Note: the original hard copy of this report is 164 pages .

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Data digest: a compendium of service usage data from NSW legal assistance and dispute resolution services, 1999-2002   

, 2004 Analyses data collected by the main publicly funded NSW legal service providers on the nature of inquiries received, the demographic characteristics of inquirers and the pathways they took to resolve their issues.


Appendix 6: Tables - dispute resolution agencies


This appendix contains the usage data for each of the 24 dispute resolution agencies detailed in Section 2 of the Digest. The data covers the three calendar years 2000, 2001 and 2002 and the three financial years 1999/2000, 2000/2001 and 2001/2002. For organisations with a national jurisdiction, NSW statistics have been reported where available.

The data were taken directly from Annual Reports and Reviews. There are a number of differences in how the agencies have reported their data. The agencies collect different data sets and use different categories and terms. In the case of recording approaches made to them by service users, some agencies record both inquiries and complaints and others have more detailed categories such as free call number, disputes, grievances and problems. Tribunals use the terms lodgements and applications. Some agencies distinguish between written and oral approaches and some record administrative calls. Some agencies report their data in percentages, some in volume, some in both, and some in percentages one year and volume the next. Some agencies did not report the same information over all three years.

For these reasons there has been no attempt to map the data to a consistent reporting style.

The agencies appear in the following order, divided into Commonwealth and State agencies for each category:
Government - Commonwealth

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission

Table 6-1:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia
Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Inquiriesa
46 390
48 660
9 602
Complaintsb
33 309
46 749
47 518
Total
79 699
95 409
57 120
a  Includes inquiries not pursued and inquiries about GST. There was no GST inquiry and complaint category in 2001/2002.
b  Includes complaints include pursued complaints, complaints not pursued and complaints about GST.
Source:  ACCC Annual Reports, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 28 per cent in the number of approaches to the ACCC over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 20 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 40 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Table 6-2:  Volume of approachesa by year, NSW
Commonwealth Ombudsman, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Agency approach related to
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
C’wealth Ombudsman
4 624
4 703
4 444
Australian Federal Police
12
7
11
ACT Ombudsman
2
1
0
Defence Force Ombudsman
149
132
93
Other approaches
2 521
2 025
2 955
Total
7 308
6 868
7 503
a  Approaches includes written and oral complaints.
Source:  Commonwealth Ombudsman Annual Reports, 1999/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 3 per cent in the number of complaints from NSW to the Ombudsman over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of a decrease of 6 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and an increase of 9 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Table 6-3:  Volume of approaches by year, NSW
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Telephone inquiriesa
-
3 996
3 926
Written inquiries
-
246
271
Complaint lodged
492
501
517
Total
492
4 743
4 714
a  Includes telephone, email, TTY, and in person inquiries.
Source:  HREOC Annual Reports, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There were a total of 4714 approaches to HREOC from NSW in the financial year 2001/2002, a 1 per cent decrease from the financial year 2000/2001. Between the two financial years mentioned, the number of telephone inquiries decreased while the number of written inquiries and complaints lodged increased.

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

Table 6-4:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, 2000/2001 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Problemsa
707
1 628
1 314
Grievancesb
463
648
1 288
Disputesc
705
1 081
580
Total complaints received
1 875
3 357
3 182
a  Problem – moderate level of complaint.
b  Grievance – moderate level of complaint where mediation is required.
c  Dispute – highest level of complaint where significant investigation is required.
Source:  PHIO Annual Reports 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 70 per cent in total approaches to the Ombudsman over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 79 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 5 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

Table 6-5:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Contacta
67 761
98 853
85 927
a  Includes inquiries and complaints.
Source:  TIO Annual Reports 2001, 2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 27 per cent in the number of approaches to the TIO over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 46 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 13 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002. According to the Annual Report, the rise was due to two factors: an increased number of enquiry officers which enabled more complaints to be investigated and the fact that One.Tel went into voluntary administration during the last months of 2000/01.


Government - State

Anti-Discrimination Board

Table 6-6:  Volume of approaches by year, NSW
Anti-Discrimination Board, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Inquirya
16 655
15 520
15 072
Complaintb
1 381
1 587
1 625
Total
18 036
17 107
16 697
a  Includes seeking information, advice, assistance or requesting publications. Can be by phone, letter, TTY, email or face-to-face.
b  Completing a complaint form or sending a letter.
Source:  ADB Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 7 per cent in the number of approaches to the Anti-Discrimination Board over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of a decrease of 10 per cent in the number of inquiries and an increase of 18 per cent in the number of complaints. The Annual Report suggests that the decrease in inquiries may be due to increased access to the web site and a consequent increase in the complexity of inquiries.

