Complaints and Appeals Policy
The purpose of this policy and procedure is to outline Future Education Group (FEG)’s approach to managing dissatisfaction, formal complaints and appeals of students, clients, staff and other members of the community. It provides a transparent approach for all complaints and appeals to be addressed in a fair, efficient and confidential manner.
This policy and procedure ensure compliance with Standard 6 of the Standards, as well as compliance with the of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018, Standard 10.
ASQA means Australian Skills Quality Authority, the national VET regulator and the RTO’s registering body
Appeal means a request for a decision made by FEG to be reviewed
DET means Department of Education and Training
Complaint means a person’s formal expression of dissatisfaction with any product or service provided by FEG.
PRISMS mean Provider Registration and International Students Management System
Overseas Student means someone who is studying in Australia on a student visa. An overseas student is also called an international student.
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 student counselling, mediation or ICT support
Standards means the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 from the VET Quality Framework
- Nature of complaints and appeals
- FEG responds to all allegations involving the conduct of:
- The RTO, its trainers and assessors and other staff.
- Any third-party providing Services on behalf of FEG and including education agents.
- Any student or client of FEG.
- Complaints may be made in relation to any of FEG’s services and activities such as:
- the application and enrolment process
- marketing information
- the quality of training and assessment provided
- training and assessment matters, including student progress, student support and assessment requirements
- the way someone has been treated
- the actions of another student
- An appeal is a request for a decision made by FEG to be reviewed. Decisions may have been about:
- course admissions
- refund assessments
- response to a complaint
- assessment outcomes / results
- other general decisions made by FEG
- Principles of resolution
- FEG is committed to developing a procedurally fair complaints and appeals process that is carried out free from bias, following the principles of natural justice. Through this policy and procedure, FEG ensures that complaints and appeals:
- Are responded to in a professional, consistent and transparent manner.
- Are responded to promptly, fairly, 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.
- FEG 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.
- There are no charges for students to submit a complaint or appeal to FEG, or to seek information or advice about doing so.
- Nothing in this policy and procedure 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.
- 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 thirty (30) calendar days of the original decision being made.
- Complaints and appeals should be made in writing using the Complaints and Appeals Form, or other written format and sent to FEG’s head office at Level 4, 28 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, marked attention to the Chief Executive Officer.
When making a complaint or appeal, as much information as possible should be provided to enable FEG to investigate and determine an appropriate solution. This should include:
- The issue being complained about or the decision being appealed – describe what happened.
- Any evidence to support the complaint or appeal.
- Details about any steps already taken to resolve the issue.
- Suggestions about how the matter might be resolved.
- Timeframes for resolution
- The complaint or appeal will be acknowledged in writing within 3 business days.
- The complaints and appeals process will commence within 10 business days of receipt of the application. 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 weekly on the progress of the matter until such a time that the matter is resolved.
- Resolution of complaints and appeals
- Some or all members of the management team of FEG 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.
- Where a third party delivering services on behalf of the RTO is involved, they will also be included in the process of resolving the complaint or appeal.
- Each party involved in the complaint or appeal may have a support person of their choice present at meetings scheduled to resolve the issue.
- 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. The complainant or appellant will be advised in writing of the outcome of the process and the reasons for the findings made.
- The enrolment status of student will be handled as follows:
- For domestic students that choose to access this policy and procedure, FEG will maintain the student’s enrolment while the complaints and appeals process is ongoing.
- For international students, FEG will maintain a student’s enrolment throughout the internal appeals processes without notifying DET via PRISMS of a change in enrolment status. In the case of an external appeals process it will depend on the type of appeal as to whether FEG maintains the student’s enrolment as follows:
- If the appeal is against FEG’s decision to report the student for unsatisfactory course progress or attendance, the student’s enrolment will be maintained until the external process is completed and has supported or not supported FEG’s decision to report.
- If the appeal is against FEG’s decision to defer, suspend or cancel a student’s enrolment due to misbehaviour, FEG will notify DET via PRISMS of a change to the student’s enrolment after the outcome of the internal appeals process
- Independent Parties
- If the international student is not successful in FEG’s internal complaints handling and appeals process, FEG will advise the international student of their right to access an external complaint handling and appeals process at no cost. This advice will be given to the international student within 10 working days of the completion of the internal complaints handling and appeals process.
- FEG 