Ticker Complaint Handling Process
Ticker Complaint Handling Procedures
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:
A complainant is entitled under section 150 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) to take their complaint about a Code of Practice matter to ACMA if, after 60 days, Ticker fails to respond to the complainant or the complainant considers Ticker’s response inadequate.
1.1.2 Recognised standards of objective complaint handling: fairness, accessibility, responsiveness, efficiency, and integration within the core activities of the organisation.
1.2 Ticker will apply the following criteria in determining proportionate complaint handling: 1.2.1 seriousness of the matter;
1.2.2 likelihood of harm; 1.2.3 potential to mislead;
1.2.4 proximity of person raising the matter to the substance of the matter; 1.2.5 scale of audience response; and
1.2.6 degree of risk of damage to public trust and confidence in Ticker.
1.3 Where practicable and warranted, Ticker will endeavour to resolve complaints. A complaint is resolved where the division takes steps to remedy the cause of complaint usually prior to or within 30 days of Ticker receiving the complaint, and the steps are considered by the Managing Editor to be appropriate such that further processes to uphold, partly uphold or not uphold the complaint would add nothing of substance.
1.4 Ticker seeks to deal with complaints as quickly as possible and aims to respond within 30 days of receipt. Due to the complexity of some complaints and the availability of staff, some complaints may take longer to finalise.
1.5 These Procedures are subject to the discretion of Ticker’s CEO, to intervene and determine any matter at any time by any process the Managing Editor thinks fit.
1.6 Where, after applying the proportionality criteria in Section 1.2, particular complaints are assessed as urgent, the Managing Editor will bring these matters to the attention of the Managing Editor and, at his or her discretion, these complaints may be fast-tracked to ensure a response is finalised within 30 days. This may involve the provision of additional resources; the use of a streamlined process or any other appropriate measures.
1.7 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.
2.1 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?
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.
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
3.1.1 Many people prefer the immediacy of making a complaint by telephone, including complaints about serious editorial matters, and it is the responsibility of the relevant divisional director to make arrangements for the handling of telephone complaints about their services and content. Telephone complaints will generally be handled directly by the content area concerned.
3.1.2 Every effort should be made to resolve telephone complaints during the initial call, or to arrange an appropriate person to call back.
3.1.3 In some circumstances callers will be asked to put their complaint in writing. This is appropriate where the matter is complex, or where the complaint relates to editorial standards and the caller prefers that the matter be addressed by the Managing Editor. In these cases the caller can be directed to email Ticker’s newsroom or CEO.
3.1.4 If the caller becomes abusive it is within the discretion of the Ticker staff member to politely end the call. If the person makes implicit or explicit threats, either to themselves or others, then the staff member should contact police.
3.1.5 Where a caller seeks a written response to a telephone complaint, they will generally be asked to put their complaint in writing. However, if the caller has genuine difficulties in writing
(for example, language, literacy, disability), the call taker will make a written summary of the caller’s complaint to forward to the appropriate area for handling.
3.2 Non-editorial written complaints
3.2.1 Written complaints that do not relate to alleged breaches of the Editorial Policies may be handled directly by content areas.
3.2.2 Divisional directors are responsible for putting in place arrangements to ensure that complaints are handled by the responsible editorial line manager and receive an appropriate response.
3.2.3 The Managing Editor may respond to written non-editorial complaints on behalf of divisions as agreed, or at the direction of the Managing Editor or Chairman. In preparing such responses, the Managing Editor will receive the reasonable assistance of divisional staff.
3.2.4 Non-editorial written complaints which require input from more than one division can be coordinated by the Managing Editor.
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.
Notifying relevant staff and facilitating access
4.3.4 Divisions may give the Managing Editor a general invitation to liaise directly with the division’s staff and contractors regarding complaints.
4.3.5 Divisions may nominate one or more divisional representative(s) to coordinate complaints with the Managing Editor, take responsibility for responses and arrange access for the Managing Editor to program makers.
4.3.6 Divisional representatives are to ensure staff and contractors directly affected by an investigation are appropriately informed of the investigation and its outcome, including complaints accepted by ACMA for investigation. To meet the fundamental requirement of fairness in complaint handling, any staff who may be adversely affected by the outcome of the investigation must have the opportunity to be heard during the investigation and appropriately informed of the outcome.
Providing a preliminary finding
4.3.7 The Managing Editor will make a preliminary finding about whether a complaint is upheld, not upheld, partly upheld, or resolved (see principle 1.3 above). If a preliminary finding is that a complaint is upheld or partly upheld, the Managing Editor may also recommend a remedy, but may not mandate one.
4.3.8 The preliminary finding and any recommended remedy will be sent to the divisional representative or content area for comment and agreement. The divisional representative or content area may accept the preliminary finding and advise the Managing Editor.
Affairs as soon as practicable and in any case within three business days of receipt of the finding.
4.3.9 If the divisional representative or content area disagrees with the preliminary finding, and is unable to persuade the Managing Editor to revise it, the Managing Editorwill bring the finding to the personal attention of the directors.
The Managing Editor may also choose to bring preliminary findings to the attention of the director in other cases it considers warrant such attention, for reasons such as the particular compliance issues raised, the number of complaints received about a particular issue or the identity or nature of the complainant.
4.3.12 The Managing Editor must consider any further facts or arguments provided by the director and, to the extent that the material does not change the Managing Editor’s view, reasons must be given in the final decision.
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.
4.3.15 If the complainant refers a matter to ACMA, the Managing Editor will be responsible for representing Ticker in the ACMA proceeding. In circumstances where a complaint which has been responded to directly by a division is subsequently accepted by ACMA for investigation, the Managing Editor will, if necessary, conduct its own expedited investigation of the matter in order to establish Ticker’s position that will be represented to ACMA.
5 Termination of correspondence
5.1 Frivolous, vexatious, not in good faith
5.1.1 In cases where a complainant repeatedly submits complaints which are frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith, it may be appropriate to consider terminating all
Decisions to terminate correspondence on this basis may only be made by the relevant director/s and the Managing Editor, in consultation with one another.
5.1.2 If a decision is made to terminate correspondence, the Managing Editor will write a letter to the complainant advising of the decision and stating the reasons it was made.
5.2 Unable to satisfy complainant after reasonable efforts
5.2.1 Ticker will also consider terminating correspondence with a complainant on a particular issue in cases where Tickerhas clearly been unable to satisfy a complainant, despite reasonable efforts having been made. The correspondent should be advised that Ticker will not continue to engage in correspondence on that particular matter. However, complaints about new issues should be considered and a response provided where appropriate.
Published August 2017