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For practical purposes communications received by the OIGIS expressing a grievance are categorised either as 'contacts' or 'complaints'. Contacts are communications raising grievances that fall outside the jurisdiction of the office, or which otherwise cannot be progressed for various reasons including that they are clearly not credible or not intelligible.
We categorise a matter as a 'complaint' if it raises an initially credible allegation of illegal or improper conduct or an abuse of human rights in relation to an action of an intelligence agency within the jurisdiction of the office. Complaints can be made orally or in writing.
Each communication is assessed to determine the most appropriate course of action and whether it falls within the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) scheme. Complaints are usually handled administratively in the first instance. In most cases, complaints and other matters can be resolved quickly and efficiently by our staff speaking to the relevant agency or reviewing their records. This approach can determine whether a particular matter is within jurisdiction and reduce the procedural burden of an inquiry. Administrative resolution usually gives the complainant a timely response, and information sought from agencies in this way can help the IGIS determine whether to conduct an inquiry for more serious or complex matters.
All persons contacting the office are given advice about actions taken in response to their concerns and the outcomes, to the extent possible within the security obligations of this office.