Because agencies vary widely, each must create its own Internal Complaint Mechanism (ICM).

The following checklist is provided to ensure that the ICM you design, or the ICM that is in use by your agency, has incorporated each of the elements that we have identified as fundamental to a successful ICM.

This information is selected from a cross-section of perspectives relating to internal complaint processes. We have also drawn on our experience in receiving complaints about agencies that do not have internal review processes or where internal review processes exist but do not adequately address concerns of complainants.


  • Have you defined the complaint your agency will and will not accept?
  • Have you defined your process?
  • Does your process provide the opportunity for each complaint to be considered and the opportunity for a response to be provided for each complaint?
  • Does your process provide for all relevant information to be considered?
  • Does your process provide for a decision to be reached in a timeframe suitable to the nature of the complaint?
  • Does your process provide for reporting the reasons for a decision, sufficiently detailed to suit the nature of the complaint?
  • Does your process give appropriate consideration to confidentiality and privacy?
  • Do you have a written description of your process available to both staff and the public?
  • Does your ICM allow exceptions to the process, if required, to adapt to new and/or special situations?
  • Does the process meet or exceed your agency’s expectations for accessibility to its services?
  • Does the ICM have a process for documenting the nature of each complaint and its outcome for the purposes of providing feedback to the agency?