Community Justice Centres

Table 6-7:  Volume of complaintsa by year, NSW
Community Justice Centres, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of complaint
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Behaviouralb
14 987
15 902
13 773
Specificc
9 157
10 883
8 737
Total
24 144
26 785
22 510
a  Complaints are only recorded for Party A. There may be more than one complaint per case, for example, the average number of complaints per case in 2001/02 was 3.
b  Complaints relating to the disputing behaviour.
c  Complaints relating to the nature of the problem.
Source:  CJC Annual Reports, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: The number of complaints to Community Justice Centres decreased by 7 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 11 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 16 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

NSW Health Care Complaints Commission

Table 6-8:  Volume of complaints by year, NSW
Health Care Complaints Commission, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of complaint
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Telephone inquiriesa
5 340
6 635
5 310
Patient Support Serviceb
3 119
4 056
3 842
Written complaints
2 425
2 888
2 673
Total
10 884
13 579
11 825
a  Telephone inquiries do not include administrative calls.
b  Patient Support Service assists clients in resolving complaints with private and public health services.
Source:  HCCC Annual Report 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 9 per cent in the number of approaches to the Commission over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of a decrease of 0.6 per cent in the number of telephone inquiries, an increase of 23 per cent in the number of inquiries to the Patient Support Service and an increase of 10 per cent in the number of written complaints.

NSW Ombudsman

Table 6-9:  Volume of approaches by year, NSW
NSW Ombudsman, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Written complaints/notifications
9 388
9 820
8 292
Oral complaints/inquiries
24 025
26 564
26 533
Total
33 413
36 384
34 825
Source:  NSW Ombudsman Annual Report 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 4 per cent in the number of approaches to the NSW Ombudsman over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of a decrease of 12 per cent in the number of written complaints and notifications and an increase of 10 per cent in the number of oral complaints and inquiries.

Office of Industrial Relations, NSW Department of Commerce

Table 6-10:  Volume of complaints by year, NSW
Department of Industrial Relations,a 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Industrial complaints
6 132
5 953
4 300
a  These figures apply to the Department of Industrial Relations, which was the name of the Office of Industrial Relations prior to 2003.
Source:  NSW Department of Industrial Relations Annual Report 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 30 per cent in the number of industrial complaints to the Department of Industrial Relations over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of a decrease of 3 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 28 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002. The Annual Report noted that this was due to the adoption of early intervention strategies which resolve grievances prior to the formal complaint registration phase.

Office of the Legal Services Commissioner

Table 6-11:  Volume of approaches by year, NSW
Office of the Legal Services Commissioner, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Telephone inquiries
9 089
9 110
9 999
Written complaints
2 901
2 635
2 928
Total
11 990
11 745
12 927
Source: OLSC Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.
Usage trends: There was an increase of 8 per cent in the number of approaches over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 10 per cent in the number of inquiries and an increase of 0.9 per cent in the number of complaints.


Tribunals - Commonwealth

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Table 6-12:  Volume of lodgements by year, Australia
Administrative Appeals Tribunal, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Total lodgements
8 050
12 863
7 767
Source:  AAT Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 4 per cent in the number of lodgements over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 60 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 40 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Migration Review Tribunal

Table 6-13:  Volume of applications by year, Australia and NSW
Migration Review Tribunal, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Region of residence of applicant
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
New applications (Australia)
6 480
7 211
8 531
New applications (NSW)
3 429a
4 133
-
a  Reported as 3705 on p.15 of 2000/01 Annual Report.
Note:  Figures for NSW were not reported in the 2001/2002 Annual Report.
Source:  MRT Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 32 per cent in the number of new applications over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 11 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and an increase of 18 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Refugee Review Tribunal

Table 6-14:  Volume of applications by year, Australia
Refugee Review Tribunal, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
New applications received
6 093a
6 545
4 929
a  This number was reported as 6133 on p. 17 of the 2000/2001 Annual Report.
Source:  RRT Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 19 per cent in the number of new applications over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 7 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 25 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Social Security Appeals Tribunal

Table 6-15:  Volume of applications by year, Australia
Social Security Appeals Tribunal, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Applications received
9 231
9 349
9 576
Source: SSAT Annual Reports 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 4 per cent in the number of applications received over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 1 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and an increase of 2 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

Table 6-16:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia and NSW
Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Telephone inquiries (Australia)
10 603
8 733
11 993
Written complaints (Australia)
1 599
1 856
2 023
Written complaints (NSW)
486
637
671
Source:  SCT Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 38 per cent in the number of written complaints from NSW over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 31 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and an increase of 5 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.


