Management of Complaints by Clients Policy

1. Purpose

To ensure that all clients, staff and volunteers of the State Library are aware of how complaints from clients are managed.

2. Scope

The management of complaints by clients is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers.


A complaint is defined as:
Any indication that an external person or organisation is dissatisfied with the services, products or facilities provided by the State Library of Western Australia.

The complaint can be received:

  • by State Library feedback form,
  • by email,
  • in person,
  • by telephone,
  • by letter, or
  • via a Ministerial request.

This definition includes complaints as defined above (though may also include feedback and suggestions) from members of the public, local governments, public librarians and other government, business or community organisations.

3. Context

As a public sector agency with a major public focus, the State Library of Western Australia strives to provide best practice service delivery to its clients, and effective complaint handling is a key part of good client service.

All complaints by clients received by State Library are dealt with promptly, fairly, effectively and courteously by the manager of the team that receives the feedback. The complainant can decide if they want to receive a response and the form of that response - verbal, email or letter. Where a complaint cannot be dealt with in the stated timeframes, the complainant will receive acknowledgement that their complaint has been received with an indication of the timeframe in which it will be dealt with.

Vexatious complaints about staff are dealt with by the line manager of the staff member involved. Genuine complaints against staff are managed by line managers and in some cases Human Resources.

Depending upon the nature and context of the complaint by a client, an investigation may be undertaken. Any investigation of a complaint is carried out fairly and with impartiality.

Complaints by clients, and responses to complaints, are treated as confidential, however, complaints may be the subject of a Freedom of Information application where the Freedom of Information Act 1992 will determine what documents or content of documents is made available to the applicant.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, they may be directed to make a further complaint to a Director or the CEO and State Librarian. If still unsatisfied, a complainant may be directed to make a complaint to the Western Australian Ombudsman.

All complaints by clients are treated as corporate records under the State Library’s Corporate Records Management Policy.

Complaints by clients are anonymised and grouped for reporting in the Annual Report of the Library Board of Western Australia.

4. Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Library Board of Western Australia that:

All complaints by clients will be dealt with promptly, fairly, effectively and courteously. Where possible, a response will be provided within the following timeframes:

  • Electronic response – 3 working days
  • Written response – 10 working days

State Library staff and volunteers promote awareness of the complaints by clients handling process through the provision of the Library Use Policy and Client Code of Conduct and by providing client feedback forms throughout the building.

Staff and volunteers have a responsibility to record all complaints by clients, including verbal complaints, in compliance with State Library procedures.

The State Library recognises the right of people with disabilities to have the same access to make a complaint and have it dealt with. Complaints can be made in any format at the client’s request.

The State Library recognises the right of children and young people to make a complaint and to have it dealt with in an appropriate manner.

The rights of the complainant for confidentiality, respect and natural justice will be protected, as are those of staff or volunteers who are the subject of a complaint.

The State Library will regularly review complaints by clients and feedback as a means of continuously improving services and facilities.

5. Responsibilities

Manager Client Services (content and implementation).

6. References

Library Use Policy
Client Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct (DLGSC)
Child Safeguarding Policy (DLGSC)
Disability Access and Inclusion Plan
Corporate Records Management Policy
Freedom of Information Act 1992

Approved, Library Board, 1 December 2022.