We recognise that the people who come to us often do so at emotional or stressful times in their lives.

In this page, “customers” means anyone who deals with us.

Resolving issues

Customers have several pathways for engaging with BDM. Customers may:

Types of contact (definitions)

  • An enquiry is a request for specific information 
  • Feedback means information from a customer about their experience of our service, or suggestions
  • A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of BDM’s:
    • Service
    • Policies
    • Procedures
    • Costs
    • Staff.

    BDM is committed to effectively handling complaints.

BDM’s feedback and complaints practice (this page) is consistent with: 

Make an enquiry

You can email enquiries to vicbdm@justice.vic.gov.au (External link).

If you’re enquiring about a particular record (for example, a birth certificate) you may need to prove you have the right to access the information.

Provide feedback

Provide feedback to bdmcompliments@justice.vic.gov.au (External link).

BDM welcomes feedback and will pass it on to the relevant team.

Make a complaint

To ensure that all complaints are recorded and actioned by the most appropriate team, complaints must be in writing.

A complaint should include:

  • A return email or mail address
  • Complainant’s given name and family name (surname)
  • Phone number
  • Order number (if available)
  • Details of complaint.

Complaints may be:

Responding to feedback and complaints

BDM will respond to all feedback (with the exceptions below). BDM will:

  1. Forward compliments and suggestions to the relevant team. BDM will refer compliments naming a team member to that person and/or the team manager to acknowledge their contribution
  2. Acknowledge and respond to feedback about customer service. This includes enquiries about specific applications
  3. Record, action and respond to complaints. BDM will:
    • Assess all complaints to determine their urgency
    • Process urgent complaints with high priority.
      An example of urgency is where a customer needs a certificate in a very short timeframe. For example, this might be for a priority passport application for unforeseen travel.

In responding, BDM will:

  • Consider and respond to all aspects of the complaint
  • Try to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome
  • Advise the complainant in writing of the outcome.

Exceptions

BDM may choose not to respond to complaints/complainants that are:

  • Anonymous
  • Abusive or threatening
  • The same as (or very similar to) one that BDM has already managed and investigated, and BDM has exhausted all reasonable options to resolve it
  • Not needing a response.

Timelines

BDM will respond to written complaints within the following timeframes: 

Actions and timelines for responding to complaints
Type of matter BDM action Timeframe (from receipt)
Standard matters Respond 20 working days

Matters requiring:

  • Further investigation
  • Extension of time
Notify the complainant in writing of the revised time frame 20 working days

Recording and tracking complaints

BDM will record all matters to which this practice applies in the department’s electronic document records management system.

Information privacy protection

BDM may need to collect personal information so that we can respond to, review and monitor complaints. We will manage this information in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Read more about BDM’s privacy policy.

Team members will have access to complaint information only if they need it. They may need access so that they can respond to, review or report on complaints.

Ask the Registrar to review their decision

You may write and ask the Registrar to review their decision.

Example: the Registrar decided not to approve a change of name for you or your child.

Your request should set out why you believe the Registrar should change the decision.

You can do this through BDM’s Contact us page or mail your letter to:

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria
Attn: The Registrar
GPO Box 4332
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

The Registrar will:

  • Take into account the information or reasons you give
  • Tell you whether they will review or confirm their decision.

Escalate to the Victorian Ombudsman

The Victorian Ombudsman investigates complaints about Victorian government agencies such as BDM. The Ombudsman recommends that you try to fix the problem with us first.

You may escalate it to the Ombudsman if:

  • You have tried to resolve an issue 
  • We have been unable to resolve your concerns.

Example: you made a complaint, and we took an unreasonable amount of time to contact you or were unable to resolve your concern.

The Victorian Ombudsman’s Make a complaint (External link) page tells you how you can do this online or by phone or by mail.

Apply to VCAT for a review of the Registrar’s decision

If you are not satisfied with the Registrar’ decision, you can ask the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) (External link) to review it. The decision must be one that affects you.

Example: the Registrar decided not to approve a change of name for you or your child.

You must apply to VCAT within 28 days of the Registrar making his/her decision.

VCAT’s contact us page (External link) tells you how to do this by phone, by email, by post or in person.