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A message from the Ombudsman

This December marks 30 years of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. As a sector we have made truly extraordinary leaps and bounds over many years, and this year has been no exception.

2023 has been a year of improvement for the TIO. We’ve refined our processes through implementation of the 2022 Independent Review recommendations, continued our fairness and satisfaction surveys about our service, ensuring that we are delivering a fair and independent service, and launched our new complaint handling platform as part of our technology transformation project. These improvements have enabled streamlining of the way we work, and improvements to our complaint handling practices.

Our reporting has been enhanced by the launch of interactive data dashboards. These enhancements allow users to view complaints data and filter by issue, service type, consumer type, telco, and local government area. The dashboards also show demographic data of our consumers such as language spoken at home, or if consumers identify as First Nations.

Our community outreach program continues to grow through fostering relationships with community organisations and local community groups, as well as other Ombudsman and dispute resolution schemes. This valuable work ensures we’re reaching the people who need our help the most.

And importantly, the review of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code has given us the opportunity to share our case handling experience and our data and insights to assist in upgrading the consumer protection framework.

In November we celebrated thirty years of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. Over our 30-year history, I am the sixth Ombudsman to lead the TIO, with Warrick Smith, John Pinnock, Deirdre O’Donnell, Simon Cohen and Judi Jones serving in the role before me. So far, my time as Ombudsman has been both challenging and fulfilling. I’m really proud of the work we are doing in the sector. The move towards a more human-centric approach to telco service and support will change consumer experience for the better. It’s pleasing to see industry taking up this challenge, especially because of the essentiality of telco services.

Thank you to everybody who has helped and supported our accomplishments in 2023 and for your continued partnership with us.

And a big thank you to the wonderful employees at the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman who work hard to resolve phone and internet complaints every day. Your dedication ensures our continued delivery of a valued and valuable dispute resolution service for our members and the Australian community.

Seasons greetings and happy new year.

Cynthia Gebert