Complaints and Appeals Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria Inc (DVRCV)’s approach to managing formal complaints and appeals of participants, clients, staff and other members of the community during the provision of training. It provides a transparent approach for all complaints and appeals to be addressed in a fair, efficient and confidential manner.

This policy contributes to DVRCV’s compliance with the requirements of its registration as a training provider including Elements 1.1, 2.2, 2.7 & 3.2 of the AQTF as well as Guidelines 2.7 & 2.8 of the VRQA Guidelines.

Definitions

Appeal means a request for a decision made by DVRCV to be reviewed.

AQTF means the AQTF Essential Standards of Continuing Registration 2010.

Complaint means a person’s formal expression of dissatisfaction with any product or service provided by DVRCV.

Services means training, assessment, related educational and support services and/or activities related to the recruitment of prospective learners. It does not include services such as participant counselling, mediation or ICT support.

VRQA Guidelines means the VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers 2016.

VRQA means Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority, the state VET regulator and DVRCV’s registering body.

Policy

  1. Nature of complaints and appeals
    • DVRCV responds to all allegations involving the conduct of:
      • The RTO, its trainers and assessors and training administration staff.
      • Any third party providing Services on behalf of DVRCV.
      • Any training participant of DVRCV.
    • Complaints may be made in relation to any of DVRCV’s training related services and activities such as:
      • the application and enrolment process
      • marketing information
      • the quality of training and assessment provided
      • training and assessment matters, including participant progress, participant support and assessment requirements
      • the way someone has been treated
      • the actions of another participant
    • An appeal is a request for a decision made by DVRCV to be reviewed. Decisions may have been about:
      • course admissions
      • refund assessments
      • response to a complaint
      • assessment outcomes / results
  2. Principles of resolution
    • DVRCV is committed to implementing a procedurally fair complaints and appeals process that is carried out free from bias, following the principles of natural justice. Through this policy, DVRCV ensures that complaints and appeals:
      • Are responded to in a consistent and transparent manner.
      • Are responded to promptly, objectively, with sensitivity and confidentiality.
      • Are able to be made at no cost to the individual.
      • Are used as an opportunity to identify potential causes of the complaint or appeal and take actions to prevent the issues from recurring as well as identifying any areas for improvement.
    • DVRCV will inform all persons or parties involved in any allegations made as well as providing them with an opportunity to present their side of the matter.
    • Nothing in this policy limits the rights of an individual to take action under Australia’s Consumer Protection laws and it does not circumscribe an individual’s rights to pursue other legal remedies.
    • Where a participant chooses to access this policy, DVRCV will maintain the participant’s enrolment while the complaints/appeals handling process is ongoing.
  3. Timeframes for resolution
    • Complaints and appeals will be finalised as soon as practicable or at least within 30 calendar days unless there is a significant reason for the matter to take longer. In matters where additional time is needed, the complainant or appellant will be advised in writing of the reasons and will be updated regularly on the progress of the matter until such a time that the matter is resolved.
  4. Records of complaints and appeals
    • DVRCV will maintain a record of all complaints and appeals and their outcomes on the RTO Complaints and Appeals Register, which will be securely stored according to the RTO Privacy Policy. These records are reviewed to identify areas of improvement in accordance with DVRCV’s RTO Quality Assurance Policy.
  5. Making a complaint or appeal
    • Complaints about a particular incident should be made as soon as possible after the incident occurring and appeals must be made within 30 calendar days of the original decision being made.
    • Complaints and appeals must be made in writing using the Complaints and Appeals Form, or other written format and sent to DVRCV’s head office at 52 Cardigan Street, Carlton, VIC 3053 attention to the Director, Workforce Strategy and Capability or submit via email to [email protected]
    • When making a complaint or appeal, provide as much information as possible to enable DVRCV to investigate and determine an appropriate solution. This should include:
      • The issue you are complaining about or the decision you are appealing – describe what happened and how it affected you.
      • Any evidence you have to support your complaint or appeal.
      • Details about the steps you have already taken to resolve the issue.
      • Suggestions about how the matter might be resolved.
      • Your complaint or appeal will be acknowledged in writing via email or post within seven days of receipt.
  6. Resolution of complaints and appeals
    • Some or all members of the leadership team of DVRCV will be involved in resolving complaints and appeals as outlined in the procedures.
    • Where a complaint or appeal involves another individual or organisation, they will be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations made.
    • In the case of an assessment appeal, an assessor who is independent from the original decision will assess the original task again. The outcome of this assessment will be the result granted for the assessment task.
  7. Independent parties
    • DVRCV acknowledges the need for an appropriate independent party to be appointed to review a matter where this is requested by the complainant or appellant and where the internal processes have failed to resolve the matter. Costs associated with independent parties to review a matter must be covered by the complainant/appellant unless the decision to include an independent party was made by DVRCV.
    • DVRCV may also appoint the independent party to be involved in the resolution of a complaint or appeal where it is deemed necessary.
    • Complainants and appellants can find an appropriate independent party by calling the Resolution Institute on 02 9251 3366 or by searching the following directory, according to their locality and area of concern: https://www.resolution.institute/australian-directory
    • DVRCV will provide complete cooperation with the independent party investigating the complaint/appeal and will be bound by the recommendations arising out of this process.
    • The complainant or appellant will be formally notified in writing of any recommendations arising out of this process.
    • The CEO (or delegate) will ensure that any recommendations made are implemented within 30 days of being notified of the recommendations or that there are steps put in place to ensure the future implementation of recommendations where immediate implementation is not possible due to staffing, capacity or budgetary constraints.
  8. External complaint avenues
    Complaints can also be made via the following avenues:
    • National Training Complaints Hotline:
      The National Training Complaints Hotline is a national service for consumers to register complaints concerning vocational education and training. The service refers consumers to the appropriate agency/authority/jurisdiction to assist with their complaint. Consumers can register a complaint with the National Training Complaints Hotline by:
    • For more information about the National Training Complaints Hotline, refer to the following webpage: https://www.education.gov.au/NTCH
    • Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA):
      Complainants may also complain to DVRCV’s registering body, Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority (VRQA).
    • VRQA can investigate complaints about DVRCV in relation to:
      • the quality of our training and assessment
      • our marketing and advertising practices
    • If your complaint does not fall within VRQA’s jurisdiction, it may be resolved more quickly if you directly contact the agency responsible as listed on the following website: https://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/complaints/Pages/who-can-help-you-with-complaints-not-for-us.aspx
      Please refer to the following webpage below before making a complaint to VRQA: https://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/complaints/Pages/complaints.aspx
    • For participants:
      • VRQA may not be able to investigate complaint if you do not include evidence that you have already exhausted our formal internal complaints process as above.
  9. Publication
    This policy will be published in the Participant Agreement, Participant Induction Booklet and on DVRCV’s website.