2020–21 Annual Review

Year in review – strategic initiatives

This year, AFCA’s strategic initiatives focused on building a strong foundation that set us up for success in the future.

Fairness jurisdiction project

Fairness is an integral part of how we handle complaints. Members and consumers need consistent and predictable complaint handling that leads to timely and fair outcomes in accordance with AFCA’s Rules.

In 2020–21 AFCA:

  • finalised and published AFCA’s Engagement Charter
  • developed and implemented a robust staff training program on AFCA’s jurisdiction and Rules
  • developed our approach to apprehended bias in complaints handling
  • increased our focus on telephone conciliation and mediation techniques
  • enhanced our processes for dealing with challenging behaviour and vulnerability
  • concluded consultation on the Fairness Tool
  • created a significant decisions library and specialist teams with subject matter expertise in areas such as transactions, scams and small business lending
  • introduced revised investigation reasoning tables to ensure staff focus on relevant issues in their investigation and assessment of complaints
  • revised our decision templates to make sure preliminary views and determinations now specifically call out and explain why a decision is fair. This may be as simple, for example, as saying a decision is fair because the financial firm has, or has not, met their legal obligations to the complainant
  • strengthened our quality assurance framework and aligned it to our work understanding customer and member experiences.

Data and analytics

AFCA has focused on building data analytics capability in 2020–21.

We have:

  • created predictive complaint forecast and triage models to improve and sharpen forecasting, remove waste and inefficiencies from complaint handling processes, and provide a better, faster experience for consumers and members
  • built a strong data and analytics foundation through scalable, cloud-based modern data platforms, governance and controls
  • uplifted internal capabilities to support future data and analytics growth. Using deeper, data-driven analytics and insights will enable better experiences for members, consumers and small businesses. It will also build confidence and proactively engage to positively inform change and influence better practices in industry, while addressing long-term challenges and inefficiencies in internal processes and systems.

Phase two of our data and analytics project is now underway and, in 2021–22, we will see the full implementation of the project.

Using deeper, data-driven analytics and insights will enable better experiences for members, consumers and small businesses. This will allow AFCA to proactively engage with, and positively inform, change and influence better practices in industry, while addressing long-term challenges and inefficiencies in AFCA’s internal processes and systems.

IT digital transformation

AFCA’s core case management systems and portals are no longer fit-for-purpose. We need innovative, future-focused technologies that underpin AFCA’s digital transformation and provide an unparalleled experience for our people, consumers, small businesses and members.

In 2020–21, AFCA:

  • assessed its infrastructure, technology and processes to understand its current state
  • consulted with business, members and consumers to understand our requirements for our future state
  • approached the market to discover the technology and options available to us, and what value and benefits they could bring to AFCA and our stakeholders
  • selected a preferred platform and provider to replace our case management and portal systems.

AFCA’s IT digital transformation will continue throughout 2021–22.

Enhanced member experience

AFCA has a dedicated membership team that assists AFCA members with the management of their membership including applications, online assessments, annual forecasting and everyday membership enquiries.

In 2020–21, AFCA improved its membership services. AFCA’s goal is to enable its members to have an improved member experience and have access to high-quality information to help them to successfully manage complaints.

In 2020–21, AFCA:

  • reviewed the entire membership services area and commissioned an independent survey of members to better understand their experiences, priorities and opportunities for improvement
  • established membership services operational service standards that drove a consistent, timely and professional service to our members, including invoicing and onboarding
  • delivered Datacube releases to improve functionality, deepen insights and enhance user features
  • started work on delivering a new member resources portal that includes training products, such as videos and webinars, to help members build capability in key areas of dispute management. In 2020–21, the member portal had 443,966 page views
  • began building a tailored member benchmarking report so members can see how their complaint handling figures compare with their peers
  • held six virtual forum sessions across two days that received 4,549 total views from members across Australia
  • launched the monthly membership newsletter ‘Member News’, which is sent to more than 30,000 subscribers every month.

Enhanced customer experience

To achieve excellence in service delivery, we must ensure a strong operational foundation and embrace continuous improvement.

In 2020–21, AFCA:

  • established a new Operational Excellence team to lead continuous improvement and quality
  • rolled out KPIs across the business that align and reinforce AFCA’s strategy and goals
  • established a quality assurance framework with supporting annual priority focus areas that strengthen our capability and reduce risk
  • designed and implemented a new approach to embed continuous improvement as an everyday part of how we make decisions and improve our services
  • identified opportunities for change, and leading pilots and proof-of-concepts to test new ways of working.

In 2021–22, AFCA will focus on awareness and accessibility of our service, which is the next step in our customer service offering. AFCA will concentrate on ensuring there are truly accessible and flexible ways to submit a complaint, and to obtain relevant information in formats and mediums suitable for the appropriate audience. All of this is critical if AFCA is going to meet diverse community expectations and deliver fair and efficient outcomes for all.


Workplace culture is one of the most significant influences on organisational success and an individual’s experience at work. Our aim is to nurture and shape a culture that aligns to AFCA’s unique purpose and values, and enables us to deliver on our strategy.

In 2020–21, AFCA:

  • created a shared understanding of what culture means at AFCA, by defining ‘the way we do things around here’
  • engaged all employees in defining the current culture.

Our culture project is a multi-year project that supports AFCA’s strategic plan. Next year, we will translate insights into action in the form of a Cultural Development Plan.

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