Complaints and Appeals Policy & Procedure

Complaints Policy

Purpose:

The purpose of International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd.’s Complaints Policy is to provide a fair and equitable process for resolving complaints/conflicts of clients, employees, students or others that deal with the organisation.

Principles:

The principles behind International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd.’s complaints process are:

  • - The importance of seeking a resolution to any conflict between International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd. and clients, employees or students in a professional and ethical manner. International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd. encourages feedback that is both positive and/or negative.
  • - International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd. recognises that all clients, employees and students have the right to and are encouraged to openly discuss expectations and problems, or to lodge a complaint where they consider there are genuine grounds for a complaint.
  • - The principles of fairness, ethics and social justice will be promoted in all International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd.’s dealings with clients, employees and students.

 Objectives:

With these principles in mind, the objectives of this policy are to:

  • Incorporate conflict management principles into all processes involved in lodging a complaint
  • Develop a procedure for lodging and dealing with a complaint that is easily accessible and not unduly complex
  • Treat all complaints with honesty, integrity and fairness to all concerned
  • Assist clients, employees and students with access to an independent review of a complaint should the need arise
  • Ensure complaints are processed in an appropriate timeframe

 Implementation:

The Complaints Policy will be implemented through the Quality System and will be subsequently audited as a Procedure –Complaints and Appeals.

Appeals Policy

Purpose:

The purpose of the Appeals Policy is to ensure that guidelines are established for clients and students who appeal against complaints decisions or assessment decisions, and to develop a fair and equitable process for appeals

Principles:

The principles behind International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd.’s appeals process are:

  • International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd. encourages feedback that is both positive and/or negative
  • Every student has the right to lodge a concern where they consider there is an issue regarding an assessment result
  • That the process of lodging and dealing with an appeal is fair and equitable for all parties concerned
  • The assessment of students in a course will be made with professionalism; however, students have the right to request an independent review of their assessments

Objectives:

With these principles in mind, the objectives of this policy are to:

  • Develop a procedure for lodging an appeal against a decision made by International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd. in a complaints dispute
  • Develop a procedure for lodging an appeal against an assessment result
  • Assist clients and students with access to an appeal procedure and ensuring that appeal system is accessible and not unduly complex
  • Allow students access to an independent assessment review by an outside body with appropriate qualifications should the need arise.

Implementation:

The Appeals Policy will be implemented through the Quality System and will be subsequently audited as a Procedure – Complaints and Appeals.

Complaints and Appeals Procedure

Purpose:

This procedure pertains to the management of student complaints by providing guidance to the procedure to be followed and ensuring that the concern raised is addressed using the appropriate channels to facilitate an equitable, confidential and prompt resolution. This policy is freely available to students, persons seeking to enrol in a course of study with International Institute of Training Pty. Ltd.

Scope:

  • All courses
  • All students
  • All prospective students of the College (up to 6 months from issue arising – non-academic matters only)
  • All former students of the College (up to 12 months after enrolment has ceased)
  • All academic staff and contract academics (for information purposes only)

Policy Statement:

The College is committed to providing high quality educational programs and excellent graduates who will practice in their field. The College recognises the importance of effective communication as essential to resolving any concerns, and this policy is fundamental to the resolution of complaints and the reconciliation of Claimants with the College.

The College considers it important to be made aware of all appeals and complaints from members of the College community. The College aims to respond to appeals and complaints in a fair and equitable manner and to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of all parties. This Policy is in place to deal with both academic and non-academic appeals and complaints and to guide the actions taken by all parties.

Record Keeping and Confidentiality

Records of complaints and their outcomes will be kept strictly confidential and filed in a separate file (not student or staff files). All related correspondence, both inwards and outwards, will be maintained in the file and stored in the office of the CEO. Each file is to be held by the College for a minimum period of five years after the Claimant’s final dealings with the College on the complaint. The minimum five year retention provision also applies where the complaint is dealt with externally, with the retention period commencing at the conclusion of the external reviewer’s involvement with the complaint. Informal complaint records will be destroyed when mutual resolution is agreed.

Confidentiality is observed at all times, with records of all complaints, applications for review and the outcomes only available to the parties involved in the complaint under supervised access upon written request to the CEO.

Academic and Non-Academic Matters

Academic matters relate to student academic progress, assessment, curriculum, quality of course, delivery and academic achievement in a course and awards in a course.

Non-academic matters do NOT relate to student progress, assessment, curriculum and award in a course(s).

