
  2. the name and address of the complainant,
  3. the substance of the complaint, and
  4. the substance and date of the licensee’s response.

 

[station name] Complaints Pro Forma

Remember to treat all complaints from the public in a serious and polite manner. The person would not bother to make the complaint unless they held a genuine interest in the station and felt they had legitimate concerns. Do not be dismissive of their approach to the station. Assure them that their complaint will be taken seriously and will be dealt with professionally and according to established policy.

Nature of Complaint

A complaint should relate to a Code of Practice. NB: Complaints relating to potentially defamatory material must be relayed to your insurance company immediately.

...................................................................................................................................................................

...................................................................................................................................................................

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Program associated with complaint:

...................................................................................................................................................................

Date and Time of Program Broadcast:

...................................................................................................................................................................

Contact Details of Complainant

Name of person making the complaint:

...................................................................................................................................................................

Address:

...................................................................................................................................................................

...................................................................................................................................................................

Telephone:

(B) .......................................................................... (H) ...........................................................................

Complaints Process

This process must be completed within 60 days from the date on which the complaint was made.

The appropriate person at the station:

Name: .....................................................................................................................................................

Date:    .....................................................................................................................................................

ACTION Y N DATE
Receives the verbal complaint      

NOTES:

 

Receives the formal complaint in writing      

NOTES:

 

Checks the logged program material
(and keeps the log for 60 days from the date of complaint)

     

NOTES:

 

Sends written station response to complainant      

NOTES:

 

Organises follow-up with complainant (e.g. meeting)      

NOTES:

 

Provides contact details for ACMA complaint *      

NOTES:

 

All relevant documents in Complaints File      

NOTES:

 

 * Contact details for ACMA are as follows

  • Community Broadcasting Complaints
    Community Broadcasting Group ACMA
    PO Box Q500
    Queen Victoria Building
    Sydney NSW 1230

  • email to: communitybroadcasting@acma.gov.au

  • fax to: (02) 9334 7799

See: ACMA Web Site

 

Results

The complaint is:

  • resolved
  • unresolved

Name of station representative: .........................................................................................................

Position: ..................................................................................................................................................

Signed: ....................................................................................................................................................

This Complaints Sheet was developed by the CBAA.