People and performance
Report on performance
Key performance indicators for our complaint service
We have developed key performance indicators which form the basis for ongoing assessment of the complaint service. These indicators, and our performance in 2010-11 in relation to these indicators, are summarised below.
- Timeliness. Our stated performance standard is for 80% of complaints to be finalised within 12 months of receipt. In 2010-11, we finalised 94% of matters within 12 months. The average time from lodgement to finalisation of a complaint was 5.8 months.
- Conciliation rate. Our stated performance standard is for 30% of finalised complaints to be conciliated. In 2010-11, we achieved a 47% conciliation rate and 64% of all matters where conciliation was attempted were successfully resolved.
- Service satisfaction. Our stated performance standard is for 80% of surveyed parties to complaints to be satisfied with the service they receive. In 2010–11, 94% of surveyed parties reported that they were satisfied with the service and 61% rated the service as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. Further details of survey results for this reporting year are provided below.
Measuring satisfaction with the complaint service
We seek feedback on aspects of the service from people lodging complaints (complainants) and people responding to complaints (respondents). This feedback is obtained through a service satisfaction survey, which is usually conducted by telephone interview.
In 2010-11, 48% of those who could be contacted (126 complainants and 160 respondents) agreed to participate in the survey.
- 89% of complainants and 98% of respondents felt that Commission staff explained things in a way that was easy for them to understand.
- 90% of complainants and 94% of respondents felt that forms and correspondence from the Commission were easy to understand.
- 77% of complainants and 85% of respondents felt that the Commission dealt with the complaint in a timely manner.
- 93% of complainants and 94% of respondents did not consider staff to be biased.
Our Charter of Service
Our Charter of Service provides an avenue through which complainants and respondents can understand the nature and standard of service they can expect, as well as contribute to continual improvement of our complaints service. All complainants are provided with a copy of the Charter when their complaint is accepted by the Commission. Respondents receive a copy when notified of a complaint. The Charter of Service is available at: www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/charter_of_services/.
In 2010–11 the Commission only received one complaint about its service under the formal complaint process provided in the Charter.
Ensuring accountability for our administrative decisions
People affected by administrative decisions we have made may be entitled to seek a review of those decisions before a court or tribunal.
Judicial review: Judicial review of Commission decisions can be sought by application to the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth).
In accordance with established legal principle, the Commission (as decision maker) usually does not play an active role in those proceedings. This is to avoid a perception of bias in the event that a matter is remitted to the Commission for further determination. Instead, the Commission agrees to be bound by the decision of the Court and leaves the substantive parties (usually the complainant and respondent to a complaint that was before the Commission) to argue the matter.
In 2010-11, the Commission was a respondent to one matter under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act. The matter, which had been transferred to the Federal Court in 2008, was summarily dismissed by the Court on 2 December 2010.
Merits review: Some decisions of the Commission or its staff (acting under instruments of delegation) are subject to merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). These include decisions made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), and decisions on applications for temporary exemptions under section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act, section 55 of the Disability Discrimination Act and section 44 of the Age Discrimination Act.
There were three matters involving merits reviews of Commission decisions during 2010-11. In one matter, an application for an extension of time to appeal against a decision of the AAT was dismissed. Proceedings were discontinued in another matter. A third matter was ongoing at the end of the reporting period.
Facilitating freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) gives the general public legal access to government documents.
Documents held by the Commission relate to:
- administration matters, including personnel, recruitment, accounts, purchasing, registers, registry, library records and indices
- complaint handling matters, including the investigation and resolution of complaints
- legal matters, including legal documents, opinion, advice and representations
- research matters, including research papers in relation to complaints, existing or proposed legislative practices, public education, national inquiries and other relevant issues
- policy matters, including minutes of Commission meetings, administrative and operational guidelines
- operational matters, including files on formal inquiries
- reference materials, including press clippings, survey and research materials, documents relating to conferences, seminars and those contained in the library.
During the reporting year, we received 18 initial requests for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
Four requests were reviewed internally and one request was being considered for further review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
All initial inquiries about access to Commission documents are directed to our Freedom of
Information Officer, who can be contacted by either telephoning (02) 9284 9600 or by writing to:
Freedom of Information OfficerAustralian Human Rights CommissionGPO Box 5218Sydney NSW 2001
We follow procedures for dealing with Freedom of Information requests detailed in section 15 of the Freedom of Information Act. A valid request must:
- be in writing
- state that it is a request for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act
- include details of how notices under the Freedom of Information Act can be sent to them, such as an email address
- specify the documents to which access is sought.
From 1 May 2011 agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the Freedom of Information Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report.
The Commission’s plan, which shows what information is published in accordance with the IPS requirements, is available on our website at: www.humanrights.gov.au/ips/ips_scheme.html.
We use consultants where there is a need to access skills, expertise or independence that is not available within the organisation.
During 2010-11, eight new consultancy arrangements were entered into, involving total actual expenditure, including GST, of $339 320 (see Appendix 7). There were four active part-performed consultancy contracts from prior years. As the prior year contracts were fully expensed and accrued in the year of commitment, payments made in the current reporting period did not give rise to any new expenditure.
Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website: www.tenders.gov.au.
Advertising and market research
During the reporting period, the commission entered into no market research contracts. The Commission paid $9,189 (including GST) on non-campaign advertising (recruitment).
ANAO access clauses
No contracts were let during the reporting period for amounts of $100 000 or more with provisions to exempt ANAO access the supplier’s premises.