Complaints and Appeals Policy & Procedure
1.0 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
The Redmako Learning Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure provides a consistent, fair and equitable framework for resolving student academic or non-academic grievances, complaints and appeals. It outlines the procedure to follow and the phases involved to enable a grievance, complaint or an appeal to be managed in an appropriate and timely manner. It also reflects the expectations and responsibilities of Redmako staff and its students.
Redmako Learning is committed to providing a high quality education and training service for all students. In the context of continuous quality improvement, students may raise grievances, complaints and appeals that need to be respectfully managed. This policy provides for the effective and efficient management of student academic and non-academic grievances, complaints and appeals.
This policy and its procedure apply to all students including potential students enrolled or seeking to enrol in a course of study with Redmako Learning Pty Ltd. It also applies to all students enrolled or seeking to enrol in Redmako Learning courses with Redmako Learning Partner Organisations. All of the above from here-on referred to as ‘Redmako Learning’. The policy applies to grievances, complaints and appeals arising between parties including student-to-student, student-to-staff member.
This policy is to ensure that those involved in the Complaints and Appeals process do so in an efficient and legally compliant manner. Redmako Learning values both positive and negative feedback it receives from students. It considers this feedback as an integral part of continuous quality improvement and as an opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation. The Redmako Learning Student Complaints and Appeals Policy is designed to be compliant with relevant legal, regulatory or government policy requirements or guidelines including:
- Higher Education Support Act 2003
- Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015;
- Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles.
2.0 ABBREVIATIONS / DEFINITIONS
In the context of this policy the following applies:
Appeal – if a student is dissatisfied with a decision made by Redmako Learning, he/she has twenty-eight days from the date stated in the written notification in which to lodge an appeal to have the case reviewed.
Appropriate Confidentiality – refers to situations when a Senior Officer of Redmako Learning may disclose to another relevant person only as much information as is necessary for the explicit purposes of clarification or assistance to enable the grievances or complaints process to be facilitated.
Complaint – means a statement or expression that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable. A formal complaint takes place if a grievance cannot be resolved informally (for example, the affected parties discussing the matter), and is written down for official processing
Grievance – Academic is a concern about academic matters, academic situation or academic process provided by Redmako Learning in which the student brings to the attention of Redmako Learning in an informal way, that is, it is spoken about, not written. Examples include, but are not limited to matters related to:
- academic progress decisions;
- application for credit transfer or recognition of prior learning (RPL);
- assessment issues;
- content or structure of education and training programs or quality of training;
- issues related to authorship or intellectual property.
Grievance – Non-Academic is a concern about non-academic matters, perceived discrimination, a situation, a process, a person or people, which the student brings to the attention of the Redmako Learning in an informal way, that is, it is spoken about, not written down. Examples include, but are not limited to matters related to:
- provision of student support services such as those associated with the application and enrolment
- process, and amenities;
- suspension or cancellation of enrolment for non academic matters;
- use or misuse of personal information that the provider holds in relation to the student;
- grievances about financial matters, fines and payments;
- C3G, PQS, User Choice and other fee-for-service arrangements;
- perceived discrimination;
- unfairness and injustice;
- sexual harassment; and
- other forms of harassment.
Partner Organisations – any organisation that provides services on behalf of Redmako Learning Pty Ltd, including training, assessment, related educational and support services, and/or any activities related to the recruitment of prospective domestic students. As the Registered Training Organisation, Redmako Learning Pty Ltd is responsible for ensuring all such services provided are in accordance with statutory obligations.
Responsible Officer – means the staff member or delegate with responsibility for handling the grievance, complaint or appeal on behalf of Redmako Learning; or the CEO of a Partner Organisation, working in conjunction with the CEO of Redmako Learning. A Responsible Officer must not review a decision they were involved in making and must occupy a position that is senior to that occupied by any person involved in making the original decision.
Student – refers to a person enrolled or seeking to enrol in any course or unit of study at Redmako Learning or at a partner organisation licensed to delivery Redmako Learning courses on behalf of Redmako Learning. Redmako Learning is unlikely to consider a grievance, complaint or appeal from a former student whose enrolment ceased six (6) months or more prior to the time of lodging the complaint.
Support Person – refers to a person who is not directly involved in the grievance or complaint such as a friend, counsellor or family member. A support person should not be a legal representative.
3.0 POLICY PROVISIONS AND PROCEDURES
Redmako Learning believes that a student, who has a complaint or appeal, has the right to raise the complaint or appeal and expect that every effort will be made to resolve it in accordance with this policy, without prejudice or fear of reprisal or victimisation.
The student has the right to present the complaint or appeal formally as well as in writing.
Redmako Learning will manage all complaints and appeals fairly, equitably and efficiently as possible. Redmako Learning will encourage the parties to approach the complaint or appeal with an open mind and to resolve problems through discussion and conciliation. Where a complaint or appeal cannot be resolved through discussion and conciliation, Redmako Learning acknowledges the need for an appropriate external and independent person to mediate between the parties. The parties will be given the opportunity to formally present their case to the independent person.
Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the process of making and resolving complaints. Redmako Learning Pty Ltd seeks to protect the rights and privacy of all involved and to facilitate the return to a comfortable and productive learning environment.
A copy of this Policy is available to all students and staff via Redmako Learning Office and is available online and in the Student Handbook. The information will also contain details of external authorities that they may approach.
General Information Redmako Learning’s Student Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure is underpinned by a set of principles that apply to all grievances and complaints managed by Redmako Learning, either informally or formally.
There are four (4) phases in the Redmako Student Complaints and Appeals Policy & Procedure:
- Phase 1: Informal Discussion
- Phase 2: Formal Complaint
- Phase 3: Internal Appeal
- Phase 4: External Review.
