1. Governing policy
The Complaints and Appeals Procedures (“procedures”) relate to the Complaints and Appeals Policy (“policy”). They describe how students and staff are to enact the policy, including the steps to be taken in managing the complaints and appeals process.
These procedures are relevant to all enrolled students, prospective students and past students and any staff involved in a complaint or appeal.
3.1 These procedures sets out the three key internal processes that may be used to resolve a complaint or appeal:
Informal resolution – self-managed
In the first instance, students are encouraged to seek an informal settlement of their issue at the local level, where it is reasonable and appropriate to do so, before a formal complaint or appeal is submitted.
- Where a matter cannot be informally resolved, or if a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of a decision, the student may lodge a formal complaint using the appropriate online form. Students are entitled to lodge a complaint about any academic or administrative matter, including (but not limited to):
- the conduct and performance of staff;
- services and facilities provided by or managed by the Institution;
- dealings with the Institution’s international representatives (agents), homestay providers, welfare providers or other related parties;
- conduct and performance of other students;
- review of a decision made by the Institution;
- failure to adhere to relevant policies and procedures.
Former students must submit a complaint within six months of completing their studies.
- Where a student is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint the student may initiate a formal appeal provided there are sufficient grounds as follows:
- failure to provide natural justice or procedural fairness;
- where the decision is inconsistent with a published policy or procedures;
- where there are new or different grounds and/or supporting evidence to those already considered by the original decision maker;
- the penalty was not commensurate to the incident; and/or
- on other reasonable grounds, as determined on a case by case by the Chair of the Appeals Committee, beyond the above.
Students who are not satisfied with the outcome or the management of a decision made by the Institution may make a complaint to an appropriate external agency at any time. External agencies normally only act if all the internal processes have been completed.
Table 1. Internal complaints and appeals resolution process
|1. Informal resolution procedures|
||Lecturers and faculty staff such as the Program Manager
|Requests addressed within five working days|
|2. Complaint procedures|
||Dean for academic matters
Deputy Registrar (Engagement and Student Lifecycle) for non-academic matters
|Lodge within 20 working days
Acknowledgement within two working days.
Investigation and outcome within 10 working days
|3. Appeal procedures|
||Appeals Committee||Lodge within 20 working days
Appeals Committee normally convened within 10 working days
Acknowledgement within two working days.
Students notified of Appeals Committee decision within 10 working days
4. External review
4.1 When students are not satisfied with the outcome of a complaint or appeal, they may seek a review with an external body or agency.
4.2 Student may choose to:
- Request external mediation through the Resolution Institute’s Student Mediation Scheme. The Institution covers any cost to students utilising this service.
- Seek a reassessment by an External Reviewer. The Institution has provided for independent external reviewers to consider decisions on students’ complaints or appeals and this option is available upon request. The Institution covers any reasonable cost to students utilising this service.
- International students may seek a review by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. If the external review relates to unsatisfactory course progress or attendance decision, the student must notify the Institution of their intention within 10 working days of the notification of the internal appeal outcome. If the student fails to notify the Institution, the Institution will report the cancellation of the student’s enrolment to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
- Lodge a complaint with the relevant external agency as follows:
|Complaint type||External agency|
|Discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, vilification||Australian Human Rights Commission|
|FEE-HELP/HECS-HELP, intellectual property rights, matters relating to competition and consumer legislation||Administrative Appeals Tribunal
|Refunds, contracts such as Letter of Offer, Terms and Conditions of Enrolment||NSW Office of Fair Trading|
|Campus safety||Safework NSW|
|VET Student Loans program and VET FEE-HELP scheme||Commonwealth Ombudsman|
|Privacy breach and refunds||NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)|
|Higher Education Standards, ESOS and National Code compliance||TEQSA|
5. Student conduct
5.1 Students must make complaints and appeals responsibly and must not seek to raise an issue for trivial or vexatious reasons. The Institution will not tolerate unreasonable behaviour, exaggeration or dishonesty, unreasonable persistence after an investigation has closed, or unrealistic or disproportionate demands. Students are expected to provide serious reasons and factual evidence in support of a complaint or an appeal or request for review. Vexatious complainants are dealt with in accordance with the General Misconduct Policy and General Misconduct Procedures.
6. Compliance and monitoring
6.1 In accordance with TEQSA Standard 2.4, the approach to complaint and appeal handling is intended to be timely, free of cost, consistent, fair, without reprisal and handled confidentially and all subsequent actions are intended to be achieved in good time. Also, in accordance with TEQSA Standard 7.2, information about grievance handling is easily accessible to students as is information about advocacy and external sources for further appeals.
6.2 Additionally, reports on complaints and appeals are provided to relevant departments and committees to ensure that the Institution acts systemically on frequent sources of complaint for students.
7.1 The Executive Management Group (EMG) monitors non-academic complaints and appeals and refers matters for improvement to departments. It may also make amendments to the Complaints and Appeals Procedures as required.
7.2 The Learning and Teaching Committee monitors academic related complaints and appeals and reports to Academic Board with recommendations for improvement as required.
7.3 An annual summary report is submitted to the Board of Directors by the CEO for consideration of possible actions to address underlying causes of all student complaints (both non-academic and academic).
8. Records management
8.1 A record of all complaints, notes on actions, notes of appeals committees and outcomes of complaints and appeals will be maintained on Student Record Management System by the Registrar’s Office.
See Appendix 1 Complaints and Appeals Flowchart
9. Related documents
- Assessment Policy
- Complaints and Appeals Policy
- General Misconduct Policy
- General Misconduct Procedures
- Student Review of Assessment Results Procedures
- Academic Integrity Policy
- Academic Integrity Procedures
Approved by the EMG on 29 July 2021