We’re proud of the commitment we’ve made to engage with our disadvantaged customers. We understand that many face unique challenges in their daily lives, which can make it difficult for them to resolve their debts with us.
Advocates like you are critical to helping vulnerable members of the community resolve their debts with us. We provide a priority service to help you do this. You enable us to divert vulnerable customers from enforcement activities that can cause unintended hardship. Often, we’re not even aware a customer is vulnerable until we hear from an advocate like you.
Although we’re confident you only act in the interests of our customers, we’re always mindful of our obligation to protect their right to privacy and quality service.
The Charter ensures advocates understand where they stand with us. It establishes a common understanding of the obligations and standards of conduct and behaviour expected of our advocates.
If you don’t understand what the Charter requires, or if you come across a situation where you’re not sure how you ought to proceed, ask us for help.
Thank you again for your continued efforts as a business partner of ours. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with you and, together, helping those in our society who are in the greatest need.
We provide advocacy groups priority service on the advocacy hotline, which is serviced Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm. The hotline number is 1300 135 627.
The hotline provides information and advice about the debts owed to us by the vulnerable customers you represent. It’s supported by experienced staff who have in-depth knowledge of our processes and are familiar with the unique challenges faced by vulnerable customers.
In most circumstances, we’ll act on the information you give us by stopping any enforcement activities against your customers, to give you time to help them.
You must register with us before use the hotline. During registration, you must acknowledge you’ve read and agreed to this Charter.
For more information, visit advocates and sponsors.
You must act in the interests of your customers. When making decisions about issues or cases, aim to be consistent, prompt and fair. This involves dealing with matters in a non-discriminatory manner, and ensuring all decisions and actions taken accord with legislative requirements.
Exercising discretion, you should ensure that all relevant facts are considered to assess the merits of the matter.
Ask the following questions before making any decisions regarding your work with disadvantaged and vulnerable people:
You must provide services fairly, with a focus on customer needs, and maintain the highest professional standards when providing advice and information to customers.
You should remain committed to customer service and never feel pressured to be improperly influenced by a customer. Any attempt at undue influence should be reported immediately to your manager or us.
You’re expected to respect your customers and, in turn, expect respect from them.
We don’t condone any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying.
A conflict of interest arises when there’s a conflict between the performance of your duty as an advocate and your private or personal interests.
A conflict of interest can be actual, perceived to exist, or potentially exist at some time in the future.
Regardless whether it’s actual, perceived or potential, a conflict of interest can impact our reputation and yours, and influence public confidence in the integrity of the system.
An actual conflict of interest occurs when a conflict between your role as an advocate and your private interests influences the way you perform your duties.
A perceived conflict of interest occurs when your actions as an advocate can reasonably be perceived by others as having been influenced by your private interests, even if you believe the conflict didn’t exist.
A potential conflict of interest occurs when it can reasonably be foreseen that an actual or perceived conflict of interest will occur in the future.
If you live and work in a small town, you’re more likely to deal with people with whom you have out-of-work relationships. You and your manager, where applicable, must work closely with us to manage these situations.
It’s not necessarily wrong or unethical to have a conflict of interest; what’s important is that it’s identified and appropriately managed.
The best way to handle a conflict of interest is to avoid it, where possible. If you think you have a conflict of interest, or you’re unsure if one exists, you should:
|Example||Suggested strategy to manage the conflict|
|Actual conflict of interest|
You’re asked by a friend, who’s not represented by your advocacy group, to call us and get information about their fine.
|Avoid the conflict. Tell your friend to contact us through the channels available to the public.|
|Perceived conflict of interest |
You call the advocacy hotline on behalf of a customer, whose surname is the same as yours. They’re not related and you don’t have an out-of-work relationship.
|Manage the perceived conflict of interest by asking another worker in your organisation to manage the customer. If this isn’t an option, let us know the customer isn’t a relative.|
|Potential conflict of interest |
You’re from a small rural community and you’re dealing with a customer who’s having trouble paying their fines because of a medical hardship. During a conversation, the customer talks about the possibility of resolving the fines by undertaking medical
treatment as part of a Work and Development Order (WDO).
The only WDO sponsor in the community is a health practitioner, to whom you’re related.
|Avoid the conflict by transferring the customer to an impartial case worker. Let you manager and us know about the conflict.|
Conduct personal transactions with us through public channels
You must always conduct your personal affairs with us in the same manner, and through the same channels, as a member of the public. You mustn’t use any of our advocacy channels, such as the hotline or email, to check the progress of any matter regarding you or your relative, or anyone you’re not acting on behalf of as an advocate.
We can only give you information if you’re a registered advocate, acting on behalf of a customer.
We expect you to get your customer’s consent before we pass on their private information from Revenue NSW.
You’re responsible for the effective and efficient handling of information created, received or collected as part of your work as an advocate. Only use official information for purposes relating to your customer’s debts. And only disclose or use confidential information when given appropriate approval, or when you’re authorised to do so by legislation.
You must make sure that:
For more information, call the advocacy hotline on 1300 135 627.
The principles contained in this Charter comply with the Privacy Act 1988 of the Commonwealth, and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 of NSW.