Evolution of the TCO dispute resolution scheme
History of the TCO
When it was first established in 2004, the Tolling Customer Ombudsman scheme was established by CityLink. It was a process for an external party, the ombudsman, to review the outcomes of complaints made to CityLink. Over time, other toll road operators joined the TCO after seeing the value in an independent view of how complaints were being managed.
Over the intervening 18 years, a range of measures have been put in place to enhance our service, including:
- publication of decisions made
- quarterly public reporting on issues and trends.
- a more informative website
- gaining recognition from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) as an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme that met the OAIC Guidelines to handle and manage privacy-related complaints.
- membership of the International Ombudsman Association.
We continue to evolve the service we provide to ensure our stakeholders and the broader community receive fair and effective complaints handling in the toll road industry. We welcome feedback at any time about how we operate.
Tolling Customer Ombudsman Limited
Currently, TCO has established a public company, Tolling Customer Ombudsman Limited (TCOL), to do this. TCOL is governed by its Constitution and has a Board of Directors which oversees the company and ensures that adequate funding is provided by the toll road operators. The TCO scheme itself is detailed in Terms of Reference which clearly set out the jurisdiction and process of the TCO. The Terms of Reference were drafted in consultation with both consumer and industry stakeholders.
Combined with the application form (either the Membership Application Form for toll road operators or the Complaint Form for consumers) the Constitution and Terms of Reference will form a three-way contract between TCOL, the toll road operator and the consumer for how complaints will be handled.
The Board of Directors
The Board is made up of an Independent Chair, a director with experience of consumer issues relating to tolling, and a director with experience of how the tolling industry operates. Due to the small size of the TCO operations, a three person board is considered adequate at this stage, but this may be revised in future.
None of the directors are employed by the toll road industry. By law, each director must act in the best interests of TCOL, not its stakeholders.
- Nicolas Crowhurst, Independent Chair
- Ainslie Waldron, Consumer Director
- Samantha Shaw, Industry Director
On 29 January 2020, the Board of TCOL appointed Mr Phillip Davies as the Tolling Customer Ombudsman.
Mr Davies is engaged as a TCOL employee on a fixed term contract of 3 years and was reappointed for his second term of office on 29 January 2023.
TCOL reports on its activities in Annual Reports for each financial year. The Annual Reports may be accessed below: