Effective handling of complaints

Complaints are an important way for the management of a scheme member to be accountable to the public, as well as providing valuable prompts to review performance and the conduct of people that work within and for it.

A complaint is an “expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required” (as defined by the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 10002:2014, Guidelines for complaint management in origanizations (as amended)).

An effective complaint handling system provides three key benefits:

  • It resolves issues raised by a dissatisfied person in a timely and cost-effective way.
  • It provides information which can lead to improvements in service delivery.
  • Where complaints are handled properly, a good system can improve the reputation of an agency and strengthen public confidence in administrative processes.
The public wants: The agency needs:
  • a user friendly complaints system
  • to be heard and understood
  • to be respected
  • an explanation
  • an apology
  • actions as soon as possible
  • a user friendly system for accepting feedback
  • clear delegations & procedures for staff to deal with complaints and provide remedies
  • a recording system to capture complaint data
  • to use complaint data to identify problems and trends
  • to improve service delivery in identified areas



The intention of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia is that electricity, gas or water services providers resolve complaints directly in the first instance. The Western Australian Ombudsman has a series of Guidelines and Information Sheets which may assist service providers in the effective handling of complaints. Go to the WA Ombudsman website Publications - Guidelines and Information Sheets page.