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Appendix 3 - Service charters

 

The Attorney-General's Department service charter and associated complaint-handling policy have been in operation since June 1998.

The AusCheck service charter was released on 20 August 2009 to describe to the public, and to the aviation and maritime communities, the service experience that can be expected in dealing with AusCheck and its staff. The charter is available from http://www.ag.gov.au/Nationalsecurityandcounterterrorism/Backgroundchecking/Pages/AusCheckServiceCharter.aspx

Tables A3.1 and A3.2 set out the customer services standards contained in each charter and the extent to which they were met during 2011-12.

Table A3.1: Attorney-General's Department charter - compliance with customer service standards, 2011-12

Charter Service standard Compliance with service standard

Attorney-General's Department

A reply in plain English within 28 days of receipt of complaint, including the name and telephone number of the person dealing with the complaint Single incidence of non-compliance
Personal information used only in accordance with the law Complied
Work will be undertaken with care, diligence and sensitivity to the needs of clients Complied
Strong commitment to accountability and continuous improvement Complied
Clients will be treated with courtesy, fairness and respect Complied
Staff will act responsively to client needs Complied

 

Table A3.2: AusCheck service charter - compliance with customer service standards, 2011-12

Charter Service standard Compliance with service standard
Provide timely and effective background checks for the Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) and Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) schemes Acknowledgement of 100% of all ASIC and MSIC applications in one business day Complied
Completing AusCheck's part in the background checking process in five business days or less 98% of the time (ie excluding time awaiting responses from checking partners of the person being checked) Complied
Provide a consistent decision-making process that ensures privacy and legal rights are protected No AusCheck decisions were overturned on appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Complied

Four appeals were lodged with the AAT during the reporting period

Three have been withdrawn and one is pending AAT consultation

 

Other comments

Complaints received with respect to the Indigenous Legal Assistance and Policy Reform Program related primarily to clients not meeting eligibility criteria for legal assistance and have been resolved. Complaints were received with respect to the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Program from staff in two funded organisations which were placed under special administration. The complaints special administrator arrangements have concluded and the department is continuing to work with the two organisations.

The Social Inclusion Division received three complaints about the timing of its 2011-12 funding decisions under the Indigenous Justice Program. Two organisations were offered, and accepted, wind-down funding. The third organisation was offered conditional six months' funding, with a further six months' funding to be considered pending satisfactory performance. This offer was accepted and the grantee is still receiving funding under the Program. Investigations found that the decisions should have been communicated earlier to have enabled the affected organisations sufficient time to seek funding from other sources. The department also undertook a broader review of program management in the Social Inclusion Division to improve its administrative processes.

One of the complainants also alleged that an officer from the department communicated the funding decision in a disrespectful manner. An investigation found that there are no grounds for this allegation.

Regarding the single incidence of non-compliance with the requirement to respond to a complaint within twenty-eight days, the complainant wrote to the department on three separate occasions within the same month about its complaint. The department formally responded to the organisation forty-three days after the first letter and thirty-eight days after the third letter. However, the officers in the department were in communication with the organisation during the forty-three day period regarding its complaint.