Complaints, Concerns and Appeals Policy and Procedure

Objective

Interaction Consulting Group (Interaction) provides the appropriate mechanisms and services for students to have complaints and appeals addressed efficiently and effectively. Interaction will act on each substantiated complaint, concern, or appeal.

We maintain a complaints and appeals policy which includes provisions that manage and respond to allegations involving the conduct of the RTO, its trainers, assessors or other staff, other students and a third party providing services on the RTO’s behalf, its trainers, assessors or other staff, or a student of the RTO.

Requirement

Interaction uses a systematic approach to dealing with complaints, concerns and appeals. All concerns, complaints and appeals are dealt with fairly, honestly, and without bias in a professional and fully documented manner.

The procedure for handling complaints, concerns and appeals is disseminated to students prior to and at enrolment, we follow a process to look at complaints, concerns, and appeals and deal with them in a fair and equitable manner.

Natural justice and procedural fairness

There are three basic principles that apply to the process of dealing with complaints, concerns and appeals: the hearing rule, the bias rule, and the no-evidence rule.

  1. The hearing rule: the hearing rule demands that a decision maker must give an opportunity to a person whose interests may be adversely affected by their decision the opportunity to be heard (informing those involved of the allegations to present their side of the case)
  2. The bias rule: the bias rule demands that the decision maker should be disinterested and/or unbiased in the matter to be decided. Justice should not only be done but be seen to be done. If fair-minded people would reasonably apprehend/suspect the decision maker has prejudged the matter, the rule is breached (often referred to as a ‘reasonable apprehension of bias’)
  3. The no-evidence rule: the no-evidence rule means, in essence, that the decision that is eventually made must be based on logical evidence (proven on the balance of probabilities – that is, the alleged behaviour is more likely to have occurred than not).

It is also important that in making decisions, administrative decision-makers:

  • Take into account relevant considerations
  • Do not take into account irrelevant considerations
  • Act for a proper purpose
  • That the decision is not unreasonable in the sense that no reasonable decision-maker could have reached such a decision


Once a formal receipt of the complaint is received by RTO, the RTO Manager will contact the student within 48 hours to confirm receipt of the form. The matter will be discussed by the RTO Manager and relevant staff and a written response will be provided back to the student within 10 working days from the receipt of the Complaint and Appeal form.

If the student is dissatisfied with the result, they may access external appeals at little or no cost to them.

Scope

This procedure applies to all current, prospective students, staff and third-party staff providing services on Interaction’s behalf.

Responsible parties

The RTO Manager is responsible for the control and issue of this procedure (this may be delegated).

Complaints, concerns and appeals mechanism

Interaction ensures that all students will have access to a fair and equitable process for dealing with complaints/concerns and will provide an avenue for students to appeal against such decisions which affect the student’s progress.

Every effort will be made by Interaction to resolve the student’s complaints or concerns. To this end, the RTO Manager is the person to refer formal complaints/concerns. At the time of enrolment, the complaints, concerns procedure and appeals policy will be outlined to the students.

Should the student believe that the complaint is of a level that is highly sensitive and does not wish to discuss it with their trainer or submit a complaint form to RTO Manager then they are welcome to submit the Complaint and Appeal form directly with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CEO will meet with the student and consider the complaint following the same process as would the RTO Manager listed below.

Note: if the complaint is about another student and/or trainer there may be a requirement to separate both parties until the issue is reviewed and then resolved. In some cases, there may be a need to contact external parties such as police or other authorities. The RTO manager and CEO will decide the seriousness of the issue.

Where a complaint or concern cannot be resolved internally, the RTO will provide a person independent of the RTO to hear the appeal.

The student is free to have one support person in attendance at the meeting(s).

Where we consider that it will take longer than 60 days to process and finalise the complaint or appeal, we will formally advise the complainant or appellant in writing and include the reasons why more than 60 days are required and provide regular updates on the progress of the matter.

Directive

  • All prospective course participants will be provided with a copy of this Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure document
  • All complaints or appeals will be handled professionally and confidentially to achieve a satisfactory resolution
  • All parties will have a clear understanding of the steps involved in the complaints and appeals procedure
  • Course participants will be provided with details of external authorities they may approach if required
  • All complaints and appeals will be managed fairly, equitably, and as efficiently as possible
  • All complaints, appeals, and outcomes will be documented in writing
  • The RTO will attempt to resolve any complaints within 10 working days from the receipt of the notice of complaint
  • The decision maker must be independent of the decision being reviewed (an assessor cannot consider an appeal on a decision that they have previously made)
  • The RTO will attempt to resolve any appeal within 10 working days from the receipt of the Complaint and Appeal form
  • All complaints and appeals will be dealt with fairly and equitably while also considering the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

Procedures

Course participants may raise any matters of concern relating to the training delivery and assessment, the quality of learning, course participants’ amenities, discrimination, sexual harassment, and other issues that may arise.

This policy provides an avenue for most complaints, concerns, and appeals to be addressed. However, in some cases, alternative measures may need to be explored. It is advisable for the student to contact the RTO Manager before lodging a formal complaint, to discuss other avenues available to them.

