I'm not sure that the ones I get complaints about are any more meritorious than the self-initiated ones. That's the first comment.
The second comment would be that what happens in one investigation doesn't really retard what's going in the other investigations, particularly. The main delays.... Now, it depends on whether I'm under the code or the act, but I follow pretty well the same procedure. The procedures under the code are more laid out. They're more fulsome than the ones under the act. I find that they're good procedures, so I tend to follow the same ones under the act.
I receive a complaint or decide there's a problem, I notify the person who is complained against, and they have 30 days to respond. I always hear them first. I call them as a witness. Then there are other witnesses who I need to call. The main problem is the availability of people to appear.
Generally speaking, and in fact always, I think, the reports that are delayed are delayed because there are problems in getting all the information I need. There are sometimes long gaps between one step and the next step in an investigation. The other thing is that generally, people bring their lawyers if they're the person who's complained against. Sometimes the lawyers will raise issues that have to get dealt with.
It takes time. I do them as quickly as I can.
With respect to the self-initiated, my test is very similar to the one for somebody to give a complaint, except that it is I who has to have reasonable grounds. With respect to the ones that I get complaints about, it's the member who brings the complaint who has to have reasonable grounds and has to show me that he has reasonable grounds. They're not very far apart, those two, so it's the same criterion.
People have suggested over the years that maybe the public should be able to make complaints too. Effectively, I think they do manage, because I look at media reports, and I look at complaints that come in from people who are maybe in the government but not in the general public. I also get letters from the general public. I look at them all.
The first thing I do if it's from the public, for example, is notify the person complained about and tell them that this has come in. I ask if they have anything to say, then maybe look around a little bit more, and then decide whether it warrants an investigation.
It's amazing. I have found that somewhere between only a third and a quarter of the investigations I do are from complaints, which I find quite interesting.