Radio Station 2NURFM Complaints Handling Procedure

Document Number000825
Date Approved19 June 2007

1.      Context

This procedure outlines the process for complaints handling by the University’s Community Radio Station 2NURFM. It supports the University’s Complaint Resolution Policy and should be read in conjunction with that policy

The principles adopted in this Procedure align with the guiding principles for complaints handling identified within the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) Codes of Practice and with the guidelines issued by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA).

2.      Definitions

In this document:

ACMA means Australian Communication and Media Authority, formerly known as the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA);

BSA means Broadcasting Services Act 1992;

Complaints Manager means the University Complaints Manager;

Complaints Officer means University staff members who have been delegated the role of Complaints Officer;

CBAA means Community Broadcasting Association of Australia;

local level means at Radio Station 2NURFM;

the station means 2NURFM;

station manager means the Station Manager of 2NURFM.

3.      Scope

Complaints about the station can be lodged by students, staff, volunteers, members of the community or other persons under this procedure.

4.      Principles

4.1.     The station welcomes feedback from the community. It recognises the right of the public to comment and make complaints concerning: the station’s compliance with the Codes of Practice; conditions of the licence; program content, and/or the general service provided to the community.

4.2.     Staff, students, volunteers, members of the community and any other persons have the right to have access to an appropriate complaints handling procedure in relation to the conduct of the station.

4.3.     That procedure will align with Code 7 of the CBAA Codes of Practice –   Handling Complaints from the Public.

4.4.     Wherever possible, complaints will be resolved by the radio station.

4.5.     Staff, students, volunteers, members of the community and any other persons may :

i.                    approach the ACMA with a complaint if  they have already lodged that complaint with the station and either not received a response or received an unsatisfactory response; or

ii.      approach the ACMA directly if their complaint relates to:

■   television captioning;

■   tobacco advertising;

■   political advertising;

■   election material;

■   sponsorship announcements on community radio;

■   access to membership of a community radio association;

■   advertisements about medicine;

■   matters relating to the Children's Television Standards, or the Australian Content Standard, or the anti-siphoning rules; or

■   captioning on digital, free-to-air services.

5.      Procedure

5.1.     Staff of 2NURFM

i.          Staff who wish to make a complaint are encouraged in the first instance to discuss any issue of concern with the Station Manager.

ii.         Should the matter not be resolved, they may refer to the University’s Complaints Resolution Policy and approach:

■              the  University Complaints Manager to make a formal complaint; or

■              a Complaints Officer  to make an informal complaint.

iii          Should the matter not be resolved, the issue may be addressed through the Dispute Settling Procedure in the staff member’s Enterprise Agreement or Australian Workplace Agreement.

5.2.     Volunteers

i.          Volunteers who have a complaint against the station are encouraged in the first instance to discuss the issue of concern with the Station Manager.

ii.         Should the matter not be resolved, volunteers may approach the University Complaints Manager directly to make a formal or informal complaint.

5.3.     Members of the Community

i.          Members of the community who have a complaint regarding compliance; a condition of the station’s licence; program content; and/or the general service provided to the community, may complain directly to the Station Manager.

ii.         Community members have the option of taking unresolved matters to the University Complaints Manager or directly to the ACMA.

5.4.     Students of the University

i.          Students who wish to make a complaint are encouraged in the first instance to discuss any issue of concern with the Station Manager.

ii.         Should the matter not be resolved, they may refer to the University’s Complaints Resolution Policy and approach:

■          the  University Complaints Manager to make a formal complaint; or

■          a Complaints Officer  to make an informal complaint.


iii.         The University’s Complaints Resolution Policy includes the option for a mediation process.

6.      Complaint Handling by the Station

6.1.     Overview

i.         The station will provide a minimum of 50 on-air announcements containing information about Community Broadcasting Codes of Practice and how audiences may access them.

ii.         The station’s University website will provide a link to the feedback and/or complaint process.

iii.         The station will make every reasonable effort to resolve complaints.

iv.         The station will ensure that complaints are:

a.       received by a responsible person in normal office hours;

b.       conscientiously considered; if necessary investigated and responded to as soon as practicable;

c.       responded to in writing within sixty days of receipt, with a copy of the Community Broadcasting Code of Practice included;

d.       stored in a permanent form that will be maintained for a period of at least two years; and

e.       made available on request to the ACMA in a format advised by the ACMA.

v.         The station will ensure that complainants are advised in writing that they have the right to refer their complaint to the ACMA in the circumstances listed in 4.5 above.

6.2.     Receipt of Complaints at the Station

i.          Lodging complaints

            Complaints may be made in writing, by email, by telephone or in person.

ii.          ACMA Recording Requirements

In accordance with ACMA requirements, the station will log the complaint and maintain a record of complaints in the ACMA approved format.

Written complaints will be logged and filed appropriately. Complaints made by telephone or in person, will be logged using the Station’s logging sheet.

iii.         Responding to Complaints

All complainants will be treated with courtesy and given assurance that the matter will be forwarded to the appropriate person for attention. At the station, the appropriate person is generally the Station Manager but in some circumstances may be the Chair of the 2NURFM Advisory Board or the Director, Marketing and Public Relations.

iv.         Timeframe

All complaints will be forwarded promptly to the Station Manager who will aim to provide a response in an appropriate format within five working days, well within the ACMA requirement that a response be provided to the complainant within sixty days.

6.3.     Investigating Complaints at the Station

i.                    The appropriate person, generally the Station Manager, will consider all information available in relation to the complaint and determine the station’s response.

ii.                   The station will provide a written response to advise the complainant of the outcome of the investigation.

iii.                 The response will, if required, contain an invitation to the complainant to discuss the matter.

6.4.     Resolving Complaints – Appeal Process

i.          If a complainant is not satisfied with the station’s written response, then the complainant may indicate this to the station. A number of actions may be taken.

ii.          The station may:

a.      review the complaint and provide another response to the complainant; and/or

b.      provide the option of attending a meeting with the Station Manager.

iii.          The station will:

a.        advise the complainant of their rights under the  University’s Complaints Resolution Policy; and/or

b.   advise the complainant of their right to take their complaint to the ACMA

iv.         Investigation of matters referred to the University Complaints Office will be facilitated by the University Complaints Manager.

7.      Essential Supporting Documents

-              University of Newcastle Complaint Resolution Policy 000745

-              CBAA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia) Guidelines

-              2NURFM Guidelines for Volunteers

-              2NURFM Complaint Logging Sheet

8.      Related Legislation or Policy

-              University of Newcastle Enterprise and Australian Workplace Agreements

-              Broadcasting Services Act 1992

-              Australian Communication and Media Authority Codes of Practice

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved19 June 2007
Date for Review19 June 2010
Policy SponsorVice-Chancellor
Policy OwnerDirector, Marketing and Public Relations
Policy ContactDirector, Marketing and Public Relations