Australians supporting the UN Refugee Agency
questions about UNHCR.
Australia for UNHCR values its reputation, we recognise that an effective complaints handling system will strengthen our administrative processes and become an integral element of a high-quality management system.
We are committed to responding to all feedback, in particular all complaints that we receive. We believe that dealing appropriately with a complaint provides an opportunity for us to improve our practices and accountability, and will present opportunities to preserve and enhance our reputation and donor loyalty.
The principles that the complaints process seeks to apply are:
The purpose of this Complaints Policy is to demonstrate our commitment to resolve complaints, and to detail the ways in which the public, stakeholders, and donors can bring their concerns to our attention.
The objective of this Policy is to:
Australia for UNHCR is a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct, a voluntary, self-regulatory industry code that represents the active commitment of overseas aid agencies or non-government development organisations (NGDOs) to conduct their activities with integrity and accountability. The Code aims to enhance standards throughout the NGDO community to ensure that public confidence is maintained in the way that community contributions to overseas aid are used to reduce poverty through effective and sustainable development.
If you believe we have breached this code, you are able to make an inquiry with or lodge a complaint to the ACFID Code of Conduct Committee.
Australia for UNHCR is also bound by the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) Principles & Standards of Fundraising Practice. Any person may contact the FIA with a query in relation to the Principles and Standards of Fundraising Practice. Such an inquiry may clarify whether a complaint is warranted in relation to particular activities or actions of an FIA member and whether these activities or actions constitute a possible breach of the Principles and Standards of Fundraising Practice. Where breaches of FIA's Principles and Standards of Fundraising Practice have occurred, written complaints should be directed to the FIA CEO in confidence.
The policy is designed to provide guidance on lodging a complaint and the manner in which Australia for UNHCR receives and handles complaints. It endeavours to align our procedures with our commitment to integrity, accountability and current best practices.
This policy and process is available to all people who come into contact with Australia for UNHCR, and is intended to advise and encourage them to provide feedback, raise concerns or complaints about Australia for UNHCR and applies to any complaint, regardless of who makes it.
All Australia for UNHCR representatives are expected to comply with this policy. This includes but is not limited to employees who are engaged by Australia for UNHCR on a permanent, full-time, part-time, fixed term and casual employment basis, as well as board members, volunteers, interns and contractors engaged by Australia for UNHCR.
The definition of a complaint under the Australian Standards AS ISO 10002-2006 – Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling is as follows:
“A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction made to an organisation, related to its products or services, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.”
We regard a complaint as any expressions of dissatisfaction about our organisation, our staff, volunteers, our implementation partner UNHCR, our contracted service provides or anyone else acting on our behalf.
As the principal activity of Australia for UNHCR is to raise funds within Australia from local donors to support the humanitarian operations of the UN Refugee Agency, this policy or an appropriate extract will be made available to the public through our Australian website www.unrefugees.org.au/complaints-policy, by verbally informing stakeholders of the policy where appropriate and by providing copies of the policy on request.
In addition to its country and regional operations, UNHCR undertakes a range of projects and activities to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees around the world. Our Head Office is located in Geneva, which includes specific departments that oversee key areas, such as operations, protection, external relations, human resources and finances.
The High Commissioner's representatives head operations in the countries where the agency works, while there are also a number of regional representatives. Most UNHCR operations are in the field where UNHCR's core work is managed from a series of regional offices, branch offices, sub-offices and field offices.
Due to the wide geographical disbursement of its activities globally, local staff are responsible for responding to complaints relating to operations in that country. While these individual offices must operate under the UN Charters and all Codes of Conduct, they have developed additional procedures in order to fulfil the objectives and principles of the policy including putting in place appropriate mechanisms for marginalised or vulnerable people (children, women, the elderly and persons with a mental or physical disability) to express complaints in a practical and safe manner.
Lodging complaints locally in the country of origin can be done in a range of ways and decisions must be made as to what is most appropriate. UNHCR is committed to enhancing the mechanisms in place globally in the hope that everyone has access to a complaints and grievance procedure, that the complaints may be submitted either directly or confidentially, and that the procedures that need to be followed in lodging complaints should be made available to everyone in a language they understand.
The Inspector General's Office (IGO) located in Geneva is responsible for the investigation of staff and service providers who do not observe or perform their functions in line with the highest standards of integrity, and fosters a culture of respect, transparency and accountability throughout the organisation as required by the UN Charter, Code of Conduct, rules, regulations and policies.
Australia for UNHCR has a responsibility to ensure all complaints are dealt with in a professional and timely manner. When a complaint is received, every attempt should be made to resolve the complaint immediately where it is a straightforward matter.
To ensure that all complaints are managed effectively, whether received in person, by phone, email or mail, Australia for UNHCR’s Donor Services Team will be responsible for managing the complaints handling process, including liaising with the relevant staff to determine the appropriate response and escalate actions as required. The Donor Services Team have the measures in place to fulfil the objectives and principles of the policy including putting the appropriate mechanisms for marginalised or vulnerable people (children, women, the elderly and persons with a mental or physical disability) to express complaints in a practical and safe manner.
All feedback, concerns and complaints provide Australia for UNHCR with valuable facts on how we may improve our systems and processes. We are committed to integrating this information into our operations by ensuring that all staff and volunteers are trained and where appropriate, involved in the complaints handling process.
The handling of complaints is a key performance measure within the organisation and is regularly reported to staff, senior management and our board. The data is reviewed and analyse and we use this information to:
All staff members have a duty to report instances of misconduct and are required to cooperate unreservedly with any investigation. For other complainants, the allegation could be anonymous, however we encourage anyone making an allegation to provide as much information and evidence as possible. This is because it is difficult to investigate and follow-up such complaints. However, in the event that an anonymous complaint is received we will note the issues raised and, where appropriate, try and investigate and resolve them appropriately.
If possible, please provide the following information when making a complaint, providing feedback or reporting misconduct:
Important: If you have any supporting evidence to corroborate your allegation, please provide the detail, along with the names of witnesses to contact.
When a complaint cannot be resolved quickly and informally, or is assessed to be of a serious nature by staff, we will try to resolve the matter through the below formal complaints handling process.
Australia for UNHCR - Donor ServicesIn person: Level 6, 66 King St Sydney NSW 2000 Mail: Reply Paid 428 Queen Victoria Building NSW 1229Phone: 1300 361 288 (within Australia) or +61 2 9262 5377 (overseas)Fax: 02 9262 4345Email: email@example.comOnline: /about-us/contact-us#form
UNHCR - Inspector General's Office (Investigation Section)Mail or in person: 94 Rue de Montbrilliant, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland Phone: +41 22 739 88 44Fax: +41 22 739 73 80Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgOnline: http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/igo-complaint
ACFIDMail: Private Bag 3 Deakin ACT 2600 Online: http://www.acfid.asn.au
FIAMail: PO Box 6542 Chatswood NSW 2057 Online: http://www.fia.org.au