How to make a complaint

If you are involved with a development application, you are entitled to make a complaint about a decision that was made or the conduct of a decision-maker.

The new planning system introduces new complaint handling procedures for assessment panels, assessment managers and accredited professionals.

The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) receives complaints, reports and disclosures about public integrity. This includes the conduct of people working with or for the state and local government agencies.

Decision-makers

Detailed guidelines for making a complaint about a member of an Assessment Panel or an Accredited Professional are outlined below. If you wish to make a complaint against an Assessment Manager you will need to contact the council that appointed the relevant Assessment Panel. Complaints or reports to the Independent Commissioner against Corruption are to be lodged with the Office for Public Integrity (OPI).

Assessment panels are a decision-making body established by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Assessment panels generally make decisions on more complex developments.

All assessment panels members must comply with the Code of Conduct that is established to guide their decision-making.

There are different types of assessment panel:

  • Council Assessment Panel - appointed by a council to replace the council’s Development Assessment Panel.
  • Regional Assessment Panel - established by the Minister and comprises parts or all of the areas of two or more councils.
  • Joint Planning Board Assessment Panel - appointed by a Joint Planning Board, once established.
  • Combined Assessment Panel - established by the Minister for applications across different legislation, for example planning and mining.
  • Local Assessment Panel - constituted by the Minister upon recommendation of the Commission following an inquiry into an existing Council Assessment Panel.

Complaints about an assessment panel must be lodged to the State Planning Commission. They should be lodged within six months of when the incident is believed to have occurred.

Complaints handling procedure for assessment panels (PDF, 283 KB)

Assessment Managers are appointed by a local council as their decision-maker under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Assessment Managers are planning professionals that hold a Planning Level 1 accreditation. They make decisions on:

  • deemed-to-satisfy development
  • performance-assessed development that is not publicly notified
  • land division consent, including community titles and strata titles

All Assessment Managers must comply with the Code of Conduct that is established to guide their decision-making.

Complaints about an Assessment Manager must be lodged to the assessment panel for the council that appointed them.

Find your local council

Accredited professionals are independent decision-makers established by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Accredited professionals generally make decisions on simple, straightforward developments including:

All accredited professionals must comply with the Code of Conduct that is established to guide their decision-making.

There are different classes of accredited professional who are able to assess different types of proposals:

  • Planning Level 1 -
    • deemed-to-satisfy development with minor variations
    • performance-assessed developments not assigned to assessment panels
    • and approve land decision consent, including community titles and strata titles
  • Planning Level 2 - performance-assessed development applications that are publicly notified
  • Planning Level 3 - deemed-to-satisfy development with minor variations
  • Planning Level 4 - deemed-to-satisfy developments without minor variations to the criteria
  • Surveyor - deemed-to-satisfy land divisions (planning consent only)
  • Building Level 1 - development requiring building consent, with no limitations and Accepted development
  • Building Level 2 - development requiring building consent, limited to buildings that are no more than three storeys in height or have a floor area of no more than 2000m2
  • Building Level 3 - development requiring building consent, limited to Class 1 and Class 10 buildings that are no more than two storeys in height or have a floor area of no more than 500m2.

To ensure that all complaints are of an appropriate nature a complaint must:

  1. be made in the approved form
  2. contain particulars of the allegation on which the complaint is based
  3. be verified by statutory declaration.

Accredited Professionals Scheme Complaint Form (PDF, 324 KB)

A complaint must not be lodged with the Accreditation Authority more than 12 months after the day on which the complainant first had notice of the matters alleged in the complaint, unless the Accreditation Authority allows you to.

A complaint can be submitted to the Accreditation Authority by either:

Post

Attorney-General’s Department
Accreditation Authority
GPO Box 1815
Adelaide SA 5001

Email

DIT.APSQueries@sa.gov.au

Downloads

The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (the ICAC Act) has different rights and obligations for public officers and members of the public.

ICAC is responsible for public integrity across the state and can help facilitate complaints on your behalf.

Complaints from members of the public

Members of the public can make a complaint to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) anonymously if they wish.

Complaints can be made online or download the complaint form and post or deliver to OPI.

You can also call 8207 1777 and leave a voicemail and OPI will return your call.

Reports from public officers or authorities

Public officers, public authorities and inquiry agencies are obligated to make a report and a unlike a member of the public, a public officer doesn’t have a right to anonymity. They must use the online system to make a report.

Lodging a complaint or report

The online or downloadable form guides the process of reporting corruption, misconduct, or maladministration.

Before you begin you should:

  • be clear about who and what you are making a complaint or report about.
  • gather all the relevant information including if it has been reported anywhere else and any outcome.
  • You need to provide:
  • names and positions of people involved
  • names of people who may have other information
  • details about when and where the conduct happened and when you became aware of it
  • any documented evidence

When your complaint or report is received, it will be registered, and you’ll get a letter or email within a couple of days (if you provided contact details).

Assessment of the complaint or report

All people, agencies and issues raised will be assessed to decide if they are possible instances of:

  • corruption, which may be investigated by the Commissioner or referred to SAPOL for investigation
  • maladministration, or misconduct is usually sent to a public authority or the Ombudsman for investigation. In serious cases the Commissioner will investigate the matters raised.

In some cases, complaints that need some action are referred to the responsible agency even if they aren’t misconduct maladministration or corruption, for instance a customer service issue or a misunderstanding.

Some matters need no further action if:

  • it not in relation to South Australian public administration
  • the matter is considered trivial, vexatious or frivolous
  • it has already been dealt with and there is no need to re-examine the matter

The timeframe for an assessment depends on:

  • the amount of information provided
  • if you are contactable for more information
  • if more information needs to be requested from other places.

What happens next

If you have provided contact details the OPI will let you know the outcome.

If an investigation uncovers evidence of corruption, the Commissioner may refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who will decide if they will prosecute the matter.

The ICAC Act intends the Commissioner refer serious or systemic misconduct and maladministration to an inquiry agency or public authority for investigation. In some circumstances the Commissioner can investigate misconduct and maladministration himself.