Complaints and Consumer Protection Policy

version Dec 2014; updated June 2016; updated Dec 2016

Complaints Policy Statement

The College, through the application of its Complaints and Grievance Policy, will develop and maintain an effective, timely, fair and equitable complaint / grievance handling system which is easily accessible to students and offered at no charge.

The grievance handling system will address any expression of dissatisfaction with any aspect of the College’s services and activities, including both academic and non-academic matters, such as:

  • Enrolment and eligibility to enrol;
  • The quality of resources and education provided;
  • Fee payment and instalments;
  • Academic issues, including course content, student progress and assessment results and the non-award of a qualification;
  • Failure to deliver contracted services;
  • Privacy issues, the handling of personal information and access to personal records;
  • The treatment received including concerns about bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination;
  • Student disciplinary actions taken; and
  • Administrative or customer service issues.

All stakeholders including potential and past students and clients may use the College Complaints and Grievance Policy if they are dissatisfied with any aspect at the College.

Use of the College Complaints and Grievance Policy does not limit a complainant’s other legal avenues or rights.

Consumer Protection Policy Statement

Students, including those receiving government-subsidised training have certain rights and obligations. 

Students have the right to a quality of training that meets the standards, regulations and requirement set down by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and under any government-subsidised training program they are enrolled in.

They also must be informed about the collection and use of their personal information, and be able to review and correct that information; and be able to access the Colleges consumer protection complaints process.

Students' obligations include: providing accurate information to the training provider; and behaving in a responsible and ethical manner.

Details about the Complaints and Consumer Protection Policies

  • Informal Option to Raise Concerns

    a) An informal process to resolve concerns is offered in the first instance to encourage clients, students, staff and other stakeholders to report any concerns immediately. However a formal system is to be in place for those that do not wish to follow the informal process.

    b) Regardless of whether a complaint is informally or formally raised it will be appropriately actioned in accordance with this policy.

    c) To raise an informal complaint simply raise the matter with your main contact at the College. For most students this would be their Student Adviser.

    d) If you prefer to raise the matter with them; simply ask to speak to a Director of Training to discuss a concern.

  • Formal Complaint Lodgement

    a) Stakeholders may immediately escalate the issue to a Manager by asking to speak to a Training Manager or by notifying the complaint in writing.

     

  • Ways to Lodge a Complaint

    Contact can be by:

    Phone 1 800 686 883 - ask for a Director of Training

    Web: complete the Contact Us form

    Post: Locked Bag 8804 Wollongong NSW 2500

    or send us an email with subject line: Complaint

  • Complaint Resolution Timeframe

    a) Receipt of written complaints will be acknowledged immediately upon receipt, but no later than 2 business days.

    b) If the matter cannot be immediately resolved, an indicative time frame for investigation will be provided to the complainant.

    c) The outcome of the investigation is to be communicated to the complainant no later than 5 working days after the complaint; excepting where the complainant has been advised of a longer time frame and the reason for that time frame being necessary.

    d) It is not envisaged that longer than 4 weeks would be needed to investigate and respond to any complaint.

  • Complaint Investigation Process

    a) Complaints will be actioned and resolved promptly, objectively and with sensitivity and in complete confidentiality.

    b) The views of each complainant will be respected and no party to a complaint will be discriminated against or victimised.

    c) The principles of natural justice will be applied to ensure fairness and justice for all parties; and a solid basis for arriving at fair, impartial and independent decisions. This will include the complainant having an opportunity to fully present their case and having the opportunity to be accompanied and assisted by a support person at any meetings.

    d) A Director of Training Services will be responsible for full investigation into written complaints.

    e) Where the Director of Training Services determines they are not the most suitable person to undertake the investigation; or they are not impartial; or the grievance is about their behaviour, the investigation is to be referred to a suitable colleague (but not one that reports directly to them).

    f) The investigation process will:

    • Seek to verify any factual information;
    • Determine any compliance or legal positions (and if necessary seek a formal legal opinion)
    • Allow the complainant and respondent an opportunity to fully present their case;
    • Where necessary, or requested, involve meetings on College premises with the complainant or respondent (giving them the opportunity to be accompanied and assisted by a support person);
    • Be recorded in writing (if necessary by a Minute taker); and
    • Undertake any other activities appropriate to the purpose of fully investigating the Grievance.

     

    g) The Director of Training will record their outcome and the reasons for the outcome.

    h)  A full explanation for decisions and actions taken as part of the process will be provided to the complainant. This will typically be by email.

