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Standard 10 - Complaints and appeals

Complaints Management Policy

Policy Code: CG1090

Purpose

To provide a clear set of principles for the making, handling and resolution of concerns and complaints submitted by students and members of the public. 

Scope

This policy applies to:

  1. complaints made by students of the University, including students studying with University's partner providers; and 
  2. complaints made by members of the public.

NOTE: this Policy does NOT apply to complaints made by staff members of the University. The complaints or grievances of staff members are managed according to the terms of the Staff Grievance Policy (at https://policy.federation.edu.au/human_resources/employment_conditions/staff_grievance/ch1.pdf) and the Staff Grievance Procedure (at https://policy.federation.edu.au/human_resources/employment_conditions/staffconsultancy/ch2.pdf).

All staff members, when dealing with concerns or complaints raised by students or members of the public, must comply with this Policy.

This Policy does not apply to decisions under University statute or regulation, University appeals or where another specific policy applies. 

Legislative context

  • Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 
  • Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015  
  • National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018  
  • Australian Quality and Training Framework Standards. 
  • Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority Guidelines to Minimum Standards 2016 
  • Victorian  Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012

Definitions

Term Definition
Complaint

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with one or more aspects of either:

  1. a student's or
  2. a member of the public's

experience with the University or with the University environment. A complaint may be made about a partner provider, contractor or agent

Member of the Public In addition to its natural meaning, this term includes prospective students and former students of the University.
Natural Justice

Means general procedural fairness in the handling of a complaint and includes:  

  • giving a person who may be affected by a decision a reasonable opportunity to respond; 
  • the right to attend meetings with a support person, if required (the support person may be internal or external to the University and should not hold a legal qualification);
  • the right to a fair an unbiased process for all parties involved;  
  • genuine consideration by the decision-maker of any submissions made;  
  • genuine inquiry into any areas of dispute;  
  • the right to an independent, unbiased decision-maker; and 
  • a final decision that is based solely on the relevant evidence. 
Partner Provider Means a third party provider, located either onshore of offshore, who has entered into an agreement with the University to deliver all or part of a course or program to students.
Staff Includes any person who has an employment contract with the University on a full-time, part-time, sessional or casual basis, or those employed through a contract for services.
Student Means a person currently enrolled or admitted as a student of the University.  
Student Integrity Office The office which is responsible for the University’s complaint processes (other than staff complaints or grievances) and the management of  the online complaints portal.
 Student Integrity Officer The officer who administers the University’s complaint processes (other than staff complaints or grievances) and the online complaints portal. The Student Integrity Officer can be contacted at Student.Integrity@federation.edu.au
University Grievance Officer This role is held by the Director, Governance & Strategy.  The University Grievance Officer can be contacted at grievanceofficer@federation.edu.au.

Policy statement

The University aims to resolve complaints and concerns from students and members of the public in a transparent, consistent, fair and timely manner. 

Feedback received through the complaint process provides the University with valuable insights, allowing the University to improve the experience of its students and that of members of the public. 

At all stages of the Complaints Management Procedure, the University is committed to: 

  • an accessible, impartial and fair process;
  • transparency and consistency;
  • natural justice and procedural fairness;
  • the timely resolution of complaints (including keeping the complainant informed of progress);
  • the informal resolution of complaints wherever possible;
  • equal opportunity and recognition of diversity; and
  • privacy and confidentiality.

The University will not tolerate retribution to or victimization of a complainant

Supporting Documents

Responsibility

The Vice Chancellor’s Senior Team reports and provides assurance to the University’s Council that complaints are dealt with promptly and effectively, that complaints generally are  monitored and reported upon, and that (where appropriate) steps have been taken to address underlying causes. 

The Chief Operating Officer (as Approval Authority) is responsible for approving and overseeing the implementation of this Policy.

The Director Governance and Strategy (as Policy Sponsor), through the University Grievance Officer and Student Integrity Office, is responsible for reviewing and implementing this policy.  

The University Grievance Officer and the Student Integrity Office is responsible for the effective processing and reporting of complaints received by students and members of the public.

Promulgation

This policy will be communicated by:

  1. A FedNews announcement and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the University’s Policy Central website;
  2. Distribution of e-mail communication to the Vice Chancellor’s Senior Team / Deans or equivalent / Directors or equivalent / staff and corresponding roles within partner providers.

Implementation

This policy will be implemented by:

  1. A FedNews announcement and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the University’s Policy Central website;
  2. Staff training sessions.