Complaints & Appeals

COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS POLICY

1. Purpose

Careers Australia Institute of Training Pty Ltd and Careers Australia Education Institute Pty Ltd (referred to as “the Institute”) seeks to continuously provide high quality education and training service in which all are encouraged to strive for excellence. It is committed to implementing an effective complaint resolution procedure that, where possible, is managed quickly, at the local level and with a minimum number of people involved. The resolution process will focus on a rapid re-establishment of good education working relationships and positive outcomes. The procedures aim to avoid blame and undue investigation. This policy provides clients with a clear process to register a complaint or appeal. It ensures all parties involved are kept informed of the resulting actions and outcomes.

2. Scope

This policy is designed to cover all complainants including:

  • Students and persons seeking to enrol who are, or would be, entitled to VET FEE-HELP assistance (Australian citizens or permanent humanitarian visa holders who are resident in Australia for the duration of a VET unit of study);
  • Individuals who are not eligible for VET FEE-HELP assistance (permanent residents who are not permanent humanitarian visa holders and New Zealand citizens);
  • Individuals who are classified as international students as defined by the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (who are not eligible for VET FEE-HELP assistance).
  • Individuals who are classified as Trainees under a contact of training (who are not eligible for VET FEE HELP assistance).
  • This policy also applies to Industry representatives and CAG staff.

In handling a complaint, whether formal or informal, confidentiality will be maintained to:

  • Protect all parties involved in a complaint under the principles of natural justice
  • Involve the minimum number of people possible
  • anonymous appeals; or
  • appeals that appear to be of a frivolous nature, or vexatiously or maliciously made; or
  • appeals made on the basis of the judgment of the Institute staff member who made the
  • decision; or appeals that fail to meet the lodgement requirements

The Institute is not compelled to consider:

All students and staff are to be informed of the complaint resolution procedures. The focus for resolution will be on issues rather than individuals. Students are to be protected from victimisation. Natural justice principles will be used to ensure procedural fairness. A complainant has the right to withdraw the complaint at any stage.

Where a complainant is a current student, their enrolment must be maintained while the complaints and appeals process is ongoing. Complainants can choose to utilise resources outside the Institute to resolve their complaint. Complaints managed by the Institute are not charged however; if an external mediation service is required this service will be charged.

3. Definitions

A complaint can be defined as a student’s expression of dissatisfaction with any aspect of the Institute’s services and activities, such as:

  • the enrolment, induction/orientation process;
  • the quality of education provided;
  • academic matters, including student progress, assessment, curriculum and awards in a course of study;
  • handling of personal information and access to personal records;
  • the way someone has been treated.

4. Principles 

The Institute is guided by the following principles in resolving all student complaints and appeals:

  • complaint and appeal procedures will be readily available to ensure students understand their rights and responsibilities, including their right to have a support person present at any interview or proceeding
  • the complaint and appeals will be well documented, and the results of complaints and appeals will be communicated to relevant parties within 20 working days
  • Complainants will be advised of the outcome of the complaints through written notification that the complaint has been resolved 
  • the principles of courtesy, mutual respect, confidentiality and procedural fairness will be observed by all parties to the complaint resolution process 
  • there will be no direct financial cost to the student relating to internal review and appeal processes
  • complaint and appeal procedures will be applied consistently and transparently 
  • a student’s enrolment will be maintained while the complaint and appeal process is ongoing 
  • records will be kept for a minimum of five years and are kept strictly confidential 
  • the complaint resolution process will be used the Institute to identify areas for improvement in the quality of services and support it provides to students 
  • the complaint resolution process does not restrict an individual's rights to pursue other legal remedies 
  • students may choose to have their complaint reviewed externally

Victimisation

All complaints will be handled with fairness in accordance with the principles of natural justice. The Institute is committed to ensuring that students and respondents do not experience any victimisation as a result of making either an informal or formal complaint.

Whether a complaint is formal or informal, steps will be taken to ensure that neither party is victimised or disadvantaged as a result of a complaint being made. The Nominee appointed to manage a formal complaint will be responsible for ensuring that no victimisation occurs.

Natural justice

The duty to act fairly includes two rules: the fair dealing rule and the no bias rule.  This means that all parties must be given the opportunity to present their case, be fully informed about allegations and decisions made and have the right to be represented by another person.

In addition, a decision maker must have no personal interest, beyond the scope of their role in this process and must be unbiased.  If the decision maker cannot meet these requirements they must immediately withdraw from the process.  The procedure shall have regard to the duration of an overseas student’s stay in Australia. In order to expedite the process, students shall also have regard for this and not unduly interfere with the mediation agent or the procedure. Should interference by the student affect the normal process of events, CAG shall not be held responsible for the consequences.

Record keeping & confidentiality

Records of all complaints handled under this procedure and their outcomes shall be maintained for a period of at least five years to allow all parties to the complaint appropriate access to these records, upon written request to the General Manager. 

These records will be maintained electronically.  All electronic data is permanently archived to a secure offsite storage facility on a monthly basis.  Archive cartridges are kept indefinitely.

All records relating to complaints will be treated as confidential and will be covered by Careers Australia Privacy and Personal Information Policy.

