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Complaint Handling

1 Principles

Good complaint handling is a necessary part of self-regulation. Listening to and responding to complaints – and taking action when warranted – is important for both accountability and continuous quality improvement. All complaints have the potential to escalate if they are not dealt with appropriately.

1.1 Procedures are to be interpreted having regard to: Recognised standards of objective complaint handling: fairness, accessibility, responsiveness, efficiency, and integration within the core activities of the organisation.

1.1.2 Ticker is committed to respecting the confidentiality of complaints. However, where the complainant is an organisation, or a complaint is a matter of public record, Ticker may elect to make the identity of the complainant and Ticker’s response publicly available.

2 Definitions

2.1 Audience and Consumer Affairs is a unit of Ticker’s separate from the content-making divisions.

2.2 Authorised Decision-maker is a Ticker staff member.

2.3 What is a complaint?

Written complaint

2.3.1 A written complaint is made in writing and lodged with Ticker by letter, email or web form submission. It does not include comments and other user-generated content posted to discussion boards or other interactive services.

Editorial complaint

2.3.2 An editorial complaint is a written complaint about one or more specific items of Ticker content, in most instances content that has already been broadcast or published by Ticker, alleging a breach of Ticker’s editorial standards as expressed in Ticker Editorial Policies, and with an expectation of a response. The complaint need not refer specifically to Ticker Editorial Policies, or use the language of those standards to be considered an editorial complaint.

3 Procedures for handling audience complaints by divisions

3.1 Telephone complaints

3.2 Non-editorial written complaints

4 Procedures for handling editorial complaints

4.1 Receipt and assessment

4.1.1 Editorial complaints received in writing should be promptly referred to Audience and Consumer Affairs.

4.1.2 The Managing Editor will write to the complainant, as necessary, to acknowledge receipt of their complaint.

4.1.3 The Managing Editor will assess the complaint against the proportionality criteria in section 1.2 to determine whether or not to accept it for investigation.

4.1.4 Where the Managing Editor accept a complaint for investigation, it will assess the seriousness and complexity of the matter to determine the resources that will be applied. The extent of resources for a complaint investigation should be proportionate to the nature of the complaint.

Reasons that a complaint may not be accepted for investigation include: a the complaint does not refer to a specific item of Ticker content;

b the complaint concerns content which is or becomes the subject of legal proceedings;
c the complainant does not have a sufficient interest in the subject matter of the complaint, where the complaint alleges a breach of Fair and honest dealing (Standards 5.1-5.9) or Privacy (Standard 6.1);

d The Managing Editor exercises its discretion to refer a matter to the content team for direct response;

e the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or not made in good faith;

f the complaint was lodged with Ticker more than six weeks after the date the content was last broadcast or published by Ticker, unless the Managing Editor accepts the complaint for investigation.

4.2.3 Complaints requiring clarification (for example, general complaints of bias) will usually be referred back to the content divisions for handling. the Managing Editor may also clarify complaints on behalf of divisions.

4.3 Audience and Consumer Affairs Investigation
Provision of broadcasts, publications and facts and arguments

4.3.1 The Managing Editor will notify the division/s of its decision to accept an editorial complaint for investigation usually within three days; provide the division with a copy of the complaint; identify the editorial standard/s that it considers most relevant; and identify any other material required for the review.

4.3.2 The division will provide the Managing Editor with a timely response, usually within one week, that: substantively addresses compliance with the relevant editorial standards; provides copies of any relevant broadcast and/or published material requested by the Managing Editor; and includes any other information or materials which will assist the investigation.

4.3.3 During consideration of material provided, the Managing Editor may request further information or argument from the division. The division will provide a response to such requests as quickly as possible.

Finalising the complaint

4.3.13 The division is responsible for determining, implementing and recording any remedy or penalty arising from a complaint investigation.

4.3.14 The Managing Editor will write to the complainant advising of the finding/s of the investigation, any remedial action that the division will be taking or has already taken and, in applicable cases, the complainant’s option to refer a matter to ACMA.

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