Complaints against a council may arise from a decision made by the council or an action they have taken. They may include complaints about services provided or conduct of council employees or council members.
The first step in any complaint against a council is to contact your council office or your local council member to make the complaint.
For contact information for all South Australian councils see the Local Government Association of SA website.
The complaints process may vary depending on the type of matter it is so it is important to ask the council for assistance in how to make a complaint for a particular matter. For instance, a complaint about animal control under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 will have a different procedure to a complaint about how a property has been valuated.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome you can ask the council for an internal review [see Local Government Act 1999 (SA) s 270]. This request must be made in writing. Councils must make available their policy and procedures for conducting an internal review.
If the complaint has not been resolved through internal review you can contact the South Australian Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has the power to investigate complaints against local government agencies. They also conduct reviews of freedom of information decisions made by councils.
Certain council decisions can also be reviewed by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) [see, for example, section 256 of the Local Government Act 1999 (SA)].
Schedule 2A of the Local Government (General) Regulations 2013 (SA) provides for a Code of Conduct for council employees. This code includes, amongst other provisions, that a council employee cannot seek out or receive a gift or benefit that influences their performance as an employee. Each council is also required to maintain a register of gifts and benefits of a certain value received by employees.
See Local Government (General) Regulations 2013 (SA) Schedule 2A.
A Code of Conduct for council members has also been adopted [see Local Government (General) Regulations 2013 (SA) reg 7]. A copy of the Code of Conduct for members can be located in the South Australian Government Gazette.
For information on how to object to property valuations see Complaints about taxation (State government).
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.