Annual Review 2021–22

Our strategy


To provide fair, independent and effective solutions for financial disputes.


To be a world-class ombudsman service:

  • improving practices and minimising disputes
  • meeting diverse community needs
  • trusted by all.

Strategy statement

Working with consumers, small business and industry we will resolve and reduce financial disputes through innovative solutions, education and communication. We will deliver services to the Australian community that are easy to use, free for complainants, efficient, timely and impartial.


Australian community and government

A fair, ethical and trusted service that influences reform in the financial services sector.

Consumers and small business

An excellent customer experience that meets diverse needs and delivers fair outcomes.


A valued member experience that helps members to improve internal practices to avoid or resolve disputes.

Our people

Highly skilled and engaged people with the tools they need to deliver high-quality outcomes.


  • Fair and independent
  • Transparent and accountable
  • Honest and respectful
  • Proactive and customer-focused

What our values mean

Fair and independent
  • We make fair, balanced and considered decisions.
  • We are evidence-based.
  • Impartiality underpins all our work.
  • We ensure all parties are properly heard.
Transparent and accountable
  • We do what we say and what is right.
  • We are clear and transparent.
  • We explain the reasons for our actions.
  • We are timely, efficient and flexible.
  • We are trusted and supported to do our jobs and take responsibility for what we do.
Honest and respectful
  • People are at the heart of everything we do.
  • We respectfully listen to all views.
  • We show integrity in all our dealings.
  • We are professional and treat everyone with dignity.
Proactive and customer-focused
  • We are outward-facing and proactive.
  • We use data and experience to influence, inform and look ahead.
  • We help businesses to improve their customer service and minimise disputes.
  • Our services are accessible to all.
  • We actively engage with diverse audiences, including those who may need extra help.

“I would like to share my sincere appreciation for your dedication, honesty and empathy you demonstrated throughout working on this complaint and the complexity of the circumstances.”

Feedback from a member

Our strategic focus

Our strategy provides the guiding framework for all our operations, programs and initiatives. It clarifies our purpose and describes our vision of becoming a world-class ombudsman service, improving practices and minimising disputes, meeting diverse community needs and trusted by all.

To deliver on our purpose, we have designed five strategic themes to help us focus on what matters most and ensure we successfully deliver on our strategy.

AFCA’s five strategic themes
  • Customer service
  • Efficiency
  • External engagement
  • Data and technology
  • People experience
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Progress in 2021–22

We have made significant progress against our strategy and five strategic themes despite a challenging environment. This has primarily been achieved through the delivery of key activities, projects and improvements to operational performance that are focused on transforming AFCA into a world-class organisation.

Customer service icon

Customer service

Our services are accessible to the diverse community we serve, simple and tailored. We will design ideal member, consumer and small business experiences.

Our aim is to be a leader in service excellence, providing unparalleled consumer, small business and member experiences.

To achieve this, we are building a customer service model that champions helpfulness in all of our dealings. We believe interactions should be well designed, tailored and simple, making it easy for our customers to access timely and fair resolution of their disputes. We are ensuring the community is aware of our services and we are accessible to the diverse community we serve.

This year we:

  • answered 119,653 phone calls made to our dedicated consumer line, as well as 14,914 calls to our membership line and 8,005 calls to our COVID-19 support line
  • achieved an average call wait time of just 45 seconds
  • answered more than 21,066 online live chat messages
  • achieved an overall customer satisfaction result of 70%, a positive increase of 5% since last year
  • achieved an overall member satisfaction result of 77%, a steady increase of 1% since last year
  • delivered critically important material such as the Easy English Fact sheet, which was published to improve AFCA’s accessibility
  • published AFCA’s Fairness Jurisdiction Project Outcomes report, summarising the work undertaken to ensure AFCA’s fairness jurisdiction is well understood by stakeholders, applied consistently and independently, and in a way that is fair for members and complainants.

Additional information on how we served our customers can be found under Complaints, Membership and Engagement.

Efficiency icon


We will design our services for efficiency through the proactive, streamlined and timely resolution of complaints.

At AFCA, we want to continuously improve the essential services we provide to our customers. We have a strategic focus on efficiency, as part of our ongoing transformation, and ensure we can design our services and support our people for efficiency to enable a better customer and people experience throughout the process.

During the year, we faced some significant challenges impacting our efficiency due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. However, we have still made considerable improvements to uplift efficiency and improve timeliness throughout the year.

