What is a Complaint?

A complaint includes a communication which is either written or verbal and expresses dissatisfaction with:

  • the quality of an action taken, decision made or result of a service provided by an employee or a contractor engaged by Council
  • the delay by an employee or a contractor in taking action, making a decision or providing a service
  • a policy or decision made by Council, an employee or contractor.

What is not a Complaint?

The following are not considered to be complaints as they have different pathways for resolutions:

  • a request for service, e.g. a new bin or to fix a pothole
  • a request for information, documents or explanation of policies, e.g. a request for information relating to a DA
  • disputes between neighbours not relating to Council business, e.g. a dispute about loud noise/music late at night
  • a complaint about information provided from a Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPA) application
  • an internal complaint about a fellow staff member
  • a complaint that is subject to a statutory process
  • a complaint involving a State Government or Federal Government department/policy/law, e.g. roads under the care of RMS.

How to make a Complaint

A formal complaint can be lodged:

  • in person at Council’s Customer Service Centre, 22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill
  • by phone 02 9879 9400
  • by email
  • by letter to Hunter’s Hill Council, PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW, 2110

Complaint Handling Process

Step 1 - Receipt of complaint by Frontline Staff

Our staff will seek to resolve complaints wherever possible at first contact.

If customers are still dissatisfied or the complaint cannot be resolved by front-line staff, the matter will be referred to a senior staff member who will acknowledge the complaint within 2 working days. All complaints received will be recorded in our corporate business system for audit and reporting purposes.

Step 2 - Review and Investigation

Council will acknowledge complaints within 2 working days of the complaint being received. A reference number will be provided to the customer assist in tracking the complaint and monitoring the progress for resolution.

The complaint will be directed to the most appropriate person within Hunter’s Hill Council, who will be responsible for keeping customers up-to-date on the progress of the complaint.

In acknowledging the complaint, a proposed course of action for resolution will be set out, including advice regarding the expected timeframe for an outcome.

Step 3 - Resolve or Independent Review

Throughout the review process, Council may contact customers to discuss concerns or to ask for more information. For more complex matters, a further investigation may be warranted.

Council will write back regarding the final outcome of any internal investigations.

Step 4 - Reporting and Monitoring Complaints

Council is committed to the following customer experience values:

  • keeping customers informed
  • active listening to feedback
  • adapting processes to ensure we meet out service standard requirements
  • responding effectively and consistently to customer requests.

To monitor and determine whether we are meeting our customer commitments, Council staff will regularly report to the Executive on the number and type of complaints it receives, and whether complaints have been resolved. Council considers complaints as an opportunity to improve our service to the community.

Complaints Handling Policy(PDF, 196KB)

Unreasonable Conduct by Complainants 

The NSW Ombudsman defines unreasonable complainant conduct as ‘…any behaviour by a current or former complainant which, because of the nature of its frequency raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues for the parties to a complaint.’

Council has a Managing Unreasonable Conduct by Complainants Policy(PDF, 1MB) in place to ensure that Council acts fairly, consistently, honestly and appropriately when dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct and to ensure that all staff feel confident and supported in taking action to manage this behaviour.

External Agencies

Where a complaint cannot be resolved within Council, where a complainant feels that their complaint has not been resolved by Council, they can refer to matter to an outside agency to seek resolution. External agencies include:

NSW Ombudsman

The NSW Ombudsman is an independent integrity agency that pursues fairness for the people of NSW. It strives to ensure that those entrusted with public power and resources fulfil their responsibilities and treat everyone fairly.

02 9286 1000

Office of Local Government

The Office of Local Government's (OLG) investigations role is limited and deals specifically with the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 and Councillor misconduct.

02 4428 4100

Independent Commission Against Corruption

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigates corruption, which is the deliberate or intentional wrongdoing involving (or affecting) a public official or public authority in NSW.

02 8281 5999