Complaints handling

The VEC recognises that receiving, analysing and responding to complaints provides the organisation with an important opportunity to identify potential business, information and service improvements.

How to make a complaint

All complaints must be in writing, unless the complainant has an impairment preventing them from being able to submit a complaint in writing, or if they have limited or no literacy in English (see Extra assistance contacting the VEC for further information on assistance).

Complaints can be lodged in any of the following ways:
Channel Details
Online: complaints@vec.vic.gov.au
Post: Victorian Electoral Commission
Level 11, 530 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000
In person: At the VEC office at Level 11, 530 Collins Street Melbourne 3000

The investigation of complaints of a legal nature, and suspected cases of fraud must comply with relevant State or Commonwealth law and policies, and may take longer to investigate.

Complaints which relate to the suspected interference of an individual's personal privacy by the VEC are required to be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy and may take longer to investigate. In the case of a serious breach of privacy, we may also report the incident to the Privacy and Data Protection Commissioner.
Further information is available from the VEC's Privacy Policy (PDF, 209kB).

The management of a disclosure complaint must comply with the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 and may take longer to investigate. This offers certain protections to a complainant.
Further information is available from the VEC's Protected Disclosure Policy (PDF, 98kB).

What to include in your complaint

You should provide the following details when making a complaint:
Details Description
Name of complainant: Your name or the name of the group/organisation making the complaint
Details of complaint: Detailed information regarding the complaint, including:
  • dates, time, locations, names of staff dealt with, where relevant or known
  • description of the issue/s you are concerned about
  • copies of any relevant supporting documents or correspondence relating to the complaint
Contact details: Your contact details such as a phone number, email address and/or postal address
Contact request: Whether you wish to be contacted regarding the complaint

Complaints lodged via social media

The VEC recognises that some complaints may be lodged on one of the VEC social media channels. If personal information is required to provide a response, you will be asked to communicate in a way which protects your privacy.

Complaint withdrawal

You may withdraw your complaint at any time during the process. However, the VEC may continue to investigate the complaint.

Extra assistance contacting the VEC

The VEC recognises that some complainants may require extra assistance in making a complaint and processes are in place to assist these complainants:

  1. National Relay Service
    If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact the VEC through the National Relay Service (NRS) (external link) and ask for 03 8620 1100.
  2. Interpreting and translating service
    If you would prefer to contact the VEC in a language other than English, interpreter services are also available.
  3. Other assistance
    The VEC may also be able to provide other assistance to assist you in the complaints process, upon request.

Complaints review process

Complaint review

You have the right to seek a review of our response to your complaint if you are dissatisfied with the response.

General complaints do not have a time limit for requesting a review of the outcome. However, complaints of a legal nature or those regarding fraud, a breach of privacy or a public interest disclosure may have specific time limits imposed for requesting a review of the response.

  1. How to request a review
    A request for a review of a complaint should be made, in writing wherever possible, to the VEC staff member who responded to the complaint, or as otherwise advised in the response provided.
  2. What to include in your request for a review
    You should provide the following details when requesting a review:
    Details Description
    Name of complainant: Your name or the name of the group/organisation requesting the review
    Details of review request: The detail of your concerns, including:
    • why you are dissatisfied with the response
    • a description of the issue/s you are concerned about
    • copies of any relevant supporting documents or correspondence relating to your original complaint
    • the unique reference number assigned to the original complaint, if known.
    Contact details: Your contact details such as a phone number, email address and/or postal address.
    Outcome: An indication of the outcome you are seeking.

How we conduct a review

A request for a review of a complaint response sees the matter escalated to the Electoral Commissioner. The Electoral Commissioner will:

  • gather the details of the original complaint
  • review the complaint response
  • meet with the signatory of the original complaint to review the complaint handling process and/or any further supporting documentation
  • make a final consideration and provide a review outcome to the complainant.

We aim to acknowledge a request for a review within three working days* and provide a response within 10 working days. If the response is anticipated to take longer than 10 days to complete we will contact the complainant to provide the expected response timeframe.

*if the response is provided within three working days, an acknowledgement will not be provided.

External review

A complainant has the right to seek an external review. However, we recommend that complainants use the review process above prior to seeking an external review.

  1. Options for external review
    Options for an external review include,
    • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
    • the Special Minister of State
    • the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
    • and/or the Courts.

Complaints service standards

Below are the response times the VEC observes when dealing with complaints.