This year we:

  • resolved 71,152 complaints
  • reduced the average time to resolve a complaint from 76 days (2020–21) to 72 days (2021–22)
  • implemented a number of targeted initiatives and strategies to reduce allocation queues and the overall complaints sitting with AFCA for more than 365 days from 4% to 2.4% of total open complaints
  • successfully implemented AFCA’s new funding model, which is designed to be efficient, sustainable, responsive and to support early resolution of complaints
  • implemented and launched a predictive complaint forecasting and triage model to improve and evolve forecasting and provide a better, faster experience for consumers, small business and members.
External engagement icon

External engagement

We will be targeted and purposeful in our engagement and use our insights to build trust in and contribute to a better financial sector.

We are focused on developing strong and meaningful relationships with key external stakeholders. From consumer and industry bodies through to regulators and government, we recognise the important role this plays in achieving our purpose and realising our vision. AFCA is working to grow and maintain community trust and confidence in our service and decision-making, and successful engagement with our stakeholders supports this goal.

Our senior staff meet with stakeholders regularly and focus on measured, purposeful and targeted engagement, as we seek to inform change and influence better practices in the financial services sector.

This year we:

  • raised community awareness of AFCA and our services, resulting in ongoing improvements in overall community awareness throughout the year
  • attended events in multiple capacities including as keynote speakers and presenters, panel discussion members, and training workshop hosts and facilitators
  • received 760,380 unique visitors and 3,224,821 total page views on the AFCA website
  • had 2,588 Twitter followers, 3,096 Facebook page followers and 13,578 LinkedIn followers.

For more information about AFCA’s engagement, click here.

Data and technology icon

Data and technology

We will deliver effective technology and sophisticated use of data, for an enriched digital experience for our customers and our people.

Data and technology are key enablers for our organisation’s agility and innovation. Our focus is on providing an enriched digital experience and actionable insights for our customers and our people. We will do this through data and integrated enterprise systems that are streamlined, and supported by flexible and secure infrastructure.

We are currently undertaking an exciting project to upgrade our IT systems that will change the way we do business.

These updates will modernise our systems and provide a range of benefits, including a completely redesigned member portal, which will make it easier to interact with AFCA, and a new consumer portal where complainants can manage their open complaints and documentation. Both are seamlessly integrated within a new case management system.

Investing in our IT and business systems is critical if we are to reach our goal of being a world-class ombudsman service.

For consumers and small businesses, we are focusing on achieving accessible, simple and tailored customer experiences that make it easy to deal with us, and provide fair and timely outcomes.

For members, we are focusing on making it easier to do business with us, supported by a service offering that assists members to improve complaint handling and minimise disputes.

This year we:

  • made significant advancements in designing new IT systems that will modernise our platforms and provide a range of benefits to our customers and our people
  • successfully updated the AFCA Datacube, providing important and valuable insights to members and stakeholders
  • implemented and launched the online self-service Member Benchmarking Dashboard to share product insights and member data in real time
  • implemented 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
  • achieved core system availability 99.9% of the time throughout the year.
People experience icon

People experience

We will make sure we are actively enhancing the people experience to make AFCA a truly great place to work.

We have a clear strategic goal to have highly skilled and engaged people with the tools they need to deliver high-quality outcomes. Our people provide the services we deliver and are the driving force behind the impact we have in the diverse community we serve. This year we prioritised AFCA’s people experience and delivered the foundations required to support our long-term sustainability.

This year we:

  • launched our Culture Story, defining our ‘People for Purpose’ culture that is driven by our purpose and embodies our values
  • achieved an overall employee engagement score of 79% in our October 2021 Insight Employee Experience survey. This is an increase of 4% from the previous year’s survey and well above industry benchmarks
  • evolved our wellbeing offering and implemented a wellbeing framework to support employees and managers that resulted in an overall employee wellbeing score of 87% in the October 2021 Insight Employee Experience survey
  • supported our people to move to a hybrid mix of working from home and the office following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • focused on creating opportunities for career progress, capability uplift and enterprise learning to ensure our people have the right opportunities, learning resources and support to be experts in what they do.

AFCA and our people received a number of awards throughout the year:

  • AFCA’s Decision Maker team was presented with the Ombudsmen and Commission Group of the Year Award at the Annual Australian ADR Awards 2021
  • Steven Short, Customer Service Team Manager, was presented with the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals’ (SOCAP) Stellar Achievement Award 2021
  • AFCA’s Communications and Brand team was presented with the Bronze PRIA Golden Target Award for internal communications campaigns
  • AFCA’s People and Culture team was a finalist in the Australian HR Awards 2021 ‘Team of the Year’ category.

For more information about AFCA's people and culture, click here.

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