How to make a complaint about a decision maker

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.

Detailed guidelines for making a complaint about a member of an Assessment Panel, Assessment Managers or an Accredited Professional are outlined below.

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

There are different types of assessment panels:

  • 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)

A factsheet (PDF, 304 KB) is available to assist elected members in understanding their obligations when participating on a council assessment panel.

Each Assessment Panel established under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 must have an Assessment Manager appointed. 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 with the Chief Executive of the council that appointed them. Complaints about an Assessment Manager for a Regional Assessment Panel must be lodged with the Chief Executive of the Department.

Find your local council

factsheet (PDF, 279 KB) is available to assist Assessment Managers in understanding their obligations when participating on an assessment panel.

Accredited professionals are 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.

You are entitled to make a complaint about a decision maker. To ensure that all complaints are of an appropriate nature a complaint must:

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

Accredited Professionals Scheme Complaint Form (PDF, 330 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.APSComplaints@sa.gov.au

Downloads

Reports can be made to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) if you think a South Australian public officer has broken the law, or acted in a way that is seriously inappropriate or negligent.

This includes the conduct of any state or local government agency or other government authority, the people who work with them and for them, which includes accredited professionals.

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 complaints and reports about misconduct or maladministration (but not corruption) can also be made to the South Australian Ombudsman by emailing ombudsman@ombudsman.sa.gov.au or phoning (08) 8226 8699.

Before you begin you should consider:

  • Are you clear about who and what you are making a complaint or report about?
  • Can you provide names and positions of people involved in the conduct?
  • Can you provide names of people who may also have information about the conduct?
  • Can you provide details about the conduct including when and where it happened and when you became aware of it?
  • Do you have information about any documented evidence?
  • Has this matter been reported elsewhere and do you know the outcome?