DERWENT VALLEY COUNCIL CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARTER. Table of Contents. Reviewed by Council: Date: 19/04/2012 Decision No: 74/12. Review Date: March 2014

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1 DERWENT VALLEY COUNCIL CUSTOMER SERVICE CHARTER Reviewed by Council: Date: 19/04/2012 Decision No: 74/12 Review Date: March 2014 Signed by: Stephen Mackey General Manager 19/04/12 Table of Contents INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE... 2 SCOPE... 2 POLICY PROVISIONS Our Customer Service Standards Quality Service Courteous Service Informative Service Timely Service Customer Complaints Management Process Definitions Making a Complaint Responses to Complaints Personal Information Protection Avenues of Appeal Complaints Reporting... 7 Figure 1: Complaints Management Process Complaints of Non-Compliance or Offence... 9

2 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE This policy has been developed to comply with Section 339F of the Local Government Act 1993 which requires a Council to adopt a specifying the following: Required under Section 339F(2) of the Local Government Act 1993 The principles relating to services provided by the Council; Procedures for dealing with complaints related to services provided by the Council; Required under Section 30 of the Local Government (General) Regulations 2005 The manner in which a complaint referred to in section 339E of the Act may be made (note that s339e refers to complaints relating to non-compliance of an Act of Parliament or an offence by Council, Councillors, or employees under the Local Government Act;) The manner in which a response to a complaint is to be made; The opportunities for a review of a response by the General Manager; The periods within which complaints are to be dealt with; Other actions that may be taken if a complainant is dissatisfied by the response; Reporting of the complaints received. SCOPE This policy applies to all employees, contractors, subcontractors, volunteers, Councillors and representatives of the Derwent Valley Council and all areas of Council activity. POLICY PROVISIONS 1. Our Customer Service Standards Derwent Valley Council is committed to providing our customers with quality, courteous, informative and timely service that meets or exceeds their expectations. Specifically, Derwent Valley Council is committed to the following customer service standards: 2

3 2. Quality Service 2.1 A high standard of presentation and performance in the delivery of all Council services; 2.2 Council s facilities to be maintained in a safe and proper manner and be readily accessible; 2.3 Customers to be provided with accurate and appropriate information in response to requests and complaints; 2.4 Council to practice an impartial and ethical decision-making process; 2.5 Appropriately trained and qualified employees and consultants to ensure accurate and quality advice and service. 3. Courteous Service 3.1 Customers to be treated as individuals by officers who will be respectful, open and honest at all times; 3.2 Council Officers to be clearly identified in dealings with customers, either by personal introduction or name badge; 3.3 Council Officers visiting customers homes to clearly display their Council identification badge; 3.4 Council Officers to listen to the needs of the customer and make all possible attempts to resolve issues and problems. 4. Informative Service 4.1 Customers to be well-informed of all services and amenities provided by the Council; 4.2 Customers to be advised in advance where possible of any disruption to Council services; 4.3 Council to provide customers with alternative avenues of approach where Council is unable to directly assist the customer; 4.4 Council publications, correspondence, brochures and flyers to be written in plain language and in a reader friendly manner. 5. Timely Service 5.1 Telephone calls to be answered promptly; 5.2 Responses to telephone messages to be made promptly, but at the latest, before the close of business the following working day; 3

4 5.3 Counter service queuing time to not exceed five minutes; 5.4 Timely responses to written correspondence to be provided (within 10 working days); 5.5 Council Officers to be punctual for arranged meetings and appointments; 5.6 Other Service Related Commitments Persons with disabilities to be able to access Council s services; Customers to be involved in community decision making processes wherever possible; Customer privacy to be respected at all times and personal information treated confidentially. 6. Customer Complaints Management Process Derwent Valley Council places great importance in the manner in which it deals with customer complaints about Council s service. The information provided below is supported by Council s Complaints Management Policy and Procedures. 7. Definitions 6.1 What is a Customer Complaint? A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with a decision, level or quality of service provided by Council, or behaviour of a Council employee or agent, which can be investigated and acted upon. This is distinct from a request for service, however a request for service may develop into a complaint where the provision or timeliness of the service is considered unsatisfactory. Complaints lodged about decisions made within a structured process are not treated as complaints for the purposes of the complaints management process described in this document. A structured process is where legislation specifically provides for an appeal, or an internal or external review of a decision. Complaints, as referred to in the formal complaints management process, do not include: A request for service (unless there was no response to a first request for service) A request for information or an explanation of a policy or procedure Disagreement with a Council policy Reports of damaged or faulty infrastructure 4

