Complaints + feedback
There are two formal channels for persons to register complaints concerning the Gallery:
- through the service charter, which enables visitors to the Gallery (or to the Gallery’s website) to provide feedback about services
- through complaints handling procedures below that provide the means for members of the public and Gallery employees to lodge complaints about any aspect of the Gallery’s operations.
Complaints handling guidelines
These guidelines have been prepared by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) for members of the public who are considering making a complaint.
Making a complaint or an allegation is a serious matter, and all parties involved may feel anxious about the process and outcome. NGA staff will strive to ensure all parties fully understand what is involved so that informed decisions can be made along the way.
A complaint, or just feedback?
The NGA values feedback and is working constantly to improve its services. The Service Charter outlines the services that we provide, what you can expect from us, and how you can assist us with improvements. The Service Charter is available here Service Charter and enables you to give us feedback on our services.
Who can make a complaint?
Anyone who is not satisfied with the services with which they are provided may lodge a complaint. If a complainant cannot personally lodge a complaint, they may authorise a third party to do so on their behalf.
Complainants who wish to remain anonymous may lodge their complaints anonymously. If the complaint is investigated, we will endeavour to preserve their anonymity. However, it may be difficult for the NGA to either fully assess the merit of the complaint, or adequately investigate it, without being able to clarify issues with the anonymous complainant.
The information you provide in completing the complaint form below may be used in conducting an investigation into your complaint.
We guarantee to maintain your confidentiality and privacy as far as possible while investigating your complaint. We will ensure that only those who need to know are given details of you or your complaint. If you demand absolute confidentiality, we will discuss with you the problems which that may present in resolving your complaint.
Complainants with special needs should make them known to the complaints coordinator who will assist or make special arrangements where possible. See below for contact details.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman is able to investigate complaints about administrative matters, and can usually do so without disclosing the identity of complainants. Complainants who are concerned to maintain their anonymity should consider contacting the Ombudsman’s office .
If English is not your preferred language, please phone +61 2 6240 6559.
The complaint procedure
Anyone who is not satisfied with the service they received should tell the staff member concerned, or their supervisor, to try to resolve the problem.
If this does not resolve the complaint, or if it is not possible to identify the original staff member or their supervisor, then a formal complaint (or feedback through the Service Charter) should be considered.
Formal complaints may be submitted by telephone, personally, or in writing or via electronic means. A Complaint Form that sets out required information is provided as part of these Guidelines.
Whatever method is chosen to notify the complaint, the complainant should be careful to ensure that all relevant details are provided so the complaint can be dealt with expeditiously.
The complaint must include:
- complainant’s name, address and contact details (unless anonymity is being sought);
- an explanation of the complaint, describing what happened, how it happened and who was involved;
- any letters or memos which may be relevant to the complaint;
- a suggested outcome being sought by the complainant; and
- if the complaint is being lodged on behalf of another person, that person’s name and their relationship to the complainant (unless anonymity is being sought).
How to lodge a complaint
A complaint may be lodged in person, via telephone, electronically or sending a letter or form. See below for the various complaint channels.
The stages in submitting a formal complaint are as follows:
Stage 1 - Lodgement
- The complainant advises, orally or in writing, their complaint to the Complaints Coordinator. An acknowledgement will be sent to the complainant within 5 working days of its receipt. In most cases the NGA will resolve the complaint within 15 working days of receipt. If this is not possible, an update will be provided to the complainant as soon as possible specifying the likely time frame for resolution.
- Complaints will be registered and acknowledged by the Complaints Coordinator in the Governance and Reporting Section before being forwarded to the relevant Program Manager who will identify an appropriate action officer. The Program Manager will use his/her discretion to determine whether the complaint should be brought to the Director’s attention.
- If the Program Manager considers the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, he/she will advise the Complaints Coordinator of this assessment, and the reasons. The Complaints Coordinator will then seek the Deputy Director’s approval to dismiss the complaint and advise the complainant accordingly. The decision to dismiss a complaint as frivolous or vexatious cannot be made without the decision maker ensuring they have a complete understanding or the nature, scope and extent of the complaint. This may include seeking additional information from the complainant.
Stage 2 - Assessment
- The complaint will be assessed according to the circumstances and the available evidence. The person making the complaint may be contacted for more information if necessary, and if the complaint is not made anonymously.
- Gallery staff against whom a complaint is made will be provided with all details of the allegation, and their comments sought.
- A response to the complaint will be provided to the complainant outlining any actions to be taken. The response will detail the reasons for the decision. A copy will also be provided to the subject of the complaint.
Stage 3 - Review
- If the complaint has not been resolved satisfactorily, the complainant may apply to the Director for a review to be undertaken. Depending on the circumstances, the Director may appoint a Review Officer. A review must be requested within 28 days of the complainant receiving the response.
- Other rights of review include the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, if relevant to the nature of the complaint. These avenues would normally only be pursued after all other avenues have been exhausted.
Complaints and feedback contacts
- Email email@example.com
- Phone + 61 2 6240 6559
- Via Online feedback form or
- printable form (pdf)
- For website matters please email website feedback please view website disclaimer
- The Complaints Coordinator
Governance and Reporting Section
National Gallery of Australia
GPO Box 1150
CANBERRA ACT 2601
- Download complaints form
If the complaint is about the Complaints Coordinator, the complaint should be forwarded to the Gallery’s Deputy Director at the same postal address above, or telephone (02) 6240 6401.