This policy is made to assist both students and staff in the resolution of student concerns and complaints constructively, quickly and fairly. Where minor concerns arise, students are encouraged to raise them directly with the relevant staff, with the aim of resolving them at the lowest possible level and without undue formality. However, where informal discussions have not yielded a satisfactory resolution, or where the matter is more serious, the following policy provides for a more formal process to be pursued.
1. Informal resolution of concerns
- Before making formal written complaints, students are encouraged to seek a resolution to any concerns by raising and discussing them informally with the relevant staff member who is most directly associated with the matter.
- A staff member with whom a concern is raised by a student is expected to deal with the matter in an open and professional manner and to take reasonable and prompt action to try to resolve it informally.
2. Formal complaints procedures
- Where it has not been possible to resolve a concern informally, a student may make a formal complaint.
- A student who wishes to make a formal complaint must submit it in writing, on the Student Complaints form, to the Director who is responsible for the action or matter that has given rise to the complaint.
- The written complaint must be submitted within three months after the occurrence of the action or matter that has given rise to the complaint.
- If the complainant prefers not to address the complaint to the person recommended in subsection (b) it may be addressed to the Dean of Students, who will address the complaint and make a decision in accordance with these procedures.
- A Director who receives a student complaint must acknowledge it in writing within five working days. He or she must maintain a file of all documentation in relation to the consideration of the complaint.
- The Director must ensure that any staff member named in the complaint receives a copy as soon as practicable.
- The process may include meetings with relevant staff and/or the complainant. Where meetings are held, the parties may, if they wish, be accompanied by a peer support person.
3. Resolution of complaints
- The Director must make a decision in relation to the complaint and must notify his or her decision to the parties, in writing, within 28 days of receiving the complaint.
- If the complaint involves a College process and if, in the opinion of the relevant Director, the complaint has substance, the Director must arrange for the relevant process or service to be reviewed, with a view to preventing a recurrence and ensuring continuous improvement.
- Any party to a student complaint who is dissatisfied with a decision by a Director may appeal to the Dean of Students.
- The appeal must be submitted in writing within 28 days of the letter notifying the decision.
- The Dean of Students will consider the relevant documentation and may, at his or her discretion, consult the Director who made the decision. The Dean of Students may also interview any parties to the complaint.
- If he or she determines that the complaint process has been conducted in accordance with this policy and the outcome is appropriate, the Dean of Students may dismiss the appeal. Otherwise, he or she will decide the appeal in consultation with the relevant Director and any other parties.
- The Dean of Students will notify his or her appeal decision in writing to the parties.
All processes and decisions under this policy are confidential to the parties and staff directly involved.
6. Annual report to the Academic Board
The Dean of Students must submit an annual report to the Academic Board, including an overview of student complaints and decisions during the relevant year.
Rights and Responsibilities of Parties to a Student Complaint
Parties to a student complaint have the right to
- be treated with courtesy at all times
- a fair and timely investigation process
- express their points of view without fear of recrimination
- receive full information at all stages of the complaint process
- be advised in writing of all decisions made in relation to the complaint
- appeal the outcome
Parties to a student complaint have a responsibility to
- treat all parties with courtesy at all times
- respect the points of view of others
- respect the rights of all parties to the complaint with respect to confidentiality
- in the case of the complainant, ensure that the complaint is made in good faith and complies with the requirements of the Student Complaints Policy
- provide full and accurate information to the person investigating the complaint
- not take any action that may prejudice the situation or be regarded as an act of recrimination against any other party.
Copy of Student Complaints Policy with Complaint Form can be obtained through our administration office.