Local Government Act 2020 Requirements

Sections 106 and 107 of the Local Government Act 2020 provide the requirements for the process and policy of complaints handling.

(1) A Council must develop and maintain a complaints policy that includes

(a) a process for dealing with complaints made to the Council; and

(b) a process for reviewing any action, decision or service in respect of which the complaint is made; and

(c) a discretion for the Council to refuse to deal with a complaint which is otherwise subject to statutory review; and

(d) the prescribed processes for dealing with complaints about the Council; and

(e) the prescribed processes for internal review of complaints made to a Council; and

(f) the prescribed processes for exercising the discretion referred to in paragraph (c); and

(g) any other matter prescribed by the regulations.

(2) A review process must provide for a review that is independent of—

(a) the person who took the action; and

(b) the person who made the decision; and

(c) the person who provided the service.

(3) For the purposes of the complaints policy, complaint includes the communication, whether orally or in writing, to the Council by a person of their dissatisfaction with—

(a) the quality of an action taken, decision made or service provided by a member of Council staff or a contractor engaged by the Council; or

(b) the delay by a member of Council staff or a contractor engaged by the Council in taking an action, making a decision or providing a service; or

(c) a policy or decision made by a Council or a member of Council staff or a contractor.

(4) A Council must develop the first complaints policy under this section within 6 months of the commencement of this section.

2 (e) service delivery must include a fair and effective process for considering and responding to complaints about service provision.

We recognise that in the most part councils will only need to update existing complaints handling documents to comply with these requirements. For those that don't have documents in place, this might be a great place to help share and refine.

Local Government Victoria has been working with the Victorian Ombudsman's office to review and update of the Councils and Complaints - a good practice guide 2nd edition to align with the new requirements of the Act. More information about the Ombudsman, including contact details, is available from www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au.

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