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Effective engagement with key stakeholder groups is essential to the achievement of effective complaint resolution, increased awareness of the services provided by the Office and identification and addressing of systemic issues. The Office does this through:
In November 2014, the Energy and Water Ombudsman presented to the Board a reviewed and revised Communications Strategy 2015-19. This strategy identifies activities designed to enhance the promotion of, and access to, the Energy and Water Ombudsman by key stakeholders. Further details about these activities are detailed in this section.
The Office regularly liaises with a number of key stakeholders. This continuous communication and feedback process allows the Office to better understand relevant industry issues and to encourage best practice and leadership in dispute resolution.
In order to achieve effective dispute resolution, the Office liaises closely with the Scheme Member organisations. The Office was involved in regular meetings with Members as outlined below:
During 2014-15 the Office continued its regular interaction with the industry regulator, the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA). The Office was involved with meetings and liaison with the ERA as outlined below:
Liaison and collaboration with other industry-based Ombudsmen provides an opportunity for the Office to benchmark its performance and stakeholder communication activities against other similar agencies, and to identify areas for improvement through the experience of others. A summary of the liaison with these industry bodies is outlined below:
The Office continued to utilise various communication methods to ensure access to its services for the community, including:
The Program is an important way for the Energy and Water Ombudsman to raise awareness of, and access to, its services for regional and Aboriginal Western Australians. Energy and Water Ombudsman information sheets are distributed and Energy and Water Ombudsman staff deal with enquiries and complaints about the electricity, gas and water services providers during complaint clinics which form part of regional visits.
Throughout the year Energy and Water Ombudsman staff delivered presentations on the role of the Energy and Water Ombudsman and how the Energy and Water Ombudsman may be able to assist members of the local community.
The Office continues to provide access to its services through the Energy and Water Ombudsman’s regular appearances on Radio 6PR’s Nightline program. Listeners who have complaints about electricity, gas or water providers or want to make other enquiries about the Energy and Water Ombudsman jurisdiction can call in and speak with the Energy and Water Ombudsman live on the air. The segment also allows the Office to communicate key messages about the Energy and Water Ombudsman jurisdictions and the outcomes that can be achieved for members of the public. The Energy and Water Ombudsman appeared on the ‘Ask the Ombudsman’ segment in September 2014, and February and May 2015.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman website provides a wide range of information and resources for members of the public on the complaint handling process provided by the Office.
The website content and functionality are continually reviewed and improved to ensure there is maximum accessibility to all members of the diverse Western Australian community. The site provides information in a wide range of community languages.
Links to Energy and Water Ombudsman publications and useful links to external websites are used throughout. The site also features an online form for complainants to use to lodge a complaint. The site can be accessed at www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/energyandwater.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman provides publications to assist complainants to understand the role of the Energy and Water Ombudsman and the Energy and Water Ombudsman’s complaint process.
The Energy and Water Ombudsman’s complaint forms and information sheets are translated into 15 community languages to ensure accessibility for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The translated forms and information feature on the website and are available in hard copy on request.
A Western Australian Ombudsman Newsletter was issued in relation to the period 2014-15. The Newsletter is a key publication used by the Office to communicate information to stakeholders about the Office’s performance and activities.
The July 2014 edition featured an article titled: ‘New water services jurisdiction commenced 1 January 2014’. The article discussed what the Energy and Water Ombudsman can and cannot investigate; who can complain and where to find more information.
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