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Complaints and Appeals

Policy statement

Trainsmart Australia is committed to developing and maintaining an effective, timely, fair and equitable complaints handling process which offers natural justice, is easily accessible and available to complainants. In so doing, we aim to:

  • Develop a culture that views complaints as an opportunity to improve the organisation and how it works
  • Have in place a complaint handling process and ensure that both clients and staff are made aware of this process
  • Ensure complaints are resolved promptly, objectively and with sensitivity, with natural justice in mind and in complete confidentiality
  • Ensure the views of each complainant and respondent are respected and any party to a complaint is not discriminated against or victimized
  • Ensure that there is a consistent and equitable response to complaints
  • Take corrective action to deal with the identified causes of a complainant’s grievance/complaint.

The Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure is made publicly available on the following website: www.tsa.edu.au

Student Handbooks also refer to this policy and all students are informed of the Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure through the student induction process.

All members of staff are trained in the Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure during their induction process and the information is made available in writing within the Employee Handbook.

Definitions

A complaint can be defined as a student’s expression of dissatisfaction with any aspect of our services and activities, including:

  • The enrolment, induction, orientation and career counseling process
  • The quality of education and training provided
  • Academic matters, including student progress, assessment, and curriculum
  • Handling of personal information and access to personal records
  • VET Student Loan debt
  • Student dealings generally.

An appeal is a process whereby the candidate, or another interested party, such as an employer, may dispute an assessment decision or handling of a complaint.

Policy coverage

This policy (and its related procedures) is designed to ensure that TrainSmart Australia responds effectively to individual cases of dissatisfaction. The policy (and its related procedures) will be made available to all students (or persons seeking to enrol), taking into consideration all factors, such as:

  • Location of the delivery of our services at which the grievance has arisen
  • Mode of study or their place of residence
  • Type of course undertaken
  • Students entitled to VET Student Loan assistance.

During all stages of this process, we will ensure that:

  • Natural justice occurs
  • The complainant and the respondent will not be victimised or discriminated against
  • The complainant has an opportunity to formally present their case and each party to the complaint may be accompanied and assisted by a support person at any relevant meetings
  • A full explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of the process will be provided if so requested by the complainant or the respondent
  • Where the internal or external complaint handling or appeal process results in a decision that supports the complainant, SMR Learning Services will immediately implement any decision and/or corrective and preventative action required and advise the complainant of the outcome
  • There is no cost to the complainant for accessing this Complaint and Appeals process.

Before an issue becomes a formal complaint:

Students (or persons seeking to enrol with TrainSmart Australia) are encouraged, wherever possible, to resolve concerns or difficulties directly with the person(s) concerned. Support staff are available to assist students to resolve their issues at this level.

PROCEDURE

Stage One:
Formal Complaint
Formal complaints must be submitted in writing to the Compliance Manager (or representative) using the Complaints and Appeals form – downloadable at the bottom of this page.
Duration:
15 working days
The complaint handling process will commence within five working days of receipt of the written complaint.

  • Receipt of the complaint will be acknowledged and the compliance manager (or nominee) will then, if necessary, seek to clarify the outcome that the complainant hopes to achieve. Such clarification may be sought by written or verbal request or by a face-to-face interview with the complainant. When such clarification occurs in a face-to-face interview the complainant or respondent may ask another person to accompany them
  • The compliance manager (or nominee) will endeavour to resolve the complaint and provide a written report to the complainant on the steps taken to address the complaint, including the reasons for the decision, within ten working days. The report will further advise the complainant of their right to access the internal appeals process if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their formal complaint
  • If the compliance manager (or nominee) is unable to resolve the matter within ten working days, the complainant is informed in writing of the reasons for the delay and an estimate of when the matter is likely to have a decision made and reported upon.
Stage Two:
Internal Appeal
If a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of their formal complaint they may lodge a written appeal with the managing director (MD) who is senior to the original decision maker.
Duration:
15 working days
  • An appropriate person or committee will be appointed to consult with the complainant and other relevant parties within five working days. Such consultations may take the form of face-to-face interview or a phone call. The complainant or the respondent may ask another person to accompany them to these interviews
  • Following the consultation, the MD, or their nominee, will provide a written report within ten working days to the complainant advising of a decision, the reasons for the decision, along with any further steps to be taken to address the complaint. The report will further advise the complainant of their right to access the external appeals process if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their internal appeal
  • If the managing director (or nominee) is unable to provide a written report within ten working days, the complainant is informed in writing of the reasons for the delay and an estimate of when the matter is likely to have a decision made and reported upon.
Stage Three:
External Appeal
If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of stage two, they may wish to refer the matter to mediation. TrainSmart Australia is a member of the Resolution Institute Student Mediation Scheme, an independent private organisation for dispute resolution.

On informing TrainSmart Australia that they wish to initiate the mediation process, the complainant will receive all relevant information relating to the Resolution Institute Model Clause for Mediation. The Resolution Institute Mediation Rules apply to the mediation and there is no charge to the student in connection with the mediation.

The mediation will be conducted by a mediator who is independent of both parties and appointed by agreement of both parties; or, failing agreement within 7 days of receiving either party’s notice of dispute, by a person appointed by the Chair of the Resolution Institute or the Chair’s designated representative (ACN 008 651 232).

Stage Four:
Implementation
Following the external mediation, SMR Learning Services will immediately implement any decision and/or corrective and preventative action required and advise the complainant of the outcome in writing.
Further Action If a complaint still remains unresolved after the external appeal, the complainant may decide to refer the matter to the National Training Complaints Hotline on:

13 38 73

The procedures set out in this policy do not limit the rights of individuals to take action under Australia’s Consumer Protection laws, or pursue other legal remedies.

Other information

Enrolment status

Where a student chooses to access this Policy and Procedure, TrainSmart Australia will maintain the student’s enrolment while the complaint handling process is ongoing.

Post complaint

Internal review

Regardless of whether the complaint was resolved internally, externally or unresolved, all complaints against TrainSmart Australia will undergo an internal review conducted by the compliance manager or another impartial person or complaints committee appointed by the RTO senior management.

Internal reviews will commence:

  • Within ten days of the grievance being resolved
  • Immediately after the external appeal for unresolved complaints.

Recommended outcomes of internal reviews will be recorded, documented, advised and actioned as appropriate.

Record keeping and confidentiality

A written record of all complaints handled under this procedure and their outcomes shall be maintained for a period of at least five years to allow all parties to the complaint appropriate access to these records, upon written request to the training manager.

All records relating to complaints will be treated as confidential and will be covered by TrainSmart Australia’s Privacy Policy.

Version Date Reviewed by Amendments
3.5 August 2016 Carey Wright – National
Compliance Manager
Updated process
4.0 January 2017 Carey Wright – National Compliance Manager Changed name of policy to Complaints and Appeals Policy (from Grievances and Appeals)
Updated process
4.5 May   2017 Isma Ismail – National RTO Manager Updated mediation process

Patient Forms Complaints and Appeals Form

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