Complaints and Appeals

Purpose
The purpose of this Policy and Procedure is to provide transparency for how Exercise Research Australia manages any dissatisfaction, formal complaint and appeals of students, clients, and staff.

Scope
This Policy and Procedure applies to all Exercise Research Australia staff, contractors, any applicable third parties and students (learners).

Responsibilities
The VET Operations Manager and the Training Quality Coordinator are ultimately accountable for adherence to this Policy and Procedure.

Standards for RTOs 2015
This Policy and Procedure contributes to compliance with clauses 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5 & 6.6.

Policies and Procedures
This Policy and Procedure is supported by the Meeting Legislative Requirements, Fees and Charges, Refunds and Training and Assessment Policies and Procedures.

Tools
This Policy and Procedure is supported by the Complaint and Appeal Form, Complaints and Appeals Register, Student Behaviour Management Guide, Request for a Refund Process Map, Continuous Improvement Register and Student
Handbook.


Definition
Complaints arise when a person is dissatisfied with an aspect of Exercise Research Australia (ERA) services and requires action to be taken to resolve the matter, whereas an appeal is a request by the person to reconsider a decision made by ERA. This policy exists to provide appropriate procedures to follow should any client of ERA have a complaint or appeal that needs to be addressed. A student’s enrolment will be maintained whilst their complaint/appeal is in progress. ERA aims to respond to any complaint/appeal promptly, efficiently, and effectively to find the best resolution possible in a timely manner.

Every client and student of ERA has the right to complain about how they are treated or the service they are provided with or appeal a decision to include assessment decisions or make a complaint involving the conduct of:

  • ERA, ERA trainers and assessors or other staff
  • a third party providing services on ERA’s behalf, its trainers and assessors or other staff
  • an ERA student

Complaints and appeals can provide invaluable data about aspects of our RTO’s operations that can be improved. If there is any matter arising from a complaint/appeal that identifies a systemic issue which requires improvement action, the complaint/appeal will be discussed at the next management meeting as part of our continuous improvement process.

The diagram below shows the progression of a complaint/appeal within our company structure.

Complaints-and-appeals-progression-diagram

Informal Complaint/Appeal Procedure
Most complaints/appeals begin in an informal way and are usually raised directly with an ERA staff member in direct contact with the complainant.

Step 1
It is the responsibility of the ERA staff member to whom the complaint/appeal is raised, to use their discretion to address the complainant’s concern immediately (within 24 hours). By addressing the complaint/appeal immediately, the issue is less likely to progress to the ‘formal’ stage.

Step 2
Any staff member who receives an informal complaint/appeal is required to document it via an email to the complainant utilising the Learning Management System email function.

Step 3
If the complaint/appeal is not able to be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant at the informal stage, the ERA staff member must advise the complainant that they are to formalise their complaint/appeal.

Formal Complaint/Appeal Procedure
A formal complaint/appeal must be submitted in writing by completing the Complaint and Appeal Form. The completed form must be submitted via email to the Office Manager (office@exerciseresearch.com.au) or via post (PO Box 212, Fairfield, VIC, 3078) or hand delivery to the ERA office. The Complaint and Appeal Form
should include the following:

  • The name of the complainant
  • A description of the complaint/appeal
  • Any resolution already attempted
  • Desired Outcome

Upon receipt of the formal complaint/appeal, ERA will follow the steps as detailed below.

Step 1: Training Quality Coordinator (TQC)
1) The TQC will contact the complainant via email within 48 hours to acknowledge the complaint or request for an appeal. Within 72 hours, the TQC will call the complainant to discuss their concerns and attempt to find a resolution, the details of which will be recorded in the “Office Use Only” section of the Complaint and Appeal Form.

2) Should a successful resolution not be reached, the TQC will bring the complaint/appeal to the attention of the VET Operations Manager within 24 hours, using the information recorded in the Complaint and Appeal Form.

Step 2: VET Operations Manager
1) Within 48 hours of receiving the details from the TQC, the VET Operations Manager will evaluate the nature of the complaint/appeal, the attempts taken to find a resolution and decide upon the most appropriate course of action in order to proceed toward a resolution.

2) The VET Operations will inform any people involved in the allegation/s and will organise a personal meeting with them where they will be given the opportunity to present their side of the story.

3) The VET Operations Manager will then contact the complainant to attempt to resolve the complaint/appeal and document the proposed solution and outcome in the Complaints and Appeals Register.

4) If a successful resolution is reached, the VET Operations Manager will inform the complainant and all parties involved via email about the outcome.

5) If a successful resolution cannot be found by the VET Operations Manager, the complaint or appeal will then be brought to the attention of the Managing Director within 48 hours.

6) The VET Operations Manager will advise the complainant via email within this time that their complaint/appeal will be raised with the Managing Director and if not satisfactorily answered, the complainant may request an Independent Adjudicator.

Step 3: Managing Director
1) The Managing Director will not have had previous involvement with the complaint/appeal, nor be the subject of the complaint/appeal personally.

2) If there has been involvement or the Managing Director is the subject of the complaint/appeal, the complaint/appeal shall immediately be forwarded by the VET Operations Manager to an independent mediator.

3)The Managing Director will review the complaint/appeal and decide upon the necessary course of action to attempt to reach a resolution within 48 hours of receipt.

4) The course of action to be followed will be recorded in the Complaints and Appeals Register.

5) The Managing Director will contact the complainant and all parties involved via email to advise of the proposed solution within this time.

6) The communication with the complainant will also include information about their right to appeal.

Step 4: External Appeal
1) If the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome as advised by the Managing Director, they can refer the matter to an independent mediator at their own expense.

2) ERA uses the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) https://www.disputes.vic.gov.au/ to obtain advice/assistance, the complainant may choose a different provider of dispute resolution services.

3) Each party shall be provided with written notice of the independent mediator’s decision, including reasons for the decision.

4) The Managing Director and VET Operations Manager will discuss the outcome at the next scheduled ERA management meeting.

5) If the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome they may escalate their complaint/appeal to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA):
https://www.asqa.gov.au/about/complaints/complaints-about-training-providers 

 

Timeline
ERA aims to process each complaint or appeal and provide a response about the outcome in writing within 4 weeks. Responses are made in writing to ensure details are communicated clearly and as a record of the dealings of any complaint. The response provided will include the steps taken and any recommendations and reasons for the decision/s taken by ERA. This written response will be provided via email.

If more than 60 calendar days are required to process and finalise the complaint or appeal, the VET Operations Manager will inform the complainant in writing, including the reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required, and will regularly update them on the progress of the matter.

Complaint and Appeal Form
Click here to download a copy of the Complaint and Appeal Form.