Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedures

PURPOSE

Despite the best efforts of DG Institute to provide quality services and outcomes to its clients, complaints may occasionally arise that require formal resolution. The Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedures addresses DG Institute’s formal, systematic approach to complaints (grievance) handling, providing a mechanism for lodging and ensuring a timely, fair and objective resolution of any complaints and/or assessments appeals.

SCOPE

This policy applies to clients, DG Institute trainers, assessors, staff and any third party providing services on behalf of DG Institute. The policy applies, regardless of the training location at which the grievance has arisen. The document is available publicly on the DG Institute website. Information about complaints and appeals has been included in client and staff induction documents.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

  • Complaints and Appeals Form
  • Complaints and Appeals Database
  • Continuous Improvement Policy & Procedures
  • Continuous Improvement Report
  • Client Handbook
  • Consumer Protection Policy and Procedures

DEFINITIONS

Academic Grievances

Grievances relating to those matters which relate to client progress, assessment, course content or awards in the course of study.

Appellant

A person who appeals.

CEO

Chief Executive Officer.

Complaint

Any expression of dissatisfaction regarding a product or service that requires action or response.

Non-academic Grievances

Grievances relating to those matters which do not relate to client progress, assessment course content or awards in a course and include complaints in relation to personal information that DG Institute holds in relation to the client. Non-academic grievances may come from decisions made by DG Institute. Non-academic grievances cover issues such as harassment, vilification, discrimination, financial matters, fines and payments, application procedures, exclusions from events and facilities.

Non-academic Grievances

Grievances relating to those matters which do not relate to clients progress, assessment course content or awards in a course and include complaints in relation to personal information that DG Institute holds in relation to the clients. Non-academic grievances may come from decisions made by DG Institute. Non-academic grievances cover issues such as harassment, vilification, discrimination, financial matters, fines and payments, application procedures, exclusions from events and facilities.

Procedural Fairness & Natural Justice

Procedural fairness is concerned with the procedures used by a decision maker, rather than the actual outcome reached. It requires a fair and proper procedure be used when making a decision. The term procedural fairness is thought to be preferable when talking about administrative decision-making because the term natural justice is associated with procedures used by courts of law. However, the terms have similar meaning and are commonly used interchangeably. For consistency, the term procedural fairness is used in this policy and procedures.

Respondent

The person or committee whose decision on an academic or non-academic matter is the subject of the clients compliant.

POLICY

The Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure provides clients the opportunity to have any issues relating to a complaint or appeal resolved and resolutions reached that attempt to satisfy all parties involved. This policy and procedure ensures a fair and equitable outcome, with sensitivity to the concerns of the complainant and in complete confidentiality.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is generally negative feedback about services or staff which requires a systematic and formal resolution management process. A complaint may be received by DG Institute in any form and does not need to be formally documented by the complainant to be acted on. Complaints may be made by any person or agency in contact with DG Institute or a third-party providing services on the Business’s behalf and can be lodged in a variety of different mediums, including email and phone or in person.

What is an appeal?

An appeal is an application by a client for reconsideration of an unfavourable decision or finding during training and/or assessment. An appeal must be made in writing and specify the particulars of the decision or finding in dispute. A client appeal must be lodged to DG Institute within twenty-eight (28) days of the decision or finding being advised to the client.

Types of Complaints or Appeals

A complaint or appeal may include, but is not limited to;

Complaints

  • Course advice and enrolment
  • Suspension and/or cancellation of enrolment
  • Program delivery
  • Marketing and promotional activity
  • Personal safety
  • Customer service and administration
  • Issue of results, certificates, statement of attainment
  • Learning resources
  • Fees and charges
  • Equity and access, discrimination, harassment and bullying

Appeals

  • Assessment process and decision
  • Candidate progress and academic progress decisions

Early resolution of complaints and appeals

Where possible and to facilitate early resolution of complaints and appeals, all complaints are investigated, and every attempt is made to resolve the complaint as soon as practicable.

Relationship to continuous improvement

Examination of all complaints and appeals provide an opportunity to improve service delivery and educational outcomes. The complaints and appeals handling process may also be related to administrative processes. All complaints raised are tabled for discussion at the Continuous Improvement and Management Committee meeting and where required, corrective action to eliminate or mitigate the likelihood of reoccurrence is implemented and reviewed.

Procedural Fairness

This policy follows the rules of procedural fairness in complaints/appeals-handling:

  • a hearing appropriate to the circumstances;
  • lack of bias;
  • evidence to support a decision; and
  • inquiry into matters in dispute.

Provision of information

Information on the complaints and appeals process is communicated to clients in the Client Handbook. The Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedures is also available on DG Institute’s website. Employees and Contractors working for DG Institute are made aware of the Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedures at induction.

