Complaining to the organisation involved

We investigate complaints about:

  • Queensland state government departments or agencies (including state schools and TAFE)
  • local councils
  • public universities

Before you contact us, make your complaint to the organisation involved and give them a chance to fix it. They won’t know that there is an issue unless you tell them.

Information about how the organisation deals with complaints should be available on its website, or you can phone and ask for a copy.

The organisation should provide information about:

  • where and how to make a complaint
  • how your complaint will be managed
  • how to request a review or appeal if you are unhappy with the final decision.

How to make a complaint?

If you can, write to the organisation rather than making a complaint over the telephone. This means there is a written record of your complaint and the information you provided.

Many organisations have complaint forms on their websites and most have contact details. Alternatively, call the organisation and ask for an email or postal address.

Your complaint needs to contain enough information for the organisation to understand why you are unhappy.

You should include:

  • what happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • why do you think it is unfair or wrong?
  • what was the agency's response to your complaint?
  • why are you unhappy with this response?
  • what should the agency do to fix your complaint?
  • copies of documents or information you have to support your complaint.

Use this template complaint letter (DOC 27KB) as a guide.

Top tips

  • Stick to the main facts and provide only as much detail as is needed to understand and resolve the problem.
  • Keep a copy of letters you send to the organisation. It is also helpful to keep records of all contact with the organisation, including conversations, emails, names, dates and times. If you telephone the organisation, ask for the name of the person you speak with and their position. Keep a record of the date and time of your call and details of your conversation.
  • Document any information related to your concern to use as evidence to support your claim.
  • Even if you feel angry or frustrated, be calm and polite. Focusing on the main problem will help you get your point across and address your complaint.
  • Don’t leave it too late. Raise your complaint with the organisation within a reasonable timeframe so information is fresh, the decision-maker is still around, and the evidence is recent.
  • Remember to follow up. If you have made a written complaint and have not heard anything within a month, you should phone the organisation or follow up with a letter or email. Ask them to regularly update you about your complaint.
  • Once the organisation has made a decision about your complaint, you should receive a letter to tell you the outcome. The letter should provide you with information about the decision, reasons for the decision, and advice about how to ask for an internal review if you are unhappy with the decision.

Ask for an internal review

If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint, ask the organisation to do an internal review. An internal review involves a senior officer investigating the process and the facts of the original decision or action, and deciding if it was correct.

Ask for an internal review by writing to the chief executive of the organisation and explaining why you think its decision was wrong.

Once the organisation has finished the internal review, you should receive a letter about the outcome.

Contact us

If you are unhappy with the organisation's internal review, you can make an online complaint or complete and send a complaint form (PDF 171.3KB).

When doing so, please explain why you think the organisation's decision is wrong and the outcome you want. Provide copies of relevant documents, especially the response to your complaint and the internal review decision. 

We will assess your complaint to see if we can investigate. Find out what to expect if you make a complaint to us.