Non-academic matters may include, but are not limited to operational, administrative, discrimination and harassment issues.

Examples of both academic and non-academic matters are listed in the table below.

Academic Non-Academic
Appeal of grading decision (e.g. failure of an assessment piece or subject) Sexual harassment, racial or sexual discrimination
Exclusion from study or continual enrolment Breach of personal information
Results of credit transfer applications Unfair treatment
Findings of allegations of academic student misconduct (e.g. plagiarism or cheating) Physical or verbal abuse and behavioural issues
Quality of course delivery Concerns about campus facilities, environment, health and safety or equipment

Assurances

During all stages of the complaint process, the College will take all steps necessary to ensure that the Claimant and Respondent will not suffer any disadvantage, victimisation or discrimination as a result of raising a complaint.

An explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken at any stage of the process will be provided if requested by the Claimant or the Respondent.

Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained, and where possible, disclosure of complaint information will be limited to those who are legitimately involved in the process of resolving the complaint.

Negotiated solutions will aim to address the key issues and be acceptable to all individuals or parties involved without ascribing blame, victimisation or discrimination.

This Policy does not replace or modify policies or any other responsibilities that may arise under other College policies or under statute or natural justice. Neither this Policy nor the availability of complaint and appeals processes remove the right of the student to take action under Australia’s consumer protection laws or the right to pursue other legal courses of action.

Feedback

Feedback from students about academic and courses offered by the College is encouraged and would not normally be viewed as a complaint, unless specific action is requested in the form of a concern raised. The forum for such feedback is the Student Feedback Survey administered at the end of each course. In some cases, students may feel that they have experienced unfair or unreasonable treatment, disadvantage or distress that they wish to pursue through a more formal process.

Feedback submitted via the Student Feedback Survey can be considered Stage 1 of the complaint process, known as the Informal Resolution Process (see below).

If the complaint is not resolved through informal procedures, Claimants may initiate a Formal Complaint Process. There is no cost to the Claimant for utilising the internal College complaint procedure.

Prospective and Former Students

This Policy and related procedure also cover prospective students of the College who have a complaint with such non-academic matters as the enrolment process, or students who have ceased their enrolment with the College. Issues from prospective students can be considered under this Policy up to six (6) months from the time of the issue arising.

Issues from former students can be considered under this Policy for a period of up to 12 months after their enrolment has ceased. A complaint submitted under these circumstances must not be a previous complaint that has been considered resolved, but a new complaint with new facts that may have recently come to light. A previous complaint cannot be re-instigated after the student’s enrolment with the College has ceased or after the prospective student’s complaint has been resolved.

Stages of Complaint Resolution

The following steps identify the three key stages through which a complaint may be processed.

The College provides the following steps to allow the complaint to be formalised. The Claimant’s privacy rights will be assured whilst also ensuring that victimisation and discrimination does not occur at any time during the following stages.

The Claimant has the right to be heard on the matter of the complaint at any stage and may be accompanied by a nominated support person, not being legal counsel or a solicitor, when meeting with the College to discuss their particular concern.

The three stages of the Complaint Process are fully detailed in the related Complaint Procedure.

Stage 1 – Informal Resolution Process

All complaints that require action are to be forwarded in writing using the “Student Complaint Form” to the Administration Office for forwarding to The Chief Executive Officer. The Student Administrative Officer will try to resolve the issue verbally in the first instance. If this is unable to be resolved then the following must occur.

Stage 2 – Formal Resolution Process

The Chief Executive Officer will notify the complainant in writing of the receipt of their letter within 5 working days and will offer the complainant a suitable time and place for an interview to enable them to present their case.

The Chief Executive Officer will advise the complainant of the decision and reasons for the decision, in writing, within 10 days of the interview.

Stage 3 – Appealing the Original Decision

Where a complainant is not satisfied by a decision, or handling of the complaint, the staff member or student has the right to appeal in writing, using the “Student Appeal Form” to the Chief Executive Officer within 20 working days, at which time an independent review will be arranged, with the agreement of both parties, by procuring the services of an independent mediator.

External Independent Review Decision

The College agrees to be bound by the independent mediator’s recommendations. The CEO will ensure that any recommendations made are implemented within 30 days of receipt of the independent mediator’s report.

Continuous Improvement

Any improvement action arising from a student complaint or appeal will be recorded in accordance with the College’s Continuous Improvement Process.