External dispute resolution research | ACMA

External dispute resolution research

This 2011 research for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) by Calluna Consulting Pty Ltd, examined the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)’s systemic issues function and compared it with industry best practice.

Key findings

The research paper highlights a number of weaknesses in the TIO’s model for dealing with systemic issues in the telecommunications industry and sets out recommendations for aligning the TIO’s processes with best practice external dispute resolution.

Significant reform will be required to implement these recommendations, as many require fundamental changes to the regulatory landscape and the TIO’s Constitution.

The recommendations include:

  1. Regulatory Framework: Reform the consumer protection framework in the telecommunications industry to require the TIO to obtain approval as an external dispute resolution scheme.

  2. Definition of Systemic Issue: Provide regulatory guidance to the TIO about the definition of ‘systemic issue’.

  3. Require the TIO, as a condition of approval, to adopt a definition that is consistent with regulatory requirements.

  4. Amend the current definition in the TIO Constitution to:

    • make it less complex
    • remove criteria that restrict the scheme’s ability to classify a matter as systemic
    • ensure it encompasses the conduct of both an individual scheme member and multiple members.

  5. Investigation of Systemic Issues: Provide regulatory guidance to the TIO about the requirements of systemic issue investigations.

  6. Amend the current provisions in the TIO Constitution and TIO Systemic Problem Investigation Procedures to remove criteria that restrict the scheme’s ability to commence and conduct investigations.

  7. Reporting to Regulators: Make mandatory reporting of systemic issues a condition of the TIO’s approval of an external dispute resolution scheme.

  8. Incorporate these mandatory reporting obligations into the scheme’s Constitution.

  9. Require the scheme to report quarterly to regulators with statistics on the number of potential and confirmed systemic issues identified during the quarter, and details about confirmed systemic issues, including the nature of the problem, progress and resolution.

  10. Additional reports, identifying members, are to be provided to regulators as soon as practicable, where the member does not rectify a systemic problem to the TIO’s satisfaction.

  11. Reporting to the Public: Include additional information in the TIO Annual Report about systemic issues:

  12. Include details and case studies about systemic issues in the TIO Talks newsletter and on the TIO website.

Download report

The full report is available in Word (215 kB) or PDF (555 kB).

Last updated: 02 May 2018