All students or potential students can access each of the four phases of the Redmako Learning Student Complaints and Appeals Policy at any time. However, it is strongly recommended that each Phase of the policy is completed before escalating to the next Phase.
Phase 1: Informal Discussion
a. The student is encouraged to raise the grievance directly with person/s involved. For example, if the grievance is about fees, the concern should be discussed in the first instance with Administration. A grievance about an assessment task should be discussed in the first instance with the unit Trainer.
b. An informal discussion should take place directly between the relevant person(s) as soon as possible. The student may choose to be accompanied or assisted by a Support Person during the informal discussion phase.
c. If the student has attempted to resolve the issue directly with the relevant person(s) and is not satisfied with the outcome or does not wish to directly approach the person(s) concerned, the student should discuss the grievance with the delegated Responsible Officer as soon as possible.
d. The Responsible Officer will consider the issue and may suggest a course of action to resolve the issue, or attempt to mediate between the student and the person(s) concerned.
e. The student and other person(s) directly involved will be advised in writing of the outcome within ten (10) working days from the time the grievance was raised with the Responsible Officer.
f. A record of the discussion and its outcome will be placed on the central Redmako Learning Complaints Register by the Responsible Officer.
g. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, the student can escalate their grievance to Phase 2 under this policy
Phase 2: Formal Complaint
In the second phase, the informal discussion (i.e. Phase 1) escalates to a formal process. The Complaint involves the student lodging a written complaint. The Complaint will be investigated by the Responsible Officer.
a. The student completes a Complaint Form, (available from Student Services) or submits a letter to the Responsible Officer at the College where the student is studying or applying to enrol.
b. The student receives written acknowledgment of the Complaint within ten (10) working days of the Complaint lodgement.
c. The Responsible Officer investigates the Complaint and seeks to resolve it within twenty (20) working days of it being received by the Responsible Officer.
d. The student receives written notification of the outcome of the investigation within five (5) working days of finalising the investigation of the Complaint.
e. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, the student can escalate the complaint to Phase 3 under this policy.
To proceed to Phase 2, the student MUST provide the following information in writing:
- details of the Complaint;
- supporting information that the student wishes to have considered;
- an explanation of the steps already taken to try to resolve the issue informally and why the responses received are not considered satisfactory; and
- what the student thinks needs to be done to address his/her concerns.
As part of investigation process, the Responsible Officer will discuss the issues with the person(s) concerned, and if required, may discuss it with relevant staff observing the principle of Appropriate Confidentiality. A meeting with the student may be arranged to enable the student to formally present their Complaint in front of an independent person or mediator. The student may be accompanied or assisted by a Support Person at any such meeting.
If the Responsible Officer considers that the Complaint should be upheld, then relevant staff will be notified immediately to implement the actions required to resolve the Complaint. The student will be provided with a written report of the steps taken to address the Complaint within twenty-five (25) working days of the commencement of the complaint process.
If the Complaint is not upheld, then the student will be given a written report on the reasons for the decision. The student will also be advised of his/her right to access the Internal Appeals Process if not satisfied with the outcome of the formal Complaint and lodge this within twenty-eight (28) working days of the Phase 2 decision.
The Responsible Officer will file a written record of the Complaint and its outcome in the central Redmako Learning Complaints Register.
Phase 3: Internal Appeals
If the student is not satisfied with the outcome from Phase 2, the student can escalate the complaint to Phase 3 under this policy. This phase is referred to as an Internal Appeal and it will be investigated through a formal process at no cost to the student.
a. The student submits a written request for an internal appeal to the Responsible Officer within 28 days of receipt of the written report from Phase 2;
b. The Responsible Officer may:
- make a determination based on the information already provided;
- decide that there are insufficient grounds to take any further action, thus concluding the consideration of the matter under this Internal Appeal Phase; or
- establish an Internal Appeal Review Panel.
c. If the decision is made to establish an Internal Appeal Review Panel, the Responsible Officer convenes the Panel within 10 working days of receipt of the Appeal Request Form;
d. The Appeal Review Panel meets within 20 working days of receipt of the Appeal Request Form;
e. The student is given at least 5 working days of notice in advance of the Internal Appeal Review Panel meeting;
f. The student receives written notification within 5 working days of the Panel‘s decision;
g. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, the student can escalate the complaint to Phase 4 under this policy.
The Internal Appeal Process will consider all relevant information. The student may attend and be accompanied by a Support Person who may speak on the student’s behalf. If the Complaint which is the subject of the appeal involves other person(s), they will also be invited to present their case to the Panel. A written record of the meeting must be taken.
The student will be notified in writing within five (5) working days of the decision of the Internal Appeal Review Panel. If the appeal is upheld, the student will be informed of the action to be taken to resolve the matter. Redmako Learning will immediately implement any decision and/or action required. If the Complaint is not upheld, the student will be given a written report including the reason/s for the decision, and advising the student of their right to access the External Review Process. The Responsible Officer will file a written record of the Complaint and its outcome in the central Redmako Learning Complaints Register.
Phase 4 – External Review
If a student is not satisfied with the result or conduct of the formal complaint and/or internal review, they may apply for an external review. The external review will be formally investigated by an agent external to Redmako Learning such as the external regulator or there may be a recommendation to involve other agencies, including legal agencies.
The student may choose to lodge a complaint to:
Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)
Tel: 1300 701 801
Online complaints form: https://asqanet.asqa.gov.au/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2F
National Training Complaints Hotline
Tel: 13 38 73
Online complaints form: https://www.education.gov.au/email-complaints