Straightforward complaint – emailed to complaints@vec.vic.gov.au, info@vec.vic.gov.au, or cv@vec.vic.gov.au Auto acknowledgement and response within five working days
Straightforward complaint – received by mail Written acknowledgement within three working days and response within five working days. NB – no acknowledgement required if responded to within three working days.
Straightforward complaint – received by hand delivery Instant acknowledgement and response within five working days.
Complex complaint - emailed to complaints@vec.vic.gov.au and info@vec.vic.gov.au Auto acknowledgement and response within 10 working days.
If unable to be responded to within 10 working days, a complaint process update notification to be sent at the 10 day mark with a projected conclusion estimate.
Complex complaint - emailed to cv@vec.vic.gov.au Auto acknowledgement and response within 10 working days If unable to be responded to within 10 working days, a status update notification to be sent at the 10 day mark with a projected conclusion estimate.
Complex complaint – received by mail Written acknowledgement within three working days. If unable to be responded to within 10 working days, a complaint process update notification to be sent at the 10 day mark with a projected conclusion estimate.
Complex complaint – received by hand delivery Instant acknowledgement and response within 10 working days. If unable to be responded to within 10 working days, a complaint process update notification to be sent at the 10 day mark with a projected conclusion estimate.
Request for Internal review If received electronically, an auto acknowledgement will apply, otherwise an acknowledgement will be sent within three working days. A response will be forwarded within 10 working days from receipt. . If unable to be responded to within 10 working days, a complaint process update notification to be sent at the 10 day mark with a projected conclusion estimate.
Complaints forwarded to the Local Government Investigation and Compliance Inspectorate (LGICI) Written acknowledgement within three working days with advice forwarded to the LGICI. The VEC cannot be responsible for the timeliness of any reply from the LGICI.

Rights and Responsibilities

Whilst there are certain rights and responsibilities you can expect in the management of your complaint. The VEC also maintains some rights and responsibilities.

Complainant Rights

A complainant has the right to:

  • make a complaint
  • be treated with courtesy and respect by VEC staff
  • have a complaint managed in line with the VEC’s complaint management policy
  • seek a review of the VEC’s response if they are not satisfied with the response or the process undertaken
  • withdraw their complaint at any time.

Complainant Responsibilities

A complainant has a responsibility to:

  • treat VEC staff with courtesy and respect
  • provide only true and accurate information.

A complainant can also assist the VEC in the management of their complaint by:

  • providing sufficient information to enable the VEC to investigate the matter
  • providing further information if requested.

VEC Rights

The VEC has the right to:

  • have its employees treated with courtesy and respect
  • investigate a complaint after it has been withdrawn by a complainant.

VEC Responsibilities

The VEC has responsibility to:

  • support complainants' right to complain
  • protect complainants' privacy, and anonymity, if requested
  • manage a complaint in line with the complaint management policy
  • provide complainants with a timely response
  • provide complainants an avenue for internal review
  • cooperate with any request for information by another relevant organisation as a result of a complainant's external appeal of a VEC review decision.

Complaints Handling Principles

The VEC seeks to ensure that all complaints are managed in accordance with the following principles contained within its Complaints Handling Policy (Word, 107kB):

Accessibility

The VEC is committed to making its complaints management process accessible to all. Wherever possible, extra assistance is also available to complainants who may require particular assistance in making a complaint. The VEC is also committed to ensuring that staff understand this policy and abide by it when managing any complaint.

Responsiveness

The VEC is committed to being responsive to complaints in both how it manages them and in how it uses complaints to continuously improve its services and programs.

Confidentiality

The VEC is committed to maintaining confidentiality when managing complaints and will handle and maintain personal information according to its Privacy Policy (PDF, 209kB). The VEC does not confirm or deny the receipt of complaints, or discuss the complaint with anyone other than the parties necessarily involved.

Fairness

The VEC is committed to managing complaints fairly and with integrity, and will maintain impartiality and treat all complainants with respect. Complainants have an opportunity to respond and seek a review of the VEC’s response. A review of a complaint will be undertaken by the Electoral Commissioner via a prescribed escalation process 1. Where appropriate, an external investigator may be engaged to review a complaint.

Transparency

The VEC is committed to transparency in all aspects of its complaints management process. When responding to a complainant, the VEC will explain the reasons for the decision reached. Complaints will be properly recorded and this data used to meet the VEC’s reporting requirements.

Efficiency

The VEC is committed to managing complaints as efficiently as possible. For all complaints other than those regarding compulsory voting, the VEC acknowledges receipt of the complaint within three working days and will provide a response within five working days of receipt of the complaint in non-election periods 2. Where a complaint may be more complex in nature and requires further investigation, an update on the progress of the complaint will be provided 10 working days from receipt, and will include a projected conclusion estimate.


1. The exception is if the complaint relates to compulsory voting, in which case the escalation goes to the Prosecution Officer for review. If the Prosecution Officer’s reviewed decision is challenged, this would then be escalated to the Electoral Commissioner for a final decision.
2. The exception to this timeline is in the event of the Christmas/New Year shutdown period, where the process will commence from 2 January.
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