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Complaints and Appeals Procedures
Student Handbook > Student-Non-Academic Policies & Procedures  >  Complaints and Appeals
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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.

2.   Scope

These procedures are relevant to all enrolled students, prospective students and past students and any staff involved in a complaint or appeal.

3.   Procedures

3.1  These procedures sets out the three key internal processes that may be used to resolve a complaint or appeal:

1.  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. 

2.  Complaint 
Where a matter cannot be informally resolved, or if a student is dissatisfied with the outcome at the local level or a decision made by the Institution as outlined in paragraph 4.5 in the Complaints and Appeals Policy, the student may lodge a formal complaint using the appropriate form. 

3.  Appeal 
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 outlined in paragraph  4.6 in the Complaints and Appeals Policy.

3.2  Students can obtain assistance in how to seek informal resolution from Student Services, the wellness team, faculty staff or operations staff. The complaints should be raised promptly via email, phone or direct conversation. It is the responsibility of both parties to explore options for resolving the issue as soon as possible after it has been raised and to do so in a courteous and respectful manner.

3.3  Students who at any time are not satisfied with the outcome of, or the management of, a complaint or appeal may make a complaint to an appropriate external agency. External agencies will generally only act if all the internal processes have been completed.

3.4  Students seeking a review of a final grade or assessment mark of a subject must refer to the Student Review of Assessment Results Procedures in the first instance.

3.5  The processes to resolve a complaint or appeal are detailed in Table 1 and the process map in Appendix 1.

Table 1. Internal complaints and appeals resolution process

Process

Responsibilities

Timeframe

  1. Informal resolution procedures
  1. Students are encouraged to resolve their concern informally either via email or in person. No form is required.
  2. Students can seek advice from Student Services, the wellness team, faculty staff or operations staff.
  3. Students seeking a review of a final grade or assessment mark of a subject must refer to the Student Review of Assessment Results Procedures in the first instance.
  4.  All requests to informally resolve a concern, either in writing or in person, will be addressed within five working days.
  5. If a student is dissatisfied with the informal resolution outcome they may lodge a formal complaint.
  • Lecturers and faculty staff such as the Program Manager
  • Student Services
  • Wellness team
  • Operations staff

 

Requests addressed within five working days

2.  Complaint procedures

  1. If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the informal resolution process or a decision made by the Institution as outlined in paragraph 4.5 of the policy they may lodge a complaint.
  2. Complaints must be lodged on via the online form within 20 working days of the issue occurring or upon notification of the initial decision (extensions of this timeframe may be granted in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Institution).
  3. The completed form and any supporting documentation must be submitted via the online form where it will be acknowledged and registered within two working days.
  4. An investigation will be conducted, which may involve formal meetings/interviews where a student has a right to present their case, and the outcome communicated within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint. The student will be notified if the investigation takes longer than 10 working days.
  5. If a complaint outcome is in the favour of the student, the Institution will immediately implement the decision or recommendation and/or take the preventative or corrective action required by the decision and notify the complainant accordingly.
  6. However, if the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint may submit an appeal provided there are sufficient grounds as outlined in paragraph 4.6 in the policy.
  7. Student Services to set up work task to check progress after 20 working days. If an appeal has not been submitted then the case will be closed.
  8. Student Services to record outcomes and all correspondence in Student Record Management System.
  • Associate 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

  1. Appeal procedures
  1. If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint they may lodge an appeal provided there are sufficient grounds and additional evidence as outlined in paragraph 4.6 in the policy.
  2. Appeals must be lodged on the online form within 20 working days of notification of the complaint decision (extensions of this timeframe may be granted in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Institution).
  3. The completed form and any supporting documentation must be submitted via the online form where it will be acknowledged and registered within two working days.
  4. Appeals must include the grounds for the appeal as outlined in paragraph 4.6 of the policy and additional evidence to support the appeal application.
  5. All types of appeals will be considered by the Appeals Committee, which will be convened normally within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. The student will be notified if the investigation takes longer than 10 working days.
  6. The student will be notified in writing of the outcome of the appeal within 10 working days of a decision being reached. The correspondence will state a student’s right to access an external review of the decision and will provide full details of the external review options.
  7. If an outcome of an appeal is in the favour of the student, the Institution will immediately implement the decision or recommendation and/or take the preventative or corrective action required by the decision, and notify the complainant accordingly.
  8. The outcome of the Appeals Committee is the final internal avenue of complaint and appeal resolution process. The student can access the external review as outlined in Paragraph 4 of these procedures.
  9. Student Services to record outcomes and all correspondence in Student Record Management System.

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 submit a complaint or appeal with an external body or agency.
 
4.2 For all students, external review of complaints and appeals can be made to:
  • Resolution Institute – through the Student Mediation Scheme. Utilising this service may incur a cost and students are encouraged to notify the Institution;
  • NSW Anti-Discrimination Board – for matters related to discrimination;
  • NSW Office of Fair Trading – for administrative matters related to the contract (acceptance of offer) you have with the Institution;
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for matters related to competition and consumer legislation; and/or
  • TEQSA – for matters related to compliance with Higher Education Standards, ESOS and National Code.

4.3  For international students, students may submit a complaint or appeal to the Commonwealth Ombudsman under the Overseas Students Ombudsman. If an international student decides to pursue a review of the complaint or appeal outcome with an external body or agency with respect to an 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 complaint or 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).

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 will be 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 will be easily accessible to students as will information about advocacy and external sources for further appeals.
 
6.2 Additionally, reports on complaints and appeals will be provided to relevant departments and committees to ensure that the Institution acts systemically on frequent sources of complaint for students.
 
7. Reporting 
 
7.1 The Quality Audit and Risk Committee will monitor complaints and appeals processes and outcomes and refer any matters for improvement to relevant departments and committees as required. It may also make amendments to the Complaints and Appeals Procedures as required.
 
7.2  An annual summary report will be submitted to the Board of Directors via the Quality Audit and Risk Committee for consideration of possible actions to address underlying causes of student complaints.
 
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.
 

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
  • Academic Appeals Policy (rescinded)
  • Student Grievance Handling Policy and Procedures (rescinded)
See Appendix 1 attached as a PDF to the main Complaints and Appeals Procedures page. 
 
 
Approved by the Board of Directors on 18 March 2019.
 

Further reading
Name View
Complaints and Appeals Flowchart v1.pdf