  • Outcomes of a Formal Complaint

    a) After thorough investigation the Director of Training Services will advise the complainant (and respondent if applicable) in writing of the decision and the basis on which it was arrived at.

    b) The complainant (and if applicable the respondent) will be advised that there is a Complaints Appeal Process if they do not believe the outcome is correct.

    c) Written records of the Complaint (and Appeals) are to be retained in the College Complaints Register, which is permanently retained.

    d) Improvement procedures arising from every Grievance are to be identified and implemented as soon as practical.

Escalating an Unresolved Complaint and External Review

  • Option to Appeal an Initial Complaint Investigation

    a) A complainant may appeal the outcome of a Formal Complaint by writing to the College Managing Director who is the nominated Consumer Protection Officer, with a heading "Appeal of Formal Grievance".

    b) Before deciding whether to appeal a decision, the complainant should review the written reasons for the original decision, and seek further clarification if they do not understand the stated reasons.

    c) The following information should be included in the Appeal document:

    • Explanation of why the grievance decision is wrong or unfair;
    • Specifically - if you disagree with the decision because you believe the College misinterpreted the evidence, got the facts wrong, or placed too much weight on a particular piece of evidence, then what facts were wrong and any proof of that;
    • If there was bias or lack of impartiality by the decision maker or you were not given full opportunity to state your case;
    • Any concerns that the decision ignores legal obligations of the College; and
    • Additional evidence in support of the desired decision

    d) The Managing Director will be responsible for full investigation into Appeals of Formal Complaints.

    e) Where the Managing Director determines they are not the most suitable person to undertake the investigation; or they are not impartial; or the grievance is about their behaviour, the investigation is to be referred to a suitable Director or Company Secretary.

    f) The outcome of the Appeal is to be advised in writing to the complainant within 10 business days; or where further time is needed for investigation, within that the anticipated time frame.

    g) The complainant (and if applicable the respondent) will be advised of the External Appeal Processes available to them if they do not believe the Appeal outcome is correct.

  • External Review Process for VET FEE-HELP Complaints

    a) The following external appeal processes automatically apply to VET FEE HELP students, and other students may request that a complaint be referred under this scheme.

    b) A complainant who is a VET FEE HELP student may appeal the outcome of a Formal Grievance Appeal to Resolution Institute - under the Student Mediation Scheme; who are an independent external body. Other students may also request that this service is made available to them.

    c) Costs will apply for the use of the external review process. These are approximately $385 for the first 4 hours (or part thereof) and $137.50 per hour thereafter.

    d) The costs are to be shared equally by the College and the complainant.

    e) The College will implement all matters agreed to within the external process within 30 days; and will give due consideration to all recommendations made by the Resolution Institute.

    f) Students, including VET FEE-HELP students may also utilise other external review schemes.

  • National Training Complaints Hotline

    Students can register a complaint with the National Training Complaints Hotline by:

    Phone: 13 38 73, Monday–Friday, 8am to 6pm nationally.

    Email: NTCH@education.gov.au  Note they require a form to be completed with details - available at their website.

    The National Training Complaints Hotline uses the services of the Translating and Interpreting Service and National Relay Service.

  • ASQA Contact Details for Student Complaints

    As the national regulator of Australian vocational education and training (VET) providers, ASQA uses information received through student complaints to ensure that those providers are delivering quality training and assessment services. They may refer you to a more suited agancy based on the type of complaint. See their webpage information.

    Australian Skills Quality Authority contact details are: Phone: 1300 701 801

  • NSW Smart and Skilled Program Complaints

    New South Wales Students enrolled in a Smart and Skilled course can raise unresolved complaints with the State Training Services Customer Support Centre

    Phone: 1300 772 104

    Email: smartandskilled.enquiries@industry.nsw.gov.au

    NSW Smart and Skilled Consumer Protection Strategy document

  • QLD Training Ombudsman

    Queensland based students can make an enquiry or lodge a complaint with the Training Ombudsman:Call: 1800 773 048

    Calls from landlines are free - calls from mobile phones may attract charges. Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:45pm (AEST).

    Email: info@trainingombudsman.qld.gov.au

    Write: PO Box 15090, City East Qld 4002

  • For Allegations of Discriminatory Practice

    Australian Human Rights Commission

    Complaints Infoline: 1300 656 419

    Post: GPO Box 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001

    Email: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au

  • Complaints Related to Child Protection Policy

    Compulsory reporting obligations relate to raised concerns under the Child Protection Policy.

    All mandatory reporting will be implemented as required under those obligations.

     

Talk To Us About Your Concerns

A final word on the Complaints Policy ....

We pride ourselves on the quality of services we deliver; and we strive to improve even further.

That doesn't mean that from time to time we don't get it wrong. 

Please give us a chance to address your concern.