7. Managing the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Scheme
The TIO scheme is operated by a company called Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Limited (TIO Limited).
The TIO scheme is managed by an Ombudsman and a Board of Directors. This section explains their responsibilities.
The Ombudsman’s responsibilities
The Ombudsman is responsible for:
(a) handling complaints;
(b) making policies and procedures, to the extent the Board delegates this responsibility to the Ombudsman;
By approving these Terms of Reference, the Board has delegated to the Ombudsman responsibility for making policies and procedures for handling complaints and systemic issues.
Before making any policy or procedure the Ombudsman must discuss it with the Board and consider any comments the Board makes.
Any policy or procedure must be consistent with these Terms of Reference, the Constitution of TIO Limited and the goals and overall strategy set by the Board for TIO Limited and the TIO scheme.
(c) managing the TIO scheme’s day-to-day operations;
- working with industry bodies, regulators and other government authorities
- appointing and terminating the appointment of staff including in consultation with the Board, appointing and terminating the appointment of a Deputy Ombudsman (but not an Acting Ombudsman)
- making sure we have an up-to-date list of providers available to the public
- keeping data about the complaints we handle and requests for information we receive
- giving confidential reports to providers and the Board as the Ombudsman thinks appropriate
(d) managing the TIO scheme’s finances;
The Board is ultimately responsible for the TIO scheme’s finances. The Ombudsman manages the TIO scheme’s finances subject to the Board’s oversight.
The Ombudsman must:
- control (subject to the Board’s oversight) and monitor the TIO scheme’s finances
- give the Board regular reports about the TIO scheme’s finances
- make sure our spending is efficient and kept within the approved budget
(e) managing the overall performance of the TIO scheme.
- meeting any goals set by the Board
- in consultation with the Board, preparing our annual report
- attending meetings of the Board and Board committees when invited by the Board or the committee (but the Ombudsman cannot vote in these meetings)
- in consultation with the Board, promoting the TIO scheme
- making general statements in public about the TIO scheme
- making recommendations to the Board about reviews of the TIO scheme
The Ombudsman can delegate responsibilities
Only the Ombudsman (or the Deputy Ombudsman, if delegated by the Ombudsman) can do the following things:
(a) decide the resolution of a complaint;
(b) make a recommendation after investigating a complaint;
(c) make a temporary ruling;
(d) arbitrate a complaint.
The Ombudsman can delegate any other responsibility to any of our staff. This includes any responsibility under a law, an industry code or an industry standard unless the law, industry code or industry standard prevents delegation of the responsibility.
The Board’s responsibilities
The Board is responsible for:
(a) managing the business, affairs and property of TIO Limited;
(b) monitoring the overall performance and results of TIO Limited and the TIO scheme;
(c) setting goals and the overall strategy for TIO Limited and the TIO scheme;
(d) managing TIO Limited’s finances;
- overseeing the Ombudsman’s management of our spending
- overseeing our capital management, funding and cashflows
- ensuring we have sufficient funding
- setting financial delegations
(e) overseeing TIO Limited’s systems for risk management, auditing and legal compliance;
(f) appointing and terminating the appointment of the Ombudsman;
The Board can also appoint and terminate the appointment of an Acting Ombudsman.
(g) making policies and procedures for TIO Limited and the TIO scheme, subject to any delegation of this responsibility to the Ombudsman;
Responsibility for making policies and procedures for handling complaints and systemic issues has been delegated by the Board to the Ombudsman by these Terms of Reference.
(h) providing advice to the Ombudsman;
(i) maintaining the Ombudsman’s independence.
Changing these Terms of Reference
Every 12 months the Ombudsman will consider whether the financial limits on the Ombudsman’s powers should be changed.
The Ombudsman can suggest a change to these Terms of Reference to the Board at any time. The Board can also make its own suggestion for a change to these Terms of Reference at any time.
The Ombudsman and the Board will discuss any suggested change.
The Board will decide whether to make the suggested change. Before making the change, the Board must inform the Federal government ministers in charge of communications and consumer affairs policy about the change and consider any comments they make.
Any decision by the Board to change these Terms of Reference can only be made by a special resolution of the Board.
A special resolution of the Board is a resolution of the Board where at least 75% of the directors who are allowed to vote on that resolution at the meeting that considers the resolution vote in favour of the resolution (in person or through their alternate).
This version is published on 1 December 2014