What is an internal review?
Most of the legislation administered by NSW Fair Trading enables a trader who is dissatisfied with a decision made by an authorised officer to request that the decision be reviewed. Details of the internal review option is to be included with the original decision.
An internal review is a systematic way of looking at the merits of an original decision and allows the person affected by the decision to seek a second opinion from an officer who was not substantially involved in making the original decision.
The Reviewable Decisions Unit conducts the internal reviews of regulatory decisions made by NSW Fair Trading authorised officers.
An internal review will not involve reinvestigation of a decision or re-processing of an application. The written review application will be evaluated, along with any relevant material submitted or obtained, giving proper, genuine and realistic consideration to the application.
Reviews are conducted as per the statutory requirements of the Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997.
How to request an internal review?
The internal review application is to:
- be in writing and include an Australian address for the applicant
- be lodged within 28 days of notification of the original decision advice
- include reasons as to why the recipient believes the original decision was unreasonable, unfair or incorrect
- include relevant material supporting the review application
- be emailed to the Reviewable Decisions Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
or posted to PO Box 972 Parramatta NSW 2124.
Time limits on the internal review process
In most cases, a review application is to be submitted within 28 days of a person receiving notice of the original decision and the Reviewable Decisions Unit has 21 days from the receipt of the review application to complete the review and provide the determination to the applicant.
Under certain circumstances, extension of time may be allowed or agreed to for either the person to submit the application or the review to be completed.
What happens in the review process?
When the review application has been received by the Reviewable Decisions Unit, the application will be allocated to a review officer who was not substantially involved in the process of making the decision under review.
The review officer will send an acknowledgement to the applicant confirming receipt and allocation of the review application.
The officer will consider various sources of information relevant to the grounds of the review application. The review will determine if the original decision-making process was appropriate in terms of relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
The Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 states that following the internal review of a decision, the reviewer may Affirm the decision or Vary the decision or Set aside the decision and replace with a new decision made by the reviewer.
The review officer will send the applicant the review determination and a statement of reasons that outlines the review process and how the review officer reached the determination.
Not happy with the outcome of the internal review?
If the person is still dissatisfied after the internal review, they have the right to seek external review of the original decision with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Further information can be obtained from the NCAT on 1300 006 228 or www.ncat.nsw.gov.au.
Assistance from the Ombudsman
In some cases, you can also seek advice from the Ombudsman’s Office about a decision. The Ombudsman can investigate the conduct of government agencies if it is alleged to be:
- unreasonable, unjust or oppressive
- improperly discriminatory
- based on improper motives or irrelevant grounds
- based on a mistake of law or fact, or
- the conduct is otherwise wrong.
Investigation by the Ombudsman is free. For more information, contact the Office of the Ombudsman on (02) 9286 1000.