Managing Complaints

The City of Darwin Animal Management By-Laws are the primary legislation behind the Animal Management Plan. Other relevant legislation to the application of the Animal Management Plan include:

Council has well-established processes designed to resolve issues in a manner that takes into account the needs, rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. The general complaints management procedure identifies:

  • the steps involved in resolving a complaint
  • guidelines for Council staff to effectively resolve issues
  • how the system works

Council has a process that is specific to resolving complaints associated with dogs and cats.


General complaint management procedure

  1. Complaints may be made by phone, email, in writing or in person. They may also be anonymous.
  2. When the complaint is received, it will be recorded in Council’s database and the appropriate Council Ranger will be given the complaint for investigation/action.
  3. The Council Ranger will contact the resident acknowledging receipt of their complaint within seven (7) days.
  4. The Council Ranger will:
    • demonstrate that they clearly understand what the complaint is about
    • explain what will happen with the investigation/action
    • explain that it will take, at the most, 35 days to finalise the complaint.
  5. The Council Ranger will investigate the complaint as quickly as possible and use all relevant Council procedures. They will also enforce any relevant legislation.
  6. The complainant will be advised within 20 days of the progress of their complaint.
  7. All investigations and actions, including what has happened, will be recorded on the Council database.
  8. Council will let the resident know the result of their complaint within 35 days, either in writing or verbally, and will record this on the Council database.
  9. If the investigation is to extend beyond 35 days, Council will let the resident know and update them on progress made.

Anonymous complaints

Sometimes people are more comfortable making an anonymous complaint. Your confidentiality is ensured and Council will not pass on any details that can identify the resident. Council will do their best to address anonymous complaints. However, it can be very difficult to resolve these issues, or to enforce legislation, without the ability to thoroughly investigate and gather evidence and witness information.

Complaints associated with dogs and cats

Complaints about dogs and cats can be complex to resolve. More detailed processes, that meet the requirements outlined in the general complaint management process, have been developed to address these complaints.


Mediation

In some instances Council may refer complaints or disputes to the Community Justice Centre (CJC). Council may decide to take this action when complaints are:

  • more general in nature
  • a neighbourhood dispute, or
  • not able to be resolved using Council’s general complaints procedure.

Council advises the parties involved about the services the CJC provides and gives them appropriate contact details. Any mediation is independent of Council and Council will be advised of the outcomes so they can be entered onto the database.


Appeals against Council decisions

If you want to appeal a Council decision there are a number of avenues available to you. You can either lodge your appeal with Council or with the Local Government Tribunal.


Lodging an appeal with Council

For matters relating to the application of Council’s By-Laws or the Animal Management Plan an application may be made to the Manager of Regulatory Services who will instigate a review of the decision. If a further review is required an appeal may be made to the General Manager of Corporate Services.