Friday, 8 May 2015

A must read for every Clarence Valley resident and ratepayer

Clarence Valley Council has placed a Draft Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Policy on public exhibition on its website here.

Every resident and ratepayers should read this 16-page draft and accompanying documents because under its provisions the general manager and senior staff will get to decide that you should be considered an unreasonable complainant and denied a service or services if, amongst other things, they consider you to be putting a complaint to them that is based on incomprehensible, false or inflammatory, trivial or delirious argument or based on a conspiracy theory or one that even dares to suggest that you may be a victim of past procedural unfairness on council's part (pages 2 & 3 of the draft).

You may also be placing an unreasonable demand on local government if you commit the following sin: Insisting on talking to a senior manager, a Director or the General Manager personally  if said person considers such a conversation is not appropriate or warranted (page 2).

Oh, and by the way, the General Manager Scott Greensill and his staff don’t want you to seduce them either (page 2).

Excerpt from Ombudsman New South Wales publication Managing unreasonable complainant conduct practice manual (2nd edition), 7 May 2012:

If you read nothing else, read this page

The approach and the strategies suggested in this manual are based on the clear understanding that:

• They are equally relevant and applicable to all staff within an organisation including frontline staff, supervisors and senior managers.
• All complainants are treated with fairness and respect.
• In the absence of very good reasons to the contrary, all complainants have a right to access public services.
• All complaints are considered on their merits.
• Unreasonable complainant conduct does not preclude there being a valid issue.
• The substance of a complaint dictates the level of resources dedicated to it, not a complainant’s demands or behaviour.
• Anger is an understandable and, to some degree, an acceptable emotion among frustrated complainants as long as it is not expressed through aggression or violence.
• Staff safety and well-being are paramount when dealing with unreasonable complainant conduct.
• The decision to change or restrict a complainant’s access to services as a result of their behaviour, will only be made at a senior management level and in accordance with clearly defined policies and procedures. See Unreasonable Complainant Conduct Model Policy available at:
• Senior managers will ensure relevant systems, policies and procedures are in place to manage complaints and UCC and that all staff who interact with complainants will receive training, guidance and direction about using the strategies suggested in this manual.

* Cartoon found at /

No comments: