Complaints and Grievance Procedures - Non Academic Matters

Status


Approved

To outline procedures to be followed in regard to grievances of a non-academic nature.

Public
visibility
Approved on: 28 Nov 2012
Review cycle: 3 Years
Owned by

Academic Board

Approved by

College Board

Category: 
Policy Contact: 
Secretary, Academic Board
Definitions: 

academic in charge - the lecturer who has primary responsibility for teaching the classes for a particular unit of study.

academic matter - any matter relating to student progress, assessment, and curriculum and awards in a course of study.

Assistant Registrar - the person usually occupying that position, or in his/her absence, the person nominated by the Dean of Quality and Student Administration to fulfill that role.

course advisor - the academic staff member nominated to advise students about a particular course of study, (e.g. Bachelor of Theology) and provide appropriate pastoral support.

Dean of Quality and Student Administration - the person usually occupying that position or, in his/her absence, the person nominated by the Principal to fulfill that role.

Grading Appeals Committee - three members of the Academic Board not already involved in the matter under review.

review officer - the Dean of Academic Administration unless the grievance relates to a decision made by the Dean of Academic Administration in which case the Review Officer will be the Principal (or delegate).

victimise - to act or omit to act towards a person in a way which is intended to cause disadvantage to that person because they have made a complaint, or may make a complaint, or may be or are subject of a complaint.

Background: 

Grievances Polices for Non-Academic and Academic matters are required for all Higher Education Providers. Reference: Provider Registration Standard 6.4 Reference: Higher Education Support Act (HESA) Section 19-45 Reference: Higher Education Provider Guidelines Section 4.5

Purpose: 

To outline procedures to be followed in regard to grievances of a non-academic nature.

Statement: 

1. Introduction

1.1. The procedures set out in this document do not replace or modify procedures or any other responsibilities which may arise under other higher education provider policies or under statute or any other law.
1.2. There shall be no cost levied to the student with respect to the lodgement of an initial notice of grievance or a request for an internal review (Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the process) or a request for an external review conducted by the COPHE (Stage 3 of the process).
1.3. Students and applicants who complain or lodge a grievance, and the respondent(s) to a complaint or grievance shall not be victimised or discriminated against, irrespective of the nature or severity of the grievance.
1.4. Students or applicants who complain or lodge a grievance, and respondents shall have the right to be accompanied and assisted by a third party such as a family member, friend, counsellor or other professional support person if they so wish.

2. Grievance Procedure Stages

Students or applicants have access to a three (3) stage complaints and grievance process which relates to non-academic matters.

  • Stage 1 Initial lodgement and investigation (dispute notification)
  • Stage 2 Internal review of decision(s)
  • Stage 3 External review of decision(s)

3. Lodgement Guidelines

The following lodgement guidelines apply:-

3.1. Formal Notice of Grievance

A formal notice of grievance shall be posted to the Assistant Registrar, Tabor College Victoria, 44-60 Jacksons Road, Mulgrave Victoria 3170 or lodged in person with the Receptionist, Tabor College Victoria at the same address.

3.2. Formal Review of an Investigation

A request for a formal review of an investigation shall be posted to Review Officer, For Attention: Dean of Academic Administration, Tabor College Victoria, 44-60 Jacksons Road, Mulgrave Victoria 3170 or lodged in person with the Receptionist at the same address.

3.3. Request for an External Review of a Decision

A request for an external review of a decision shall be forwarded to The Chief Executive Officer, Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE), Suite 59b, Level 5. 47 Neridah Street, Chatswood, NSW 2067.

4. Stage 1: Dispute Notification

A student or applicant to become a student who is aggrieved about a non-academic matter is required to raise the issue verbally in the first instance with the Assistant Registrar. If the issue cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student or applicant immediately, he/she is required to lodge a formal notice of grievance in writing, addressed to the Assistant Registrar, and specifying the reasons for making the request. The basis for the dispute should be clearly stated. The Assistant Registrar or another suitable College person will undertake a full investigation of the matter and will prepare a formal report within twenty-eight (28) days which:-

  • describes the grievance and the nature and extent of the investigation undertaken; and
  • records a recommendation to resolve the grievance. The Assistant Registrar will also, within the same twenty-eight (28) day period, write a formal letter to the complainant advising:
  • the outcome of the investigations;
  • a recommendation to resolve the grievance;
  • the review process available; and Respondents will also be provided with an explanation of the actions taken, reason(s) and the decision taken, in writing, if it is requested.

5. Stage 2: Internal Review Process

If, after a formal investigation by the Assistant Registrar, a student or applicant to become a student desires a further review, a formal internal review of the investigation and recommendation to resolve the grievance may be requested by the student or applicant, in writing, within twenty-eight (28) days of the receipt of the formal recommendation. The request for a review must be addressed to the Review Officer, For Attention: Dean of Academic Administration, and must specify the reasons for making the request.
A student or applicant to become a student may also request an internal review if he/she is concerned about the time taken to complete the stage one process.
Upon receipt of a request for an internal investigation of a complaint which remains unresolved, the Review Officer or Assistant Registrar shall acknowledge in writing, receipt of the request for an internal investigation and inform the student or applicant to become a student of the following information:-

  • who will be responsible for conducting the investigation;
  • that he/she has the right to a personal meeting to present his/her case (verbally and/or in writing) and the name, address and telephone number of the person to contact if a personal meeting is required;
  • that he/she has the right to submit addition information in writing, should a personal meeting not be desired; and the name and address of the person to whom the additional information should be submitted;
  • that he/she has the right to be accompanied and assisted by a third party such as a family member, friend, counsellor or other professional support person; and
  • the timeframe during which the internal investigation will be conducted, generally within twenty-eight (28) days of receiving the request for an investigation. The Review Officer may conduct the investigation personally, or nominate an officer or officers of the College not previously involved in the matter to conduct the investigation.

When the Review Officer or his/her nominee(s) makes a decision, a formal letter shall be sent to the student or applicant to become a student advising:-

  • the outcome of the investigations;
  • a recommendation to resolve the grievance; and
  • the external review process available. Respondents will also be provided with an explanation of the actions taken, reason(s) and the decision taken, in writing, if it is requested. The reviewing officer(s) may confirm the decision of the Assistant Registrar, vary the decision, or set aside the decision and substitute a new recommendation.

6. Stage 3: External Review Process

6.1. Domestic Students

In all cases of disputes relating to academic matters, a student (but not an overseas student) may request further assistance from the COPHE, after the internal review process has been conducted. The COPHE may be contacted at the following address:

The Chief Executive Officer
Council of Private Higher Education
Suite 59b, Level 5, 47 Neridah Street
Chatswood, NSW, 2067

COPHE should be contacted, in writing, and the following information should be provided:

  • The date of the complaint;
  • The student’s name, address and daytime telephone number;
  • A description of the incident or concern;
  • Relevant dates, places and times;
  • Relevant details of any telephone conversations and meetings;
  • Any explanations the student considers are important;
  • Copies of relevant documents; and
  • The result the student is seeking.

A request for an external review must also contain the following sentence:-

Please forward a copy of the review result and/or recommendations to the Dean of Academic Administration, Tabor College (Victoria) Inc. at 44-60 Jacksons Road, Mulgrave Victoria 3170 within twenty-eight (28) days of the completion of the review. Further contact details for COPHE:
Ph: (02) 80210841 Fax: (02) 8021 0843
Email: amccomb@cophe.edu.au
www.cophe.edu.au

6.2. Overseas Students

The College is not presently involved in overseas student education. However, in the event that the College become involved in overseas student education, the following external review policies and procedures will apply.

6.2.1. Overseas students’ external appeals authority

In all cases of disputes relating to academic matters, an overseas student may request further assistance from the Overseas Students Ombudsman. An overseas student may make a complaint using an online complaint form which is available at http://www.oso.gov.au/making-a-complaint/ or by telephone. In Australia, during Australian business hours, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday an overseas student may call 1300 362 072. Calls from mobile phones are charged at mobile phone rates. If the call is made from outside Australia, the student may call +61 2 6276 0111.

6.2.2. Using an interpreter

If an overseas student wants to make a complaint in their language the student can call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) in Australia on 131 450. If the call is made from outside Australia, the student may call +61 3 9203 4027. The office of the Overseas Students Ombudsman will pay for the interpreter.

6.2.3. For students who are deaf, or hearing or sight impaired

The overseas student can contact the office of the Overseas Students Ombudsman via the National Relay Service. Teletypewriter (TTY) users should phone 133 677 and then ask for 1300 362 072. Speak and Listen users should phone 1300 555 727 and then ask for 1300 362 072. Internet Relay users may connect to the National Relay Service www.iprelay.com.au and then ask for 1300 362 072.

6.2.4. Fax

Overseas students can send a fax to the Overseas Students Ombudsman. In Australia, overseas students should fax 02 6276 0123. From outside Australia, overseas students should fax +61 2 6276 0123.

6.2.5. Mail

Overseas students can write a letter and post it to the following address: Overseas Students Ombudsman
GPO Box 442
Canberra ACT 2601
AUSTRALIA

7. Implementation of Recommendations Arising from External Review

If the Chief Executive Officer, Council for Private Higher Education, or the delegate of the Executive Officer makes recommendations in relation to a grievance that has been reviewed, the Dean of Academic Administration will ensure that the recommendations are addressed within twenty-eight (28) days.

Respondents will also be provided with an explanation of the actions taken, the reasons(s) and the decision taken, in writing, if it is requested.

8. Publication of Grievance Procedures

8.1. Students and Intending Students

In order to adequately inform students and intending students, the College’s Complaints and Grievance Procedures are published on the College website (http://www.tabor.vic.edu.au). This is reviewed and updated annually, for the commencement of each academic year.

9. Training with Respect to Grievance Procedures

9.1. New Academic or Staff Appointments

All new appointments to the academic and administration staff of the College shall be formally inducted into all relevant aspects of College life. The College's complaints and grievance procedures and policies shall be included as an induction item in the process for inducting new academic staff and administration staff members. New appointees will be instructed in their operation and will be directed to the College website where a full copy of the procedure is maintained.

9.2. Teaching Staff

In order to adequately inform the academic staff of the College, the College’s Grievance procedures shall be included in the College 'Academic Staff Handbook'. This handbook is published on the College's website (http://www.tabor.vic.edu.au) and will be reviewed and updated annually for the commencement of each academic year. Teaching staff shall also be required to attend a professional development day at the commencement of each semester to ensure that all academic procedural and policy matters are fully understood. Policy and procedural matters shall also be included as agenda items at appropriate meetings convened by the College and conducted regularly during the semesters.

9.3. Administration staff

Administration staff shall be required to attend an administration briefing seminar at the commencement of each semester at which aspects of the College’s administration procedures and policies shall be discussed. The interface between academic and administration procedures and policies shall also be discussed and particular instruction shall be given with respect to the requirements of the College’s grievance procedures. Action shall be taken to ensure that each staff member has access to a copy of the grievance procedures and understands them.

10. Access to Grievance Procedures

The College offers units in several locations. Students attending classes, undertaking subjects externally or intending students have a right to access the complaints and grievance procedures for academic and non-academic matters without disadvantage, regardless of the location of study at which the grievance has arisen, the student’s place of residence or the mode in which they study. The College acknowledges it has an obligation to ensure such students are not disadvantaged by the procedures required in the grievance investigation and resolution process. Therefore, students or intending students may request any, or all, of the following additional services:-

  • provision of a complete copy of the grievance procedures, posted by regular mail services or emailed to them, if they are not already in possession of a copy and the WEB address at which the procedures are published;
  • reply paid envelope(s) to minimise the cost of lodging notices of grievance, requests for a formal review of an investigation or the submission of information to be considered in the context of the review;
  • a personal meeting arranged at the Mulgrave or at another mutually agreed location; or
  • telephone calls or conference arrangements initiated by the College to facilitate information gathering, in lieu of a personal attendance at a meeting.
  • a third party such as a family member, friend, counsellor or other professional support person to accompany and/or assist the student if he/she so wishes.

11. Records of Grievances - Keeping and Access

Records of grievances will be treated as confidential. Therefore:-

  1. Records of grievances under investigation shall be compiled in individual, specially endorsed “Confidential Folders”, held in the custody of the Assistant Registrar and accessed by him/her only, or issued to the Internal or External Review Officer(s) as required for the purpose of conducting the internal or external review investigation.
  2. Records of grievances notified in writing, investigated and finalised will be placed in a sealed envelope, endorsed “CONFIDENTIAL” and “TO BE OPENED BY Assistant Registrar ONLY”. Such sealed records shall be kept for at least five years.

Students who wish to access any records relating to personal grievances are required to notify the Assistant Registrar and arrange an appointment to view them. Students will be provided with access to any records relating to personal grievances, but the following limitations would apply:-

  • students’ access to their records would be supervised, that is, the Assistant Registrar or his/her delegate would generally be present while the record is being viewed;
  • students may request, and be supplied with, photocopies of any documents in their personal grievance records;
  • students would not be permitted to remove any documents from their personal grievance records; however,
  • students may request that incorrect or out of date information in their personal grievance records be removed or updated. The Assistant Registrar shall be responsible for taking this action;
  • students who are in dispute with the Assistant Registrar over a request to remove or update a personal grievance record shall have the right to request an internal review, and shall also have the right to request an external review, if desired.