Complaints Handling Policy


This policy is intended to ensure that The Olive Branch Australia (TOBA) handles complaints fairly, efficiently and effectively. It provides guidance to staff and the public who wish to make a complaint on the complaints management process. This policy covers managing complaints that are made to us or about us regarding our projects or staff.

Complaints Handling Process

The Complaints Handling Process involves 5 steps:

  • Receive
  • Acknowledge
  • Assess and Investigate
  • Determine outcome
  • Close Complaint

Step 1 - Receive

All complaints will log in the complaints register. TOBA will record the complaint and its supporting information. The complaint will also assign a unique identifier/number to the complaint file. The record of the complaint will document:

  • Contact information of the person making a complaint and the date received
  • Issues raised by the person making a complaint and the outcome/s they want
  • Any other relevant information, and
  • Any additional support the person making a complaint requires. Complaints can only be received via eMail sent to the address

Step 2 - Acknowledge

TOBA will acknowledge receipt of each complaint promptly (within 5 working days). TOBA will endeavour to fully respond within 10 working days. In complex situations where an immediate response is not possible, we will respond as quickly as possible, providing updates as required. Consideration will be given to the most appropriate medium (e.g. email, letter) for communicating with the person making a complaint.

Step 3 - Assess and Investigate

Initial Assessment
After acknowledging receipt of the complaint, TOBA will confirm whether the issue/s raised in the complaint is/are within our control. We will also consider the outcome/s sought by the person making a complaint and, where there is more than one issue raised, determine whether each issue needs to be separately addressed. When determining how a complaint will be managed, we will consider:

  • How serious, complicated or urgent the complaint is
  • Whether the complaint raises concerns about people’s health and safety
  • How the person making the complaint is being affected
  • The risks involved if resolution of the complaint is delayed, and
  • Whether a resolution requires the involvement of other organisations.
From time to time, TOBA receives complaints that do not directly relate to something TOBA has done, or that TOBA is not able to comment on. In these rare occasions due to our limited resources, we will not respond. Examples of these kind of complaints are:
  • When a complaint is about something that TOBA has no direct connection to. TOBA may choose to reply to clear their name, but they are not obliged to.
  • When someone pursues a complaint that we have already responded to, with no new issues raised. They will be given escalation points.
  • When a complainant is being obviously abusive, prejudiced or offensive in their manner.
  • When a complainant is harassing a staff member.
  • When a complaint is incoherent or illegible.
  • When a complaint has clearly been sent to us and numerous other organisations as part of a bulk mailing or email.
  • TOBA cannot respond to complaints made anonymously. However, TOBA can give general information and advice to anonymous callers. We can also investigate the telephone complaint and use the information to improve in any way that we can.
Investigating the complaint
After assessing the complaint, TOBA will consider how to manage it. TOBA will keep the person making the complaint up to date on the progress, particularly if there are any delays. TOBA will also communicate the outcome of the complaint using the most appropriate medium. Which actions we decide to take will be tailored to each case and consider any statutory requirements.

Step 4 - Determine the outcome and provide reasons for the decision.

TOBA aims to resolve problems, correct mistakes, and address concerns to reach a fair and reasonable outcome. Following assessment and investigation into the issues raised, TOBA will contact the person making the complaint and advise them:

  • The outcome of the complaint and any action we took
  • The reason/s for our decision
  • The remedy or resolution/s that we have proposed or put in place, and
  • Any options for review that may be available to the complainant, such as an internal review, external review or appeal.

Step 5 - Close the Complaint

The complaints register will record how the complaint was managed. It will log the following information:

  • How the complaint was managed
  • Outcome of the complaint
  • Outstanding actions, and action owners, and due dates.
Analyse the data
TOBA will ensure that outcomes are properly implemented, monitored and reported to senior management, and/or CEO, and/ or the Chair of our governing body.

Complaints Escalations

If the complaint is not resolved in the process described above, it can be escalated to the COO using

If TOBA is unable to help with the complaint, they will provide instructions on how to raise a concern with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commissions.