PROCEDURES

  1. Informal Complaint

    DG Institute may receive complaints from clients, employers, staff or stakeholders and members of the public through a variety of means, for example: verbally (by phone or in person), written documentation or electronically (email). Where possible all non-formal attempts shall be made to resolve the issue. This may include advice, discussions, and general negotiation in relation to the issue. For training and assessment-related issues, DG Institute recommends clients speak to their Trainer/Assessor in the first instance to resolve any concerns. If a satisfactory outcome cannot be reached, the client can then approach the Training Manager. If no resolution can be reached, the client/complainant has the option to lodge a formal complaint.

  2. Formal Complaint

    General principles applying to all stages of this formal complaint procedure which will be adhered to by DG Institute:

    • The handling of a complaint or appeal is to commence within three (3) business days of lodgement of the complaint or appeal. DG Institute acknowledges the complaint or appeal in writing and all reasonable measures are taken to finalise the process as soon as practicable.
    • The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to present their case at each stage of the procedure.
    • The complainant and the respondent have the option of being accompanied/assisted by a third person (such as a family member, friend or counsellor) if they so desire, at that party’s cost.
    • The complainant and the respondent will not be discriminated against or victimised. DG Institute shall maintain the enrolment of the complainant or person lodging an appeal during the complaint or appeals process.
    • At all stages of the process, discussions relating to complaints, grievances and appeals will be recorded in writing. Reasons and a full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of this procedure will be provided to the complainant and/or the respondent.
    • The complainant or person lodging an appeal has appropriate access to their records, while ensuring that the records are kept confidential.
    • Records of complaints and appeals are kept in the Complaints and Appeals Register for a period of five (5) years.
    • The complainant shall have appropriate access to these records.
    • The Compliance Manager is responsible for maintaining/updating the complaints register.
    • A complainant shall have access to the internal complaint’s procedure without charge.
    • A complainant may contact DG Institute and speak with the Training Manager for progress updates at any time. Should the Training Manager be unavailable, the Compliance Manager will be available to discuss any matter relating to the progress of the complaint.
    • Where DG Institute considers more than sixty (60) calendar days are required to process and finalise the complaint or appeal, DG Institute:
      • informs the complainant or person lodging an appeal in writing, including reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required; and
      • regularly updates the complainant or person lodging an appeal on the progress of the matter
    • The complainant or person lodging an appeal is to have the opportunity for a person or a body that is independent of DG Institute to review his or her complaint or appeal following the internal DG Institute complaint or appeals process. It is noted that a review of findings by an independent person or body will generally only relate to the appeals process and is less likely to be required in complaints handling.
    • Decisions or outcomes of the complaint or appeals process that find in the favour of the client shall be implemented immediately.

HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT

  1. Informal Complaints can be made verbally (e.g. by phone or in person), electronically (e.g. email or sms) or written documentation (e.g. a letter).
  2. The Business requires the client, or relevant stakeholders to communicate with their trainer/assessor in the first instance, to try to resolve the issue.
  3. Clients who are not satisfied with the response from their tutors may contact the Training Manager, to try to resolve the issue.
  4. DG Institute Training Manager

Phone: 1300 658 653 (office hours)

Email: info@dginstitute.com.au

  1. Staff complaints are to be directed to the CEO, or Group HR (dependent upon availability or the nature of the complaint).
  2. For Formal Complaints, please refer to the two-stage procedure outlined on the following pages.

Stage One – Formal Complaint

Formal complaints should be submitted in writing to the Training Manager or CEO of DG Institute.

The complainant will receive notification in writing of acknowledgement of the receipt of the complaint within three (3) business days.

The Training Manager or CEO will then assess the complaint, determine the outcome and advise the complainant in writing of his/her decision within ten (10) working days of receipt of the formal complaint.

The complainant will be advised of his/her right to access Stage Two of this procedure if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome of Stage One.

Stage Two – Internal Review

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage One, they may lodge an appeal in writing to the Continuous Improvement and Management Committee.

The complainant’s appeal will be determined by the Continuous Improvement and Management Committee (the review committee).

The review committee will conduct all necessary consultations with the complainant and other relevant persons and make a determination of the appeal. The complainant will be advised in writing of the outcome of their appeal, including the reasons for the decision, within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal.

Should a decision not be reached within ten (10) working days, the complainant will be advised in writing of all matters relating to the progression of the appeal.

DG Institute’s mediation clause states:

  • In the event of a dispute arising both parties shall first meet and attempt to resolve the issues of concern by means of discussion and personal negotiation. If this process does not resolve the issues, they shall refer the matter to mediation.
  • The parties must endeavour to settle any dispute by way of mediation. Such mediation would be conducted by a mediator who is independent of both parties and appointed by agreement of the parties or, failing agreement within 7 days of receiving any party’s notice of dispute.

DG Institute will give due consideration to any recommendations arising from the external review within 10 working days of receipt of the external body’s report. The recommendations will be presented to the Continuous Improvement and Management Committee for consideration. An action plan will be put in place by Continuous Improvement and Management Committee for the rectification of the matter in conjunction with the external mediator recommendations and applicable timeframes. Finalisation of the matter will be reported as required.

Endorsed by: Continuous Improvement and Management Committee

Date approved: August 2019

Review Date: August 2020

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