5 An expression of dissatisfaction with the behaviour of a Councillor Reports about neighbours, noise, dogs, nuisances or unauthorised building work Many of the issues above are known as complaints as a customer is unhappy about the situation and wants something done. The actions Council takes to resolve many complaints are an everyday part of organisational life for a Council due to the nature of services provided, and are dealt with separately to the formal complaints management process. 8. Making a Complaint 7.1 Who to complain to Each Department of the Council is responsible for handling and recording its own complaints. Customers should make their complaint to the responsible Department (refer to Directory of Services at the back of this Charter), but if in doubt or if preferred, should ask for assistance at the Customer Service desk or on the main switchboard telephone number. Any Council staff member may record the details of a complaint. 7.2 How Complaints May Be Made Complaints may be made in person, by telephone, in writing or via a Councillor. An optional Complaint Form is available to assist customers in making a complaint. 7.3 When Making a Complaint, a Customer Normally Needs to Provide Full details of their name, address and telephone contact number before a complaint will be registered (Anonymous complaints are considered at the discretion of the relevant Department Manager dependent on the seriousness of the complaint and provided there is sufficient information to enable an investigation to be made) Sufficient details for the complaint to be actioned (including key dates and times, description of events, copies of relevant documents etc) As much detail as possible should be included when making a complaint, and it is recommended (though not compulsory) that complaints are made in writing. The Complaint Management Process 5

6 All complaints, regardless of how they are received, are recorded by the relevant staff member on Council s Complaints Register. Very serious complaints will be referred to the General Manager in the first instance. Officers investigating complaints are to follow Council s Complaints Management Policy and Procedures. The investigation process includes: Examination of the information already available and follow up of any points requiring clarification; Consideration of Council policies that might have a bearing on the complaint; Consideration of whether or not the Council is at fault; Consideration of any necessary action to be taken to correct the faults identified; and Consideration of a review of Council s procedures to avoid recurrence of a similar complaint. 9. Responses to Complaints Council will investigate and respond to all complaints within 20 working days, except for complicated issues, in which case, complainants will be advised when a response is likely to be given. In responding to complainants, Council shall provide reasons for its decisions. In those cases where the complaint is received in writing, Council s response will be given in writing. 10. Personal Information Protection Derwent Valley Council customers can expect their privacy to be respected and personal information treated confidentially throughout the complaint management process. 11. Avenues of Appeal 10.1 Appeal to the General Manager If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the Departmental complaint process, a review of the complaint by the General Manager can be sought. 6

7 The General Manager will inform the customer in writing of the findings on completion of his/her investigation Further Appeal Should the customer be dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation process, or if a complaint remains unresolved, the customer may explore other avenues, such as: The State Ombudsman; The Local Government Office within the Department of Premier and Cabinet; or The Administrative Appeals process. 12. Complaints Reporting The General Manager is to provide Council with a report at least once a year of the number and nature of complaints received. The number and nature of complaints will also be reported in Council s Annual Report. 7

8 Figure 1: Complaints Management Process Complaint received by Council staff member In writing (optional Form) In person By telephone Via councillor If complaint is about the relevant Department Manager Refer to General Manager for action rious complaint Staff Member receiving complaint collects all information and logs onto Complaints Register. Refers to relevant Department Manager for action RELEVANT MANAGER Confirms accuracy of information recorded with complainant and investigates complaint. Within 20 working days Response to complaint: To outline reasons for decision where contrary to complainant s wishes) To advise complainant of avenues of appeal (to the General Manager in the first instance, then Ombudsman, LGD etc.) If complaint is about the General Manager Refer to Mayor for action (Investigation process as per Complaints Management Policy and Procedures) Investigation Process (as per Complaints Management Policy and Procedures) If complex case, complainant to be advised of expected timeframes. In writing (if complaint in writing) or by telephone Complainant appeals to General Manager GENERAL MANAGER Investigates complaint Within 20 working days General Manager s response to complaint: To be made in writing To outline reasons for decision where contrary to complainant s wishes) To advise complainant of avenues of appeal (State Ombudsman, Local Govt Division, Administrative Appeals) Investigation Process (as per Complaints Management Policy and Procedures) If complex case, complainant to be advised of expected timeframes. 8

9 13. Complaints of Non-Compliance or Offence A customer may make a complaint to the Director of Local Government that a Council, Councillor or General Manager has failed to comply with the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act. A customer may also make a complaint to the Director of Local Government that a Councillor, General Manager or employee of a Council may have committed an offence under the Local Government Act Such complaints must be made in writing, identify the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is made, give particulars as to the grounds of the complaint and be verified by statutory declaration. These complaints should be sent to the Director of Local Government, Local Government Office, Department of Premier and Cabinet, GPO Box 123, HOBART TAS Further information can be obtained from the Local Government Division on (03) Derwent Valley Council Service Directory Council Offices General Enquiries / Customer Service (24 hrs) Circle Street, New Norfolk, 7140 Web: Business Hours: 8:15am 5:00pm Environmental Services Building Control Plumbing Control Fire Abatement Natural Resource Management Animal Control Waste Management Public Health Planning Control Works Department Storm Water Operations Solid Waste Operations Reserves and Facilities Operations Transport Operations Infrastructure Management 9

10 Corporate and Executive Services Corporate Management/Administration Human Resource Management Public Relations Risk Management Economic and Industrial Development Regional Renewal Emergency Management and Operations Community Development Community and Cultural Development Home and Community Care Children s Services Youth Services Family Services Financial Services Financial Management 10

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