2020 Terms of Reference Modernisation | The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
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2020 Terms of Reference Modernisation

The TIO Board has approved new Terms of Reference to come into effect from 1 January 2022. This follows the TIO’s public consultation last year and targeted further consultation with industry and consumer groups.

In implementing the new Terms of Reference by 1 January 2022, we are working on revising and introducing new guidance on certain areas. We are seeking views on the following:

  • Systemic Issue Guidance – this reflects the updated definitions and language in the new Terms of Reference and includes guidance on how the Ombudsman could exercise the new discretion to name members as part of our systemic issues work. 
  • Non-Financial Loss Guidance – this guidance expands on the high level areas outlined in the new Term of Reference that may be subject to non-financial loss compensation.
  • Survey on joining more than one member to a complaint – this is a survey to gather views about the best way to operationalise the new power in the Terms of Reference to join more than one member to a complaint. This goes beyond the reasonable assistance power in the Terms of Reference and we are interested to hear views on how this could be used to support efficient and effective complaint handling.

If you have feedback on the Systemic Issue Guideline or Non-Financial Loss Guideline, or would like to respond to the survey on joining more than one member to a complaint, please write to us at PublicConsultation@tio.com.au by 22 October 2021.

We do not plan to publish responses and will consider feedback received in developing our approach to guidance on the three areas of the new Terms of Reference outlined above.

Update 30 August, 2021 

The revised Terms of Reference add clarity and implement some of the recommendations from the 2017 Independent Review of the TIO scheme. They also allow the TIO to meet the needs of consumers and members in an evolving telco landscape. 

In approving the revised Terms of Reference, the Board decided not to change the Small Business definition or the TIO’s device and equipment jurisdiction. The TIO will be speaking with stakeholders to advise on the process and timetable for further consideration of the issue of devices and equipment, updates to Complaint Handling Procedures and Systemic Issues Guidelines, and the development of guidance materials.

Read the modernised Terms of Reference

Read the Terms of Reference concordance table


Update 28 August, 2020

Submissions for this consultation have now closed. For further information, please contact us.


Update 29 July, 2020

We are modernising our Terms of Reference to ensure we continue to meet the needs of members and consumers in a post-2020 telecommunications landscape.

While the existing Terms of Reference have served the scheme well, they have not had a wholesale revision since 2014. Evolving technologies, changing consumer needs, and the growth of interconnected and smart devices are bringing significant transformation to the way the sector designs and offers products and services. We recognise the need to keep pace with this rapidly changing landscape and continue to meet community expectations.

The proposed Terms of Reference maintain their purpose of setting out the framework of our scheme and include proposed changes to jurisdiction and process.

Proposed TOR July 2020

Terms of reference discussion paper

Proposed TOR Concordance Table July 2020

Submissions received:

4. CALC, WEstJustice, FCA, FRLC
5. CALC, WEstJustice, FCA, FRLC Supplementary Submission to the TIO TOR review
6. Communications Alliance
7. Communications Alliance Letter to TIO re ToR December 2020
8. FCA (Aus)
9. IoTAA
10. Jane Edwards
11. Legal Aid NSW
12. Legal Aid QLD
13. NBN Co
14. Telstra
15. TPG Telecom
16. Vocus Group
17. Confidential submission
18. Confidential submission
19. Confidential submission