We consider internal resolution an important and necessary first step in the complaints and disputes handling process, as it gives us opportunity to hear our readers and viewers concerns and address them genuinely, efficiently and effectively. Addressing complaints in this way can also assist us in improving our business systems, products and services.
This Policy sets out the way:
- We respond to a complaint
2. We adopt the definition of ‘complaint’ as: An expression of dissatisfaction made toRUSSH related to its editorial or advertising, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.
Wherever possible, we seek to resolve a complaint that a reader / viewer might make about us genuinely, promptly, fairly and consistently under our complaint procedures.
By dealing with a complaint in this way, we have:
- The opportunity to resolve a complaint quickly and directly.
2. The ability to identify and address recurring or systemic problems.
3. The capacity to provide solutions to problems internally.
4. The chance to improve levels of reader / viewer confidence and satisfaction.
5. The ability to maintain important reader / viewer and subscriber relationships.
6. The most efficient way to deal with a complaint.
Timeliness in responding to complaints is a key element of successful internal complaints handling. We have a system for ensuring that we respond to these timeframes.
The purpose of this complaints policy is to make our audience aware that they have an avenue to voice their complaints about RUSSH to us, or if dissatisfied with our response, they have external paths that they can follow.
External handling of complaints about RUSSH editorial / advertising
Should a complainant wish to seek an external body, we direct them to the Australian Press Council. The Australian Press Council is the external body that handles complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets, such as websites. The APC is able to handle these complaints for members and non-members.
At this stage, we have not sought membership of the Australian Press Council. To date we have had no need to refer complaints to an external body, however we may review the possibility of membership if we felt that we could not handle complaints internally. One of our non-executive shareholders is a solicitor legally equipped to handle formal complaints. As such, we would encourage our readers to follow our internal complaints procedures before taking external measures and we commit to doing our level best to respond to a complainant’s complete satisfaction.
- The visibility of our policy
Our clients know about the existence of our procedures and how to make a complaint.
- This policy is available on russh.com where details about our procedures are available along with relevant contact details.
- This policy is referenced in the terms of our commercial agreements and can be accessed on request by a client.
- Upon contact a formal complaints form is sent.
- All staff who deal with customers, not just complaints handling staff, also have an understanding of our procedures.
- Accessibility of our policy
- We have simple and accessible arrangements for complaints. Our information about making and resolving a complaint is written in plain English.
- Complainants are advised they can make a complaint by any reasonable means e.g. letter, phone, email or in person.
- How we respond to complaints
- Our procedures include a response time for dealing with a complaint and the complainant is made aware of these response times.
- As a general rule, we aim to acknowledge receipt of a complaint immediately.
- Where immediately acknowledging receipt of a complaint is not possible, acknowledgment is made as soon as practicable, but within a maximum of five working days.
- We respond to a complaint promptly in accordance with the urgency of the complaint. This involves prioritising complaints.
- Our aim is to be objective
We aim to address each complaint in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner through the complaints process.
- a)Our procedures are written to allow adequate opportunity for each party to make their case.
- b)Wherever possible, ourPublisher / Editor in Chief investigates a complaint, rather than the staff / contributor involved in the subject matter of the complaint.
- c)In responding to complaints, we give reasons for reaching a decision on the complaint and aim to adequately address the issues raised in the initial complaint.
- Our approach to confidentiality
The personal details of a reader / viewer who lodges a complaint are not disclosed. Disclosure can only otherwise be made if the complainant expressly gives their consent.
- Our reader/viewer / subscriber-focused approach
We adopt a reader / viewer-focused approach (including offering assistance, being user-friendly and communicating in plain English). We are open to feedback and show commitment to resolving complaints by our actions.
- Our understanding of our accountability
Reports in relation to complaints will be made known to the Chairperson at RUSSH and reported at a board level. These reports include the actions taken and decisions made in respect of a complaint. Data about our complaints, including the actions taken and decisions made, are available for inspection.
- Continual improvement
An ongoing objective of RUSSH is the continual improvement of our complaints handling process. We conduct reviews of our procedures every two– to three years to identify areas for improvement and to ensure that our complaints system is operating effectively.
We demonstrate this commitment by:
- Ensuring all relevant staff are aware of and educated about procedures.
- Ensuring that adequate resources are allocated to complaint handling and resolution.
- Implementing management systems and reporting procedures to ensure timely and effective complaints handling and monitoring.
- Top management ensure that the complaints process operates effectively and efficiently.
Our Editor in Chief is trained and competent to deal with complaints. They have the authority to work through a complaint or have ready access to someone who has the necessary authority.
- 9. Our analysis and evaluation of complaints
All complaints are classified and then analysed to identify any possible systemic, recurring and single incident problems and trends. This will help eliminate the underlying causes of complaints.
- Type of complaint
- Subject of complaint
- Outcome of complaint
- Timeliness of response
Our procedures are documented to:
(a) enable our relevant staff to understand and follow the procedures.
(b) promote accountability and transparency of the procedures;
By documenting our procedures and the process for carrying these out, our effective procedures are properly thought out and established.
The requirement to document complaint procedures includes setting out in writing:
(a) the procedures and policies for:
- Receiving complaints;
- Investigating complaints;
- Responding to complaints within appropriate time limits;
- Recording information about complaints; and
- Identifying and recording systemic issues.
(b) the types of remedies available for resolving complaints; and
(c) internal structures and reporting requirements for a complaint. We provide a copy of the procedures to all relevant staff.
Do our procedures cover the majority of complaints we receive?
Yes. All complaints will be recognised in the policy.
How do we prioritise complaints according to their urgency?
Our staff are trained to understand the serious nature of the complaint and therefore are able to prioritise each one, with the assistance of our Editor in Chief. While all complaints are taken seriously and dealt with, complaints are prioritised according to seriousness.
How / when do we review our procedures to ensure they are operating efficiently and effectively?
Any complaints will be recorded in our CEO Report and open for consultation at our Board Meeting. Our Directors are very much in touch with our business and our clients and are therefore aware of any complaint issues.
Do we train our staff on any complaint procedures?
Yes. We have a written procedure for our staff to follow which we give to our employees. We will review annually with staff to review such procedures. If there is a complaint or a series of complaints we would increase the training considerably, as we would see this as a systemic problem.
Do we have adequate systems in place to handle complaints fairly, promptly and consistently?
Yes. All complaints will be directed to the handling officer (Editor in Chief) who is trained to the systems for handling complaints.
Do we have a recording system for our complaints?
Yes. All complaint forms and following correspondence is saved on our company drive.
How do we collect and synthesise data about our complaints? Are we able to analyse the complaints for systemic, recurring or single incident problems and trends?
Yes. We work with a business consultant who assists in the development of our systems. This would be addressed accordingly if a systemic problem was brought to light.
Who is our nominated person for handling complaints?
Our Editor in Chief.
How do we know whether we have taken longer than five business days to resolve a complaint to a complainant’s complete satisfaction, so we can give a ‘final response’?
We would receive a report from our Editor in Chief that an issue had not been addressed in an appropriate time frame.