Complaint management

The City of Onkaparinga is committed to enhancing customer satisfaction by creating a customer focussed environment that is open to feedback including complaints, and sees them as an opportunity to correct practices and procedures where warranted as well as resolve the matter.

A person can make a complaint by:

Customer Feedback Policy(PDF, 756KB)

Submit a customer request

All complaints received by us will be treated seriously and complainants treated respectfully. 

Council will follow the escalation stages shown below.

Escalation to a more senior officer

If the circumstances show your complaint would be more appropriately handled at a higher level it will be referred to a more senior officer within that department.

Complaints against council employees

Under section 109 of the Local Government Act 1999 (SA), all council employees are expected to at all times act honestly and with reasonable care and diligence in the performance of official duties. Council employees must comply with the integrity provisions relating to employees and contravention of, or failure to comply with, an integrity provision constitutes a ground for suspending, dismissing or taking other disciplinary action against an employee.

Section 119A of the Local Government Act 1999 governs the conduct of employees in relation to the receipt of gifts and benefits. 

The City of Onkaparinga has also developed a code of conduct for employees, which sets out broader behavioural expectations for all employees. The Local Government Act 1999 and code of conduct for employees are to be read together and will be considered as one for the purposes of the resolution of external grievances and complaints administrative procedure.

Code of conduct - employees(PDF, 366KB)

Resolution of external grievances and complaints - administrative procedure(PDF, 317KB)

Alternate process or remedies

There are some complaints which may be more properly dealt with by another process. For example:

  • Complaints against a Councillor or the Chief Executive Officer should be directed to the Mayor
  • Review of a Freedom of Information determination may be referred to the Ombudsman
  • Insurance claims will be referred to the Local Government Association Mutual Liability Scheme
  • Decisions made under legislation that have their own prescribed appeal procedures (for example appeals under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 are dealt with by the Environment and Resources and Development Court)
  • Objections to property valuations should be referred to the Valuer General’s office
  • Appeals against orders made pursuant to section 254 of the Local Government Act 1999.

What is an internal review?

An internal review is a process established under section 270 of the Local Government Act 1999 that enables any person affected by a decision to seek an internal review of the decision of the Council, Council employee or other persons acting on behalf of the Council. The Council considers internal reviews against the Council’s customer complaint policy.

In an internal review Council will examine the process by which the original decision was made. The internal review may or may not result in the disputed decision being reconsidered or overturned.

Internal review of council decisions s270 procedure(PDF, 373KB)

What kind of matters can be internally reviewed?

You may apply for an internal review of a range of decisions including (but not limited to) a policy, procedure, service or fee. A review is not available where:

  • alternative statutory processes are available to review or challenge the decision under particular legislation (for example under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016); or 
  • Parliament has intended that the legislation, under which the decision was made, should be the sole source of any rights for any review or challenge of the decision. 

Council will consider the availability of internal review on a case by case basis and against the Council’s internal review of councils decisions s270 procedure.

How do I seek an internal review?

Applications for internal review must:

  • be made in writing to Council’s Chief Executive Officer at one of the following:

Postal Address: PO BOX 1, Noarlunga Centre SA 5168 
Civic Centre:      Ramsay Place Noarlunga Centre 5168

  • be accompanied by the prescibed fee which is currently set at $20;
  • be made within six calendar months of the date of the decision the subject of the internal review (subject to the discretion of the Chief Executive Officer);
  • specifically request an internal review;
  • provide full details of the decision the subject of the internal review including the:
    • decision;
    • date of the decision;
    • details of the person or body that made the decision;
  • include the reasons for seeking an internal review;
  • provide your name and contact details; and
  • comply with Council’s internal review of councils decisions S270 procedure

Internal review of council decisions s270 procedure(PDF, 1MB)

How long will it take to process my internal review?

An application for internal review will be considered within 21 days of receipt of the application, however, in some circumstances it may take longer. You will be informed about the progress of the internal review and will be advised in writing of the outcome of the internal review procedure. 

What happens if I am dissatisfied?

Nothing prevents a person from making a complaint to the Ombudsman at any time under the Ombudsman Act 1972. The Ombudsman has the power to conduct an external review of the decision.

Privacy and confidentiality

Your identity will only be made known to those involved in the investigation whilst resolving the complaint. The complaint will not be revealed or made public by the council, except where required by law or when a matter is referred to Council.

Public Interest Disclosure

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018 came into operation on the 1 July 2019.  It repeals and replaces the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993.

The new Act focuses on the disclosure of information and encourages and facilitates 'appropriate disclosures' of certain information in the public interest by ensuring proper procedures are in place for making and dealing with disclosures, and providing protection to people who make these disclosures.

Under the new Act two types of information can be received. These are:

Environment and health information

  • Information that raises a potential issue of a substantial risk to the environment or to the health and safety of the public generally or a significant section of the public.

Public administration information

  • Information that raises a potential issue of corruption, misconduct or maladministration in public administration.

Who can make an ‘appropriate disclosure’?

Anyone can make an ‘appropriate disclosure’ of environment and health information.

While anyone can make a disclosure of public administration information only public officers who make an ‘appropriate disclosure’ of public administration information are eligible for the protections provided by the PID Act.  

A public officer is defined under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 and include:

  • Council employees
  • Councillors 
  • South Australia Police officers
  • public service employees
  • Members of the South Australian Parliament
  • Members of the South Australian judiciary

Further information

To assist the community in understanding the new protections, the following links are provided:

Information about making a Public Information Disclosure can be obtained via:

How to make a disclosure to a Responsible Officer

  • Any person wishing to provide information in accordance with the Public Information Disclosure Act 2018 has the following options:

    By Mail: 
    Confidential – Public Interest Disclosure Responsible Officer
    Box 612
    Noarlunga SA 5168. 

    Mail will be delivered unopened directly to a Responsible Officer.

     By Email: