To ensure that the code maintains the necessary standard, an independent review is conducted every three years.
The review is comprehensive and designed to retain the integrity of the code, meet consumer and business expectations and keep compliance costs to a minimum while maximising the benefits that flow from an effective industry code.
The three-yearly review focuses primarily on the effectiveness of the code in achieving its stated objectives; that is, the agreed performance criteria outlined in the code. These criteria include but may not be limited to:
Is a code administration committee established?
Are the functions of the committee clearly spelled out in the code?
Do the responsibilities of the committee include:
- monitoring and reporting on compliance
- obtaining adequate finance from members for administering the code
- ensuring publicity of the code
- providing for employee awareness of the code
- imposing agreed sanctions on members for breaches of the code
- conducting periodic reviews of the effectiveness of the code
- preparing annual and other reports on the operations of the code
Are all stakeholders represented on the code administration committee?
How many industry stakeholders could potentially subscribe to the code?
How many have subscribed to the code to date?
Is the complaints-handling system easily accessible to stakeholders?
Is the decision-maker independent from the code members?
Is the decision-maker appointed to the complaints handling scheme for a fixed term?
Does the code administration body have enough funding to fulfil its responsibilities?
Does the decision-maker base decisions on what is fair and reasonable, considering good industry practice, relevant industry codes of practice and the law?
Is the complainant advised of the rights to access the legal system or other redress mechanisms at any stage if they are dissatisfied with any of the scheme’s decisions or the decision-maker’s determination?
Can both parties put their case to the decision-maker?
Are both parties informed of the other party’s case/complaint?
Is either party given the opportunity to rebut the arguments or information provided by the other party?
Are both parties told the reason for any determination?
Can the decision-maker compel a complainant to provide information relevant to a complaint?
Is all information supplied by either party kept confidential except where disclosure is required by law?
Does the code administration committee provide regular reports of determinations?
Do written reports name the parties involved?
Does the code administration body publish an annual report?
Is the annual report readily available to interested parties?
Does the complaints handling scheme only deal with complaints that are within its terms of reference?
Does the scheme only deal with disputes that have not been dealt with by another dispute resolution forum?
Does the scheme only deal with disputes that were not resolved through the internal dispute resolution mechanism?
Does the scheme allow the decision-maker to exclude vexatious and frivolous complaints?
Does the scheme allow reasonable time limits for each of its processes?
Is there a system in place that traces the progress of complaints?
Are the complainants informed of the progress of their complaints?
Does the scheme keep records of all complaints, inquiries, their progress and outcome?
Does the scheme conduct regular reviews of its performance?
Does the scheme feed back regularly to the code administration committee on its progress?
Are the scope and power of the decision-maker clear?
Can the decision-maker make monetary awards (not punitive damages)?
Is there a clear mechanism for referring systemic problems to the administration committee?
Does the scheme have a procedure in place for receiving and referring complaints about the scheme?
Does the scheme have a mechanism in place for dealing with these recommendations quickly?
Does the scheme require code signatories to have an internal complaints mechanism in place?
Are the determinations of the decision-maker binding on the code signatory if the complainants accept the determination?
Has the operation of the code been reviewed within three years of its establishment by an independent body?
Is the scheme reviewed regularly thereafter by an independent entity?
Is the scope of the scheme appropriate?
Are complainants and scheme members satisfied with the scheme?
Are the dispute resolution processes used by the scheme just and reasonable?
Is access to the scheme fair and reasonable?
Is the scheme effective in its terms of reference?
Are the results of the review made available to relevant stakeholders?
Does the code administration body ensure that signatories to the code have an in-house compliance program in place?
Does the in-house compliance program comply with AS3806?
Sanctions for non-compliance
Are the sanctions for non-compliance with the code commercially significant?
How many sanctions were imposed by the committee in the last three years?
What were the sanctions that were imposed?
Independent review of complaints handling
Can a dissatisfied complainant have the decision independently reviewed?
What was the initial consumer awareness of the code?
What is the consumer awareness now of the code?
What is the strategy to create ongoing consumer awareness of the code?
Is the level of consumer awareness reported annually?
What was the initial industry awareness of the code?
What is the industry awareness now of the code?
What is the strategy to create ongoing industry awareness?
Is the level of industry awareness reported annually?
How many complaints were received in the last three years? (Please indicate by years 1, 2 and 3)
Is the data collected analysed and reported?
Is the data used to identify systemic problems?
How frequently is compliance with the code monitored?
Was the operation of the code reported in an annual report?
How many reviews were conducted within the last three years?
Are the review mechanisms adequate to assess the code’s effectiveness?
Is the code having a negative impact on competition?
Has the code been checked with the ACCC for possible anti-competitive implications?
Have all of the following performance indicators been implemented?
Is there a high level of industry awareness of the code?
Is there a high level of stakeholder awareness of the code?
Have stakeholder complaints dropped on issues the code is designed to address?
Is the code meeting the stated objectives?
Is the complaints handling mechanism highly visible?
Is the complaints mechanism highly accessible?
Are the response times to complaints resolution quick?
Are the in-house code compliance mechanisms effective?
Note: when preparing this report, organisations should ensure they comply with all relevant privacy standards.
For more information about your obligations relating to privacy, please visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.