Complaints

Course participants, who feel they may have been unfairly treated or have not been given the full training that they expected may follow the procedures listed below.

Steps

The student should first discuss the matter with their trainer/assessor. If they are not satisfied the student may then:

  • Have the matter referred to the RTO Manager for consideration
  • The student must complete the Complaint and Appeal form and submit this document to the RTO addressed to the RTO Manager. Ensuring that they provide sufficient details about themselves and the course, the circumstances surrounding the concern, the complaint, who was involved, any appropriate evidence and witnesses etc.
  • The RTO Manager will then contact the student within 48 hours to confirm the receipt of the form
  • The RTO Manager will discuss the circumstances with the Trainer and make a decision surrounding the complaint
  • The student will be contacted with the result within 10 working days of the receipt of the formal complaint. The student has 5 working days to respond to the formal decision.

Appeal

  • If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, the student may then formally request a face-to-face meeting with the RTO Manager to formally present their case in appeal of the decision of the RTO Manager. Once this meeting has occurred, the Trainer will respond formally within 24 hours
  • A written statement of the appeal outcome, including reasons for the decision will be documented and provided to the student
  • Where a complaint, concern, or appeal cannot be resolved through discussion and conciliation, the RTO acknowledges the need for an appropriate external and independent agent to mediate between the parties
  • The RTO will contract such a person as and when required. Costs for an independent agent to review and make a decision on the appeal will be little or no cost to the student

Assessment related matters

If the student has been advised that they are Not Yet Competent, but they believe that:

  • They genuinely do have the required degree of competency; and
  • They have provided reasonable proof of this to the RTO

The student may query or appeal the result.

The RTO Manager will ensure as far as reasonably possible that all students are satisfied with the fairness and accuracy of the assessment processes.

Note: Interaction will accept an appeal against an assessment decision for a period of no longer than two months after the assessment decision date.

To appeal an assessment decision

Steps

Discuss the matter with the trainer/assessor. If not satisfied, the course participant should then:

  1. Refer the matter to RTO Manager for consideration
  2. The student must complete the Complaint and Appeal form and send this document to Interaction addressed to the RTO Manager. Ensuring that they provide sufficient details about themselves and the course, and the circumstances surrounding the appeal
  3. The student will need to explain formally why they feel the Not Yet Competent result is not appropriate, and also attach a copy of the original Assessment Task. The RTO Manager will have the Assessment Task reviewed by another Trainer and contact the student with the written result within 10 working days of the receipt of appeal
  4. The student has 5 working days to respond to the formal decision
  5. The student may then formally request a face-to-face meeting with the Trainer to present their case in appeal of the decision of the RTO Manager. Once this meeting has occurred, the RTO Manager will respond formally within 24 hours
  6. A written statement of the appeal outcome, including reasons for the decision will be documented and provided
  7. Where a complaint or appeal cannot be resolved through discussion and mediation, Interaction acknowledges the need for an appropriate external and independent agent to mediate between the parties
  8. Interaction will contract such a person as and when required. Costs for an independent agent to review and make a decision on the Appeal will be little or no cost to the student
  9. The appropriate party is independent of Interaction.
  10. The mediator will encourage the parties to approach a complaint/appeal with an open view and to attempt to resolve problems through discussion and conciliation.

If the student is still dissatisfied with the outcome after Interaction has engaged an independent agent, (after the student has exhausted the RTOs internal complaints procedures), they may lodge a complaint with the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

Outcome

The outcome of complaints and appeals will be entered into Part C of the Complaint and Appeal form.

Where applicable, corrective action will be generated and actioned within a set timeline.

All complaints and appeals will be acknowledged in writing and finalised as soon as practicable.

Note: refer to ASQA’s website before making a complaint: Ref: http://www.asqa.gov.au/complaints/make-a-complaint—domestic-students/make-a-complaint—domestic-students1.html

Skynet Licence 8140 to Interaction Consulting Group – 20220603

If the student disagrees with the result of the appeal, they may lodge a complaint by contacting the National Training Complaints Hotline on 133 873 or Consumer Affairs (within their particular state or territory).

Records

Interaction will file records of all informal and formal discussions regarding complaints, concerns and appeals and will record such evidence on the student files and in the Student Management System database Axcelerate. If required, a Complaint and Appeal form will be raised and actioned then filed in the Quality Compliance Folder and detailed in the Complaint and Appeals Register for future reference. Complaints, concerns and appeals submitted each month will be reviewed and discussed by management at the monthly Management Meetings and recorded in the Management Review Report. The corrective action record will be used to document correct actions/improvements to ensure that the complaint is documented fully to reduce or prevent the same issue from occurring.

Security of records

All complaint and appeal records and their outcomes are securely maintained. The Compliance Management System is password locked and maintains permission at different security levels, for example, the complaints, appeals and outcomes are only accessible by the CEO, Administration Manager, and RTO Manager.

The hard copies are locked in the student file archive room within locked filing cabinets, the only staff with keys are the CEO, College Manager, and Training Manager.

This policy is publicly available.

RTO Manager contact details

RTO Manager
02 6282 9111
qualifications@interactionconsulting.com.au

Associated documents

Complaint and Appeal form

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