While the ARC aims to meet the standards of service delivery set out in the ARC Service Charter, we accept that, despite our best efforts, from time to time things may go wrong and you may have a complaint about the ARC. The ARC Complaints Handling and Appeals Policy document outlines the ARC’s process for handling complaints, including general complaints.
A general complaint may be about:
- the standard of services provided by the ARC
- the diligence, competency, behaviour or attitude of ARC staff.
Step 1: Talk to us first
Individuals with a potential general complaint about the ARC are encouraged to make initial contact with the ARC staff member involved to discuss the matter.
Step 2: Submit a formal complaint to the ARC
If an individual remains unsatisfied after discussion with an ARC staff member, or in cases where an individual feels uncomfortable discussing their concerns with the ARC staff member involved, the complaints handling process is available.
All formal general complaints must be in writing and submitted by completing the General Complaints Form:
The General Complaints Form should be sent to:
Postal: The Complaints Handling Officer, Australian Research Council, GPO Box 2702, CANBERRA ACT 2601
To enable timely investigation of the complaint it is preferable that the complaint contain the following information:
- name and address of the person or organisation making the complaint
- details of the complaint
- description of what you want us to do to fix the problem
- an explanation of the reasons for the complaint.
Step 3: ARC handling of general complaints
The ARC’s Complaints Handling Officer will oversee the complaints handling process. They will:
- be the primary contact point for lodgement and enquiries regarding general complaints about the ARC
- acknowledge receipt of a formal complaint within 10 working days of receiving the complaint
- make a preliminary assessment of the legitimacy of the complaint and discuss options with you for resolution of the complaint
- collect information about the complaint and analyse the complaint against the ARC Service Charter and relevant policy documents
- once investigation of the complaint has been completed they may prepare a recommendation to the CEO
- inform the complainant of the outcome and/or remedial action taken to resolve the complaint within 30 working days of receiving the complaint (or if this is not possible they will provide an explanation for the delay).
The ARC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) may, with the assistance of ARC Executive where required, make a decision regarding the outcome of the complaint. Where applicable, the complainant will be advised of the outcome of the complaint. If the CEO decides that a general complaint is justified, a course of action will also be decided. Possible outcomes could be:
- taking steps to rectify the problem
- changing ARC policies or procedures if the complaint exposes a systemic problem.
The capacity of the ARC to deal with anonymous complaints is restricted by the complainant’s desire to remain anonymous. Anonymous complaints about the ARC do not allow the ARC to investigate specific concerns or provide the complainant with feedback as to how the complaint has been resolved. The complaint will nevertheless be considered.
Step 4: Further internal review
If a complainant is not satisfied with the ARC’s response to their complaint, they may write back to the ARC within 30 working days of receiving the ARC’s response. They should provide reasons why they feel the ARC’s response is not satisfactory. The complaint may then be referred back to the CEO for reconsideration. Where possible, a further response will be provided within 30 working days.
Step 5: External review
If a complainant has completed each stage of the general complaints handling process and is still not satisfied, or is dissatisfied at any time during the handling of a complaint, they may wish to seek an external review of the complaint through an alternative mechanism, such as:
- Commonwealth Ombudsman
- Privacy Commissioner
- Australian Information Commissioner
- Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme)