1.0 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
1.1 The Australian College of Information Technology (the College) is committed to responsible corporate citizenship and providing education of the highest possible quality. However, from time to time, a person may raise concerns, complaints or grievances about their experience with Australian College of Information Technology.
1.2 This policy and procedure is to provide clear and practical guidelines to ensure that complaints, grievances, and appeals can be resolved in accordance with the principles of natural justice, equitably and efficiently.
1.3 Types of complaints or grievances
These are in relation to the quality of training or appeals against academic decisions including assessments. They include but are not limited to:
• Academic progress decisions
• Assessment matters including disputed results
• A decision of a member of academic staff that affects an individual or groups of students
• Selection or admission decisions
• Content or structure of academic programs, quality of teaching, or assessment
• Issues relating to authorship, intellectual property, and plagiarism
• Access to College resources and facilities
These relate to decisions and actions associated with administrative or academic services.
They include but are not limited to:
• Administration of policies, procedures and rules by central administrative and student support groups, faculties and departments
• A decision by an administrative staff member that affects an individual or groups of students
• Fees and accounts
• Improper, irregular or negligent conduct by a College staff member.
• Failure by a College staff member to act fairly.
• A decision that has been made without sufficient consideration to facts, evidence or circumstances of specific relevance to the student.
• Failure by the College to make a decision within a timely manner.
• A penalty that, where applied, is or would be too harsh.
c. Discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying
These matters are addressed by QP-25 Equal Opportunity Policy and shall be dealt with accordingly.
A complaint or grievance is a problem, concern or complaint in relation to any action of the College including procedural matters of an academic or non academic or administrative nature.
Student a person being trained and/or assessed by the RTO for the purpose of issuing AQF certification documentation and/or the parent or legal guardian of such a person who is under 18 years old, or an overseas student as defined by the ESOS Act.
Natural Justice is concerned with ensuring procedural fairness:
• Decisions and processes should be free from bias.
• All parties have the right to be heard.
• The respondent has a right to know of what s/he is accused.
• All parties are told the decision and the reasons for the decision.
All management and staff.
The complaint or grievance resolution, and appeals procedures of the College are based on the following principles:
4.1 A person, who has a complaint or appeal, has the right to raise the complaint, grievance 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.
4.2 Confidentiality will be respected for all parties, unless the use of the information is required by law.
4.3 That staff involved in resolving complaints or grievances will act fairly at all times and ensure that conclusions will be based on a fair hearing of each point of view.
4.4 Complaints or grievances are handled in a timely manner with achievable deadlines specified for each stage in the resolution process.
4.5 Any person who makes a complaint or grievance and any staff member or student on whom the complaint or grievance has a direct impact, is regularly informed of the progress of the matter.
4.6 Each party may be accompanied and assisted by a support person at any relevant meetings.
4.7 The complainant or appellant will be given a written statement of the outcome, including details and reasons for the outcome. All records in relation to a complaint or appeal will be:
• retained for 5 years;
• kept confidential in accordance with the provisions of the Personal Information policy;
• made available to the complainant or appellant in accordance with the provisions of the Personal Information policy
4.8 Where the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome proposed by the decision-maker, the complainant is entitled to seek a review, either on procedural or substantive grounds, from a higher internal body or an appropriate external agency.
4.9 All complaints, grievances, and appeals are taken seriously by the College and will be investigated in a timely manner. The College may refer a complaint to an independent person or organisation where it feels this will be beneficial to stakeholders.
4.10 Access to internal complaints and appeals processes will be made available to all persons without charge.
4.11 Access to external appeals processes will be made available to all students at reasonable cost.
4.12 Access to these Complaints and Appeals Policies and Procedures will be made available to all students regardless of the location of the campus at which a complaint or grievance has arisen, the student’s or person’s place of residence or the mode in which they study.
4.13 All staff shall be trained in the application of these Complaints and Appeals Policies and Procedures in accordance with the Staff Training Policies and Procedures.
4.14 The student’s enrolment shall be maintained while the appeals process is ongoing.
Should a person have a complaint, grievance or appeal, the following steps are to be followed:
5.1 The person should discuss the matter with the person involved to try and resolve it verbally.
5.2 If no resolution is reached, the person should discuss the matter with his / her instructor or any other instructor or administrative staff to see if it can be resolved.
5.3 If the matter is still not resolved the person should put the complaint, grievance or appeal in writing using form FM26.1 for complaints/grievances or form FM26.2 for appeals. The following information should be included:
• description of the complaint, grievance or appeal
• state whether they wish to formally present their case
• steps taken to deal with the complaint or appeal
• what they would like to happen to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again.
5.4 The person should bring the written complaint, grievance or appeal to the attention of their instructor or relevant administrative staff.
5.5 If the complaint, grievance or appeal is not dealt with to the person’s satisfaction, he/she may bring it to the attention of the CEO. The CEO will either deal with the issue personally or arrange for it to be dealt with by a management representative. This process must commence within 48 hours from the time the CEO receives written notification from the student about their dissatisfaction to the response received from their instructor or relevant administrative and a response / resolution must be presented within 30 days.
5.6 Should the issue still not be resolved to the person’s satisfaction, Australian College of Information Technology will make arrangements for an independent third party to determine the matter and outline any costs that may be involved with this to the aggrieved person. The aggrieved person will be given the opportunity to formally present his or her case. The time frame for this process may vary but should take no longer than 14 days. The nominated third party for the purpose of this policy is Resolution Institute. The determination process is described here. The Resolution Institute’s decision will be implemented by the College.
5.7 All parties involved will receive a written statement of the outcomes, including reasons for the decision. If the process is taking longer than 60 days from the complaint or appeal being received the student will be notified in writing of the reason for the delay and kept informed about all progress.
5.8 If the aggrieved person is still not happy with external determination, he / she may take his / her complaint to the VET Regulator. An overseas student may make a complaint to the Overseas Students Ombudsman
5.9 A student may withdraw a complaint, grievance or appeal at any time during the resolution process and in this case the matter will be concluded and deemed to be resolved. If the original complaint, grievance or appeal was made in writing then the withdrawal must also be in writing to the relevant staff member or external third party who is handling the matter at the time the withdrawal is being effected.
5.10 All documentation relating to complaints or appeals should be archived for audit purposes.
Complaints form FM26.1
Appeals form FM26.2
These Complaints and Appeals Policies and Procedures will be made available to staff, students and persons seeking to enrol with Australian College of Information Technology through publication on the College’s website (www.acit.edu.au) and inclusion in the student handbook.
These Complaints and Appeals Policies and Procedures are hereby ratified and authorised for release by authority of the Principal Executive Officer.
Mr. D. McGuire
Principal Executive Officer, Australian College of Information Technology.
Ratified on the 22nd day of November 2012.