We value your feedback
The Independent Review Office (the IRO) is committed to maintaining and improving the quality of our services through feedback from the people who use them. We value all feedback which can be in the form of complaints, feedback or compliments.
What can a complaint be about?
You can make a complaint about:
- any aspect of our service
- a decision we make
- a practice, policy or procedure
- staff behaviour or conduct.
For a review of a funding decision please see the IRO Funding Policy.
We do not deal with complaints about the competence or professional conduct of lawyers. For more information, please see our Complaint Handling Protocol.
Making a complaint
We are committed to promptly resolving complaints about us and our decisions. You can make a complaint to us in person, over the phone, by email (using online form) or by letter if you prefer.
If you are not satisfied with how we have handled your case, please first speak with your case officer about your concerns.
If you have a complaint about our service or conduct, and you cannot resolve that with the person you have spoken with, you can escalate the complaint and ask to speak with their supervisor.
Complaints can be made anonymously, however please understand that this can limit our ability to assess the issues raised.
We take confidentiality and privacy very seriously and will protect the identity of people making complaints where this is practical and appropriate. Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed or used as authorised by statute.
Please advise us if you have accessibility issues and require any additional support.
How we manage complaints
Complaints in writing and escalated complaints are referred to the appropriate manager. We will acknowledge your complaint within two working days.
We treat all complainants with courtesy and respect. We will ensure that the person handling the written or escalated complaint is not the staff member whose conduct or service is being complained about.
We will assess a complaint and consider how we can address the complaint. When responding to the complaint, we may take one or more of the following actions:
- take action to fix the matter or improve the situation
- investigate the complaint.
- provide further information or an explanation
- undertake to review a practice, policy or procedure as a result of a complaint
We aim to respond to complaints in a timely manner and will keep you informed of the progress of your complaint, including the reason for any delay.
We will explain the action that we take on your complaint and the reasons for our decision.
If you remain dissatisfied, you may submit a request for an internal review of the decision.
Requests for internal review
If you have a complaint about a decision due to an error in the original decision, decision-making process, or new information to consider you may apply to have the decision internally reviewed.
Requests for internal review should be made in writing (using online form) where possible. However, if you are unable to request an internal review in writing, we will take your request by telephone or in person when necessary.
We will ensure that the internal review is conducted by someone more senior and who wasn’t the original decision maker.
The internal review will consider whether the original decision:
- was fair and reasonable in the circumstances
- was based on the evidence available at the time
- needs to be reconsidered based on new information provided in support of the review request (i.e. a merits review), and
- was adequately explained to the person affected
We will advise you of the outcome to either maintain the original decision or make a new decision as soon as possible. This decision is final.
Our policy, Complaints and Compliments, provides more information about how we deal with complaints and compliments about our services.
The IRO is committed to being accessible and responsive to all people who use our services.
All staff are trained to deal with complaints in line with the Individual Rights and Mutual Responsibilities of the Parties to a Complaint as set out in our policy.
When people act unreasonably in their dealings with us, their conduct can significantly affect our performance. As a result, the IRO will take proactive and decisive action to manage the conduct of any person that negatively and unreasonably affects the health and safety of our staff or the effective and equitable use of our resources.
Our policy, IRO Unreasonable conduct policy and procedure, provides more information about how we manage unreasonable conduct.
NSW Ombudsman resources
- Fact Sheet entitled “Smart Complaining”
- Fact Sheet on “The Importance of respect in effective complaint handling”