Updated: 1 April 2022

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)has won the Ombudsmen and Commission Group of the Year Award at the 6th Annual Australian ADR Awards 2021.

The Australian ADR Awards recognise both individual and team excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The awards were held last night in Sydney.

“Congratulations to our Decision Maker and Conciliation teams and every AFCA staff member for this outstanding achievement,” Deputy Chief Ombudsman Dr June Smith said. “We are proud to be a role model in alternative dispute resolution.”

“The award is a testament to the hard work, skill and dedication of our people. After only three years of operation, and with much more to do, we are very pleased to be recognised for delivering a quality and innovative dispute resolution service to the financial services sector,” Dr Smith continued.

AFCA’s Decision Maker team is made up of specialist ombudsmen and adjudicators as well as a range of panel members representing consumers and industry. The team makes formal determinations on more than 5,500 complaints a year. AFCA’s Conciliation team works with complainants and financial firms to resolve disputes informally through mediation and negotiation in the earlier stages of AFCA’s dispute resolution process.

“AFCA aims to resolve complaints in the most fair, effective and efficient way possible and both these teams make incredibly important contributions to our critical role as a free, independent alternative to a tribunal or court for consumers, small businesses and financial firms,” Dr Smith said.

“AFCA is also committed to ensuring its service is world class. This award recognises that we are providing a high-quality and valuable service. However, we know we must continue to improve our service, and this is reflected in the work and planning we have underway in response to the recently published Independent Review of AFCA.”

“Beyond the significant range of work AFCA has previously delivered that supports the recommendations and was reflected in the Report, we currently have multiple initiatives underway, including planning a range of new projects that will further enhance our dispute resolution service and improve the experience for members and complainants”.

Dr Smith said AFCA will share more information about its response to the Independent Review with members and the wider community on its website soon.

About the ADR awards

  • Run annually by the Australian Disputes Centre, the Ombudsmen & Commissions ADR Group of the Year award recognises the achievements of Ombudsmen and Commission teams that focus on the provision of alternative dispute resolution strategies to assist their clients achieve outcomes. 

About AFCA

  • The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes.
  • AFCA is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation.
  • Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.
  • AFCA’s process allows financial firms to first address a complaint with consumers directly, before progressing to more formal resolution methods. Around 77% of complaints resolve at the registration and case management stages.
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