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AFCA gets tick of approval

AFCA review

AFCA has been found to be operating effectively and meeting its statutory obligations after its first mandatory government review.

Treasury’s review of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has found it to be operating effectively and meeting its statutory requirements.

The report stemming from the review was tabled in parliament yesterday and made 14 recommendations, 13 of which related to the complaints body and one to the government itself.

AFCA chief ombudsman and chief executive David Locke described the results of the review as a positive report card for the body, especially seeing it has only been in existence for three years.

“We welcome the report’s endorsement that we are delivering a fair, independent, efficient and effective complaints resolution service. The comments on our performance, including from the former Federal Court judge brought in as an independent expert, are highly encouraging,” Locke said.

“We were also pleased to read the government’s response to the findings of the review, which supports the recommendations and notes that AFCA is performing well and providing an effective dispute resolution service for consumers and small businesses.”

The government agency concluded AFCA is performing well in a challenging environment and changing regulatory landscape and reaffirmed its fairness and impartiality.

With regard to the future, Locke confirmed the complaints body is committed to improving its processes.

“We know there are areas where we can improve as we move out of our establishment phase and some of these have been identified in the review,” he said.

“We have a number of important projects under way, including investments in technology and process improvement, along with a review that is looking at ways to modernise our interim funding arrangements. We will use the insights and analysis from the review to further inform this work.”

The Treasury review is a requirement of the legislation passed to establish AFCA. The body received more than 152,000 complaints in its first two years of operation, with resolutions for these actions being achieved in 74 days on average – a result that compares favourably to its predecessor bodies and its United Kingdom counterpart.

AFCA launched its digital dispute management platform last week.

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