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Making a complaint

Can I make a complaint about how an entity is responding to a reportable allegation?

If you are dissatisfied with the response of the head of a relevant entity to a report about a reportable allegation or reportable conviction, you can make a complaint to the Children’s Guardian under section 28 of the Children’s Guardian Act 2019 (the Act).

Please provide the relevant entity with an opportunity to respond to complaints about it in the first instance. Unless there are good reasons not to, we encourage you to first raise your concerns with the relevant entity. If possible, please do this in writing and keep a copy of your complaint for your own records. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can send us your complaint using our secure online complaints form.

Our role in responding to your Reportable Conduct complaint

The Office of Children’s Guardian is not a complaint handling body and has only a limited complaint handling function under the Act.

We do not have an advocacy role in connection with Reportable Conduct complaints and are not required to take action in response to complaints.

However, the ability to receive and respond to Reportable Conduct complaints is an important provision that supports the Reportable Conduct Scheme. It is designed to help the Children’s Guardian fulfil our Part 4 functions, including overseeing the way relevant entities respond to reportable allegations.

We are committed to responding to Reportable Conduct complaints in a transparent and accountable way that maintains the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Reportable Conduct Scheme. To the extent that resources permit, we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of Reportable Conduct complaints and provide the complainant with a complaint reference number
  • assess the complaint and consider any action that may be warranted
  • advise the complainant of our assessment
  • advise the complainant of any action we may take in response to the complaint, to the extent that it is lawful.

Each complaint will be assessed on its merits and against the legislative framework that governs the Reportable Conduct Scheme. In general, the following factors are relevant to whether we take action on your complaint and how much information we can provide you about our actions:

  • whether the complaint falls within the parameters of section 28 – that is, dissatisfaction with the head of relevant entity’s response to a report about a reportable allegation
  • whether the complaint relates to an active or finalised reportable conduct matter
  • the seriousness of the matters complained about
  • whether the relevant entity has had an opportunity to respond to the complaint
  • whether the Children’s Guardian’s powers enable any outcome or resolution of your complaint
  • the extent of your connection to the matter that you have complained about.

What you can expect from us when we respond to your complaint

We aim to acknowledge all Reportable Conduct complaints within seven business days. If necessary, to enable our assessment of your complaint, we may contact you to ask for more information.

Unless we are required to do so by law, we will not disclose your details to another party without your consent. However, where required to fulfil either our functions or any mandatory reporting obligations, we may disclose your details or the contents of your complaint to a third party without your consent.

Once we have made an assessment of what action we might take in response to your complaint, we will let you know. We will let you know the substance of any action we plan to take, unless it is not in the public interest to do so or we are precluded by law. Also, if we take action on your complaint, we will let you know the extent to which we are able to provide you with information about the outcome.

We will communicate with you in a clear, professional and respectful way. We will assess your complaint objectively and act impartially. If we take action on your complaint and you are entitled to information about our action, we will keep you informed. We aim to resolve your complaint in the least formal and most timely way possible.

Protections for complainants

If, acting in good faith, you make a Reportable Conduct complaint to the Children’s Guardian, the Act provides you with protection against retribution (section 64) and immunity from civil or criminal liability (section 68).

It is an offence for any person to take or threaten to take detrimental action against a person because they have made a Reportable Conduct complaint, unless the complaint was made in bad faith (including providing information you knew to be false or misleading).

What can I do if I am not satisfied with how the Children’s Guardian responds to my complaint?

Our assessment of, and action on, Reportable Conduct complaints is final and not subject to review.

However, if you are concerned that our conduct in responding to your complaint was illegal, unreasonable, unjust or oppressive, improperly discriminatory, based on improper or irrelevant grounds, based on a mistake of law or fact, or otherwise wrong, you can make a complaint about us.

In the first instance, please give us the opportunity to respond to any concern about maladministration by an employee of the Office of Children’s Guardian and we ask that you submit any such complaint to us at ocg@yourfeedback.nsw.gov.au. Any such complaint will be handled in accordance with our Complaints Handling Policy. (PDF 432.9KB) You can also raise maladministration complaints directly with the Office of the NSW Ombudsman.