Internal review requests procedure

1.    Application

This procedure is to be read in conjunction with the Office’s Complaints management system (CMS) and internal review policy and the Service delivery complaints procedure.

The purpose of this procedure is to provide guidance to complainants in making an internal review request.

2.    What happens if you disagree with our decision?        

If you are dissatisfied with a decision about your complaint, there are several ways this Office may deal with your dissatisfaction:   

  1. Additional response from original decision-maker
    If you have questions about the decision or the reasons, you can ask for clarification from the original decision-maker. If you remain dissatisfied with their additional response/s, you can request an internal review of their decision.

  2. Consideration of new information about a substantive issue
    If you obtain new information after this Office’s decision which relates to a substantive issue (see definition section below), you can provide it to the original decision-maker for consideration.

    The original decision-maker will consider the new information and determine whether it alters their decision or warrants further investigation. If the original decision-maker determines that the new information does not alter their decision, you will have the right to seek an internal review.

3.    What is an internal review?

An internal review is an impartial review of a decision about a complaint by an employee who was not the original decision-maker.

An internal review is only available on a closed case.

An internal review will consider whether the original decision-maker:

  • identified and addressed all the relevant issues including potential breaches of the Human Rights Act 2019
  • sought and considered appropriate evidence
  • complied with legislative requirements and our internal policies and procedures
  • made the correct decision
  • adequately explained the original decision
  • acted consistently with their obligations under the Human Rights Act.

An internal review is not a re-investigation of a complaint (although this is an outcome which may be recommended by an internal reviewer - see section 10).

4.    What should a review request include?

You must tell us why you think this Office’s decision about your complaint was wrong. Your internal review request should clearly identify grounds for review. This means providing us with a concise summary of why you believe this Office’s decision was incorrect, unreasonable or wrong, or why our assessment/investigation was deficient. You should refer to any documents or other evidence relied upon to support your review request. 

Please be aware that the focus of an internal review is this Office’s decision, not the decision of the agency you originally complained about.

Requests for an internal review should also include:

  • your name, address, email and telephone number
  • previous case reference number, if known
  • any new information that should be considered in reviewing the matter
  • copies of any relevant letters or other documents that have not previously been provided
  • the outcome you are seeking.
 

5.    What happens if you do not make a valid review request?

If you do not make a valid internal review request, by identifying grounds for review of this Office’s decision, we may decline your request.

Examples of invalid review requests:

  • an expression of dissatisfaction without any request for further explanation or a review
  • a restatement of your complaint to this Office about the agency you originally complained about
  • expressions of dissatisfaction with the original agency’s actions.

If we decide to decline your review request our decision is final and is not reviewable.

6.    What is the timeframe for requesting a review?

A request for an internal review must be made no later than 28 days after the original decision.

If more than 28 days have passed since the original decision, you must provide a submission outlining the circumstances which prevented you from making the request within 28 days. We will refuse to consider your review request unless you can clearly show there were exceptional circumstances which contributed to the delay. This might include such things as long-term significant ill-health, incarceration, flood or other natural disaster. 

If we decide not to accept your internal review request outside the 28 days, our decision is final and is not reviewable.

7.    How to lodge a review request?

Internal review requests must be made in writing via:

  • email to ombudsman@ombudsman.qld.gov.au with Internal Review Request in the subject
  • mail to Office of the Queensland Ombudsman, GPO Box 3314, Brisbane, Qld 4001.

If you are unable to write to us, you may submit your internal review request by telephone on (07) 3005 7000. However, we may refuse to accept a verbal review request unless satisfied that you are unable to make a written request. 

8.    Who conducts an internal review?

An internal review will be conducted by a reviewer who has had no substantial dealings with your complaint.

The internal reviewer will be of equal or greater seniority to the original decision-maker.

Internal reviews are allocated to reviewers by the Deputy Ombudsman.

9.    How is the review conducted?

Valid review requests will be acknowledged in writing within 7 days of their referral to a reviewer.

We conduct reviews in the order in which they are received. This means that your review case will be placed in a queue until it can be allocated to a reviewer. We will send you progress updates once a month. 

We endeavour to complete reviews within three months of the acknowledgement of your review request. However, this timeframe is dependent upon the number of reviews in the queue before yours.

All of the information you originally provided with your complaint will be considered, along with your internal review request. The reviewer will also consider internal case records on your original complaint file.

The reviewer will inform you in writing of their decision. This will include reasons for the decision.

Unless exceptional circumstances exist, a decision about a complaint will be reviewed only once.

10.      What outcome can be expected?

One or more of the following outcomes are possible: 

  • the original decision was correct and the complaint does not merit further investigation
  • the original decision was wrong and should be amended without further investigation
  • the original investigation should be reopened
  • the decision should be better communicated
  • a policy, procedure or practice may be amended
  • records may be amended
  • further assistance to address a service delivery complaint that forms part of the internal review may be provided
  • an apology or some other remedy may be offered.

11.    How are service delivery complaints dealt with?

If you include a service delivery complaint with your internal review request, we may be able to consider both matters together.

For more information about making a service delivery complaint, please see our Service delivery complaints procedure. 

12.    Reporting

Internal review requests will be reported in the Office's annual report and review data will be published annually in accordance with the requirements of s 219A of the Public Service Act 2008 and s 97 of the Human Rights Act.

13.    Definitions

Term Meaning      
Reviewer The officer conducting the internal review. This will be someone who has had no substantial dealings in the matter prior to the review, and is of equal or greater seniority to the original decision-maker.
Original decision-maker The employee who made the original decision (the decision under review).
Substantive issue An issue that forms the basis of the complaint.

 

14.    Related documents

Complaints management system (CMS) and internal review policy

Service delivery complaints procedure

Last updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2022 11:38:42 AM