APVMA Complaints Handling Policy

This consultation closed on 9 June 2021.
Consultation period: 
10 May 2021 to 9 June 2021

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is seeking feedback on its draft Complaints Handling Policy. The APVMA Complaints Handling Policy has been updated to align with best practice complaints handling guidance from the Commonwealth Ombudsman and NSW Ombudsman, with the intention of creating an accessible, efficient and effective complaint handling process. The policy is intended to operate as an internal APVMA policy for the handling of both internal and external complaints received by the agency.

We invite written comment from 10 May 2021 to 9 June 2021 on the proposed mechanisms outlined in the policy to manage complaints and feedback.

Please note: submissions will be published on the APVMA’s website unless you have asked for the submission to remain confidential, or if the APVMA chooses at its discretion not to publish any submissions received (refer to the public consultation coversheet).

Please lodge your submission using the public consultation coversheet, which provides options for how your submission will be published.

Note that all APVMA documents are subject to the access provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and may be required to be released under that Act should a request for access be made.

Please send your written submission and coversheet by email or post to:

Email: complaints@apvma.gov.au

Post:

Corporate Services
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
GPO Box 3262
Sydney NSW 2001

Submissions received

On 10 May 2021, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines (APVMA) published for comment a draft Complaints Handling Policy.

In response to the consultation, 4 submissions were received. Of the submissions received, 3 were from industry bodies and one was from an individual. A consolidated summary of these submissions is available on our website.

Summary of submissions received

Organisation

Summary of submission

Animal Medicines Australia

  • The updated Complaints Handling Policy aligns with the goals for a best practice regulatory culture promoted by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet).
  • The goals aim to promote effective and efficient engagement with stakeholders, alongside the provision of high quality regulatory oversight, advice, programs and services.
  • Staff grievances, code of conduct complaints and public interest disclosures should (as proposed) be handled through separate mechanisms.

CropLife Australia

  • Ensure confidentiality and take steps to ensure the complainant is not adversely affected as a result of lodging the complaint.
  • Clarify the process regarding multi-agency related complaints involving the APVMA.
  • Undertake a review in 24 to 36 months to test the validity and effectiveness of the policy.

Member of the public (Name withheld)

  • Provide direct links online relating to making a complaint, complaints contact information and on-line complaints portal.
  • Include in the on-line complaints portal a section to identify the level of urgency or type of risk.
  • Address Section 2.2 of the Ombudsman Framework about Visibility and Transparency.
  • Clarify process to address how anonymous complaints will be managed.

Accord Australasia

  • Clarify whether ‘public’ includes registrants who may consider themselves as a different group than the public.
  • Clarify how the implementation of the policy will affect the operation of other areas of the APVMA and whether this will take staff members away from their core functions.
  • Suggest background information should be provided with baseline data to determine if the new process improves timeliness and outcomes.
  • Clarify how the APVMA would differentiate issues of genuine community concern with those of special interest groups.

Consultation feedback

The APVMA has updated its Complaints Handling Policy in response to feedback received through the public consultation process. This included making suggested amendments relating to:

  • further addressing issues regarding confidentiality and anonymous complaints
  • defining ‘stakeholders’
  • multi-agency related complaints
  • ongoing review of the policy and whether it meets its objectives
  • the commitment that the APVMA will publish an annual summary of the number of complaints received and their outcome.

The APVMA Complaints Handling Policy will be reviewed 12 months after inception. This will provide the APVMA with a benchmark to assist with measuring the performance of the policy and identify opportunities for improvement. Following the initial 12-month review, the APVMA Complaints Handling Policy will be regularly reviewed as part of the agency’s ongoing policy review cycle.

Information about how to make a complaint is available on our website.

Your feedback will be submitted to the APVMA anonymously. If you require a response, please contact us.