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 Care 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 Care 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:
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 Care
In person: Level 8, 120 Sussex St Sydney NSW 2000
Mail: Reply Paid 428 Queen Victoria Building NSW 1229
Phone: 1300 361 288 (within Australia) or +61 2 9262 5377 (overseas)
Fax: 02 9262 4345
UNHCR - Inspector General's Office (Investigation Section)
Mail or in person: 94 Rue de Montbrilliant, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 739 88 44
Fax: +41 22 739 73 80
Mail: Private Bag 3 Deakin ACT 2600
Mail: PO Box 6542 Chatswood NSW 2057
You can help
Collection of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR follows the Australian Privacy Principles in handling personal information; we collect personal information about individuals including supporters, employees, contractors, volunteers, special representatives/delegates and job applicants. This information is collected directly from you, in person, by phone or email, on hard copy donation forms or via our website. We may also collect your personal information from publically available sources or third parties.
Use of Personal Data
The information we collect and hold generally includes contact details (name, address, email), personal details including date of birth, and credit card or bank accounts details.
We use the personal information you provide us with for the purpose for which it was provided to us, other related purposes or as permitted or required by law. Generally we collect and use your personal information for:
We also use your information in our marketing and fundraising activities, keeping you informed of our latest news, campaigns and appeals or about campaigns and appeals which may be of interest to you, and offer you the opportunity to subscribe to them. We may also offer you the opportunity to participate in surveys carried out by Australia for UNHCR or its agents.
We use your personal details to assist in the cost-effective development of our marketing and fundraising activities by sending you information by post, email or telephone. As we have a large number of supporters, at times we use external providers to assist with our telemarketing and mailing. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that our contracts with third parties include requirements for third parties to comply with the Use and Disclosure requirements of the Privacy Act.
We will endeavour to provide you with an opportunity to opt out of receiving such communications. By signing our pledge documents, you consent to having your personal information stored. If you do not opt out by ticking the box, we will send you our direct marketing materials. We make every effort to ensure that our opt-out notices are clear and easy to follow.
If you do not wish to receive future communications from Australia for UNHCR or have any questions about privacy please contact our Donor Care Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Disclosure and Sharing of Personal Data
We occasionally invite other like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia to contact you with information that may be of interest. This allows Australia for UNHCR to increase its base of supporters and reach more people with our vital message.
Any personal contact information you provide to us may be disclosed, if appropriate, to third parties who provide services on our behalf. We may also disclose your personal information to our volunteers who assist with many of our tasks.
Strict confidentiality agreements are in place with our service providers and external agencies, and with staff and volunteers who handle your personal information. We will only disclose your personal information for the purposes for which it was initially collected, other directly related purposes or purposes to which you otherwise consent.
Other than as stated above, we will we not share your personal information. However, it is possible, though unlikely, that we might be forced to disclose personal information in response to legal processes or when we believe in good faith that the law requires it, for example, in response to a court order, subpoena or a law enforcement agency's request.
If you do not wish Australia for UNHCR to share your personal information with like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia, you may opt out by ticking the appropriate box on the donation or pledge form or contact our Donor Care team, with contact details at the bottom of this policy. If you have any questions about privacy please contact our Donor Care Team (see contact details at the bottom of this policy).
Access and Correction of Personal Data
Australia for UNHCR will correct its records containing Personal Information as soon as practically possible at the request of the individual concerned in accordance with the Privacy Act. We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we collect and hold is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, we rely on you to advise us of any changes to your personal information to help us maintain accurate, complete and up-to-date information.
We will, on request, provide you with access to the personal information we hold about you unless otherwise required or permitted by law. We will notify you of the basis for any denial of access to your personal information.
Individuals wishing to lodge a request to access and/or correct their Personal Information should do so by contacting our Donor Care Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this document.
Quality of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR will review, on a regular and ongoing basis, its collection and storage practices to ascertain how improvements to accuracy can be achieved. We may utilise the services of third parties in order to maintain accurate personal information. Where such disclosure is made, we take reasonable steps to require these organisations comply with the National Privacy Principles.
Storage and Security of Information
We strive to protect your personal information, that it is protected from misuse, loss, interference and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. For example, whenever we ask for your financial details online, we use security-encrypted response forms.
No data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, Australia for UNHCR cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us over the internet, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make our best effort to try and ensure its security both on our systems and while in transit between our systems and the companies who provide us with various services. If you do not wish to make your financial contribution online, please contact us to receive a hard copy form; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Making a Privacy Complaint
We will refer your complaint to our Privacy Officer who will investigate the issue and determine the steps that we will undertake to resolve your complaint. We will contact you if we require any additional information from you and will notify you in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If you are not satisfied with our determination, you can contact us to discuss your concerns. If your complaint is about the way we handle your personal information, you may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by calling 1300 363 992, online at www.oaic.gov.au or writing to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001.
Online Activity and Privacy
Third party cookies
Australia for UNHCR sometimes embeds photos and video content from websites such as YouTube. Pages with this embedded content may present cookies from these websites. Similarly, when you use one of the share buttons on our website, a cookie may be set by the service you have chosen to share content through. We do not control the dissemination of these cookies; you should check the relevant third party website for more information about these.
In addition, if you linked to our websites from a third party website, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners or operators of that site. We recommend you check the policy of the third party site and contact its owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions.
Web browser cookies
If you wish to restrict or block web browser cookies which are set on your device you can do this through your browser settings; the Help function within your browser should tell you how. Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers.
Our website and mobile site may contain links to online forums. Think carefully before you post or publish any Personal Information in these forums as it will be publicly available.
Secure Online transactions
If you make a donation via our website, we process your credit/debit card details securely using an accredited internet payment security system. With the combination of SSL encryption on our website and a secure browser at your end, we take all reasonable measures to ensure that your credit/debit card and personal information are protected when you donate online. We also recommend that you take appropriate security precautions when accessing the internet via public Wi-Fi networks or shared computers.
If you have any questions about your privacy, wish to access or change your details, how to lodge a complaint regarding the handling of your information and how that complaint will be handled by Australia for UNHCR, please contact our
Donor Care Team: