Complaints handling process

We take complaints about councils very seriously and are committed to providing fair and reasonable outcomes. We assess complaints on the information provided by you, your council, and our obligations under the Local Government Act 1993. Below you will find the step-by-step process we take to assess complaints.

  • Is it a complaint we handle?

    First, we determine whether your complaint is about something we are obliged to address under the Act. Please refer to What OLG can assist with (When OLG can assist) to find information on which complaints we handle. You must also try to resolve the issue with your council before contacting us if it is appropriate to do so.

  • Submit a complaint with us

    If your complaint is something we handle you can let us know by submitting our Council Complaint Form. Please keep details of your complaint brief and to the point. Responses that are too long or contain details that are not relevant to your complaint will take longer to assess.


  • Assessing Complaints

    We assess all complaints to determine what actions will be taken to resolve your complaint. In some cases no action will be required. We base all our decisions on the following criteria:

    • Our obligations under the Local Government Act 1993
    • The information you provide including evidence to support your complaint
    • If the complaint is handled by another NSW Government agency
    • Whether the appropriate steps have been taken by you and Council to try to resolve the issue
    • Your complaint is one of several that points to a more systemic issue
    • How long ago the issue occurred and if intervention is unlikely to resolve it
    • Whether it is in the public interest to investigate further

    We may request that you provide further details and information about your complaint during the assessment process.

  • Our response

    You will receive a response from us within 4 weeks of submitting your complaint. Some complaints may take longer to assess and respond to depending on the nature of the complaint and the information we receive. Our response will explain the reasons for one of the following possible decisions:

    • We will take action in response to your complaint and what those actions will be
    • We will refer your complaint to the appropriate NSW Government agency to handle your complaint
    • We will take no action in response to your complaint

    We will also provide any information and advice on alternative ways to resolve the issue if it is appropriate to do so. While you may disagree with our response we can only take certain actions when we have an obligation to do so under the Local Government Act 1993.