NOTE: This policy is to be supplied to international students prior to acceptance of offer in the student handbook and within seven days of commencement of study at orientation.

Approval, publication and training

The Policy and Procedure was approved by the Board of Directors of the Institute on 5 March 2015.

This policy and procedure will be made available by publication in the Student Handbook and on the Institute’s website (http://www.careersaustralia.edu.au


HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT

PROCESS

Complaint

Complainants may make a complaint by forwarding a written complaint to the following complaints@careersaustralia.edu.au .  The written complaint must be made within two months of the incident occurring.  The Customer Relations Officer will manage the complaint and will forward it to the relevant Manager within Careers Australia to assist in effective and rapid resolution.

A complaint can be made verbally by contacting the Careers Australia Customer Relations Officer on 1300 131 231.    The Customer Relations Officer will manage the complaint and will forward it to the relevant Manager within Careers Australia to assist in effective and rapid resolution.  If the complainant is invited to present their case in person, the complainant may be accompanied by an advocate of their choosing. Each party will have an opportunity to formally present their case should they wish to do so.

The Customer Relations Officer will provide the complainant with an outcome of the complaint and will further advise the complainant of their right to access the internal appeals process if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

Academic Review

All students have the right to request an academic review.  Where a student is dissatisfied with the assessment of an assignment and/or an examination result, the student should discuss this informally in the first instance with their Trainer/Educator.

Where a student is dissatisfied with the assessment of practical work and/or vocational placement assessments performed in the workplace, the student should discuss this informally in the first instance with their workplace mentor/supervisor. If the student remains dissatisfied, the issue should be discussed informally with their Trainer/Educator. 

If the issue cannot be resolved informally, a student may submit a request for a formal academic review in writing to the relevant Campus Manager or Online Training Manager within twenty (20) working days of receiving the reviewed academic result.  The request must outline why the student has requested a formal review of the result. 

The relevant Campus Manager or Online Training Manager will seek to resolve a formal academic review through the appointment of an independent and impartial educator to conduct an investigation and make a recommendation. The relevant Campus Manager or Online Training Manager will make the final decision on all formal academic reviews.

All parties involved in any formal academic reviews will be advised in writing of the outcome and the reasons for the decision within twenty (20) working days from the date the review was lodged.  If a student’s formal academic review is successful the academic result will be amended. 

Where a formal academic review is not upheld by the relevant Campus Manager, the student will be advised in writing of the option to access the appeals procedure.


HOW TO LODGE AN APPEAL

CAREERS AUSTRALIA OMBUDSMAN

Appeals

At Careers Australia everyone has the right to lodge a complaint if they are dissatisfied.  The Careers Australia Ombudsman is independent and impartial to the business and will review and conduct its own independent investigation. 

The Careers Australia Ombudsman will only consider a complaint after the complainant has followed the complaints process.  If the complainant is still dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint, the complainant may proceed to appeal the decision.  This appeal is dealt with by the Careers Australia Ombudsman.

If a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint or academic review they may lodge an appeal in writing to the Careers Australia Ombudsman to the following ombudsman@careersaustralia.edu.au

An appeal must be lodged in writing within twenty (20) working days of the date of notification of the original decision.   Any appeal must set out the grounds for the appeal.  The Careers Australia Ombudsman will conduct its own investigation and the appeal will be finalised within twenty (20) working days of the date of the lodgement of the appeal.  The Ombudsman will provide a written notification on the finalisation of the appeal.

The Institute provides the right of appeal against decisions made following the resolution or completed investigation of a complaint or academic review.  At all times, parties to the appeal may be accompanied by an advocate of their choosing.  You may be asked to present your case in person.


INDEPENDENT COMPLAINT HANDLING AUTHORITIES

External mediation services

Should a complaint or appeal not be resolved using the CAG complaints, academic appeals and appeals process, then impartial mediation by an external mediator is available. Contact with the mediator should be initiated by the student in all cases.

Domestic Students

Domestic students may contact ASQA (See information below) or for QLD and SA students you can also contact an independent complaint handling authority (See information below).

You can submit a complaint to ASQA by completing the ‘Complaint about a training organisation operating under ASQA’s jurisdiction’ form http://www.asqa.gov.au/forms.html#complaints.

Students studying in South Australia

South Australian students are advised to contact the Office of the Training Advocate (OTA) on 1800 006 488.  The OTA responds to questions or concerns about the vocational education and training system in South Australia and can help by providing information about vocational education and training and investigating complaints.  The OTA will either agree to act on the students behalf or refer students to the appropriate jurisdiction for assistance eg: Equal Opportunity Commission.

International Students

International students who wish to lodge an external appeal can do so through the Overseas Students Ombudsman.  See the Overseas Students Ombudsman website www.oso.gov.au or phone 1300 362 072.

The Overseas Students Ombudsman offers a free and independent service for overseas students who have a complaint or want to lodge an external appeal about a decision made by their training provider. Careers Australia agrees to be bound by the independent mediator’s recommendations and the Managing Director, or their nominee, will ensure that any recommendations made are implemented within 30 days of receipt of the mediator’s report.

Each complaint, grievance, appeal and its outcome is recorded in writing and each party to the complaint is given a written statement of the appeal outcomes, including reasons for the decision.

All States

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) 1300 701 801

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