Tribunals - State

Administrative Decisions Tribunal

Table 6-17:  Volume of applications by year, NSW
Administrative Decisions Tribunal, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of application
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
General
374
350
293
Community Services
16
60
70
EEO
91
111
108
Retail Leases
152a
107
137
Legal Services
35
38
38
Total
668
666
646
a  52 is quoted in the 2000/01 Annual Report.
Source:  ADT Annual Reports, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 3 per cent in the number of applications to the ADT over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of a decrease of 0.3 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a further decrease of 3 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002. The 2001-2002 ‘Revenue’ category was not included in these calculations, as it commenced in 2001.

Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT)

Table 6-18:  Volume of applications by year, NSW
Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal,a 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Total applications received
61 564
64 458
61 316
a  Previously the Residential Tribunal (RT) and Fair Trading Tribunal (FTT).
Source:  RT & FTT Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001; CTTT Annual Report 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 0.4 per cent in the number of applications over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 5 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and a decrease of 5 per cent from 2000/2001 to 20001/2002.


Self-regulated industry - Commonwealth

Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman

Table 6-19:  Volume of approaches by year, Australiaa
Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman,b 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Inquiries from individualsc
54 649
61 729
64 365
Disputes
6 199
7 107
7 992
Total
60 848
68 836
72 357
a  NSW disputes made up 32 per cent of the total disputes in 2001/02.
b  Changed to the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman in 2003.
c  Inquiries from business excluded.
Source:  ABIO Annual Reports, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 19 per cent in the number of approaches over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 18 per cent in the number of inquiries and an increase of 29 per cent in the number of disputes.

Credit Union Dispute Resolution Centre

Table 6-20:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia
Credit Union Dispute Resolution Centre, 2001/2002a
Type of approach
2001/2002
Freecall number
4 348
Inquiries
864
Complaints
343
Disputes
89
Total
5 644
a  Annual Reports not available for earlier years.
Source:  CUDRC Annual Report 2001/2002.

Usage trends: Data were only available for one year.

Financial Industry Complaints Service

Table 6-21:  Volume of telephone approaches by year, Australia
Financial Industry Complaints Service, 2000 to 2001
Type of approach
2000
2001
Telephone inquiries
7 737
7 151
Telephone complaints
3 514
3 481
Total
11 251
10 632
Source:  FICS Annual Review 2001.

Usage trends: There was a decrease of 6 per cent in the number of telephone approaches over the two calendar years from 2000 to 2001. This consisted of a decrease of 8 per cent in the number of telephone inquiries and a decrease of 1 per cent in the number of telephone complaints.

Insurance Brokers Disputes Ltd

Table 6-22:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia
Insurance Brokers Disputes Ltd, 2000 to 2002
Type of approach
2000
2001
2002
Toll free callsa
3 388
3 288
4 031
Written complaints
161
195
155
Written complaints (NSW)
51
54
57
a  Toll free calls include calls about new and existing complaints, verbal advice and
broker referrals to other complaints schemes and relevant bodies.
Source:  IBDF Annual Reports 2000, 2001, 2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 12 per cent in the number of complaints from New South Wales over the three years from 2000 to 2002. This consisted of an increase of 6 per cent from 2000 to 2001 and an increase of 6 per cent from 2001 to 2002.

Insurance Enquiries and Complaints Ltd

Table 6-23:  Volume of approaches by year, Australia and NSW
Insurance Enquiries and Complaints Ltd, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
Type of approach
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Inquiries
56 855
68 252
75 487
Disputes (NSW)
991
1 089
1 169
Source:  IEC Annual Reviews 2000, 2001, 2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 18 per cent in the number of disputes in NSW over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This was comprised of an increase of 10 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and an increase of 7 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.


Self-regulated industry - State

Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW

Table 6-24:  Volume of complaints by year, NSW
Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW, 1999/2000 to 2001/2002
1999/2000
2000/2001
2001/2002
Complaints
3 648
4 344
4 908
Source:  EWON Annual Reports 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002.

Usage trends: There was an increase of 35 per cent in the number of complaints over the three financial years from 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. This consisted of an increase of 19 per cent from 1999/2000 to 2000/2001 and an increase of 13 per cent from 2000/2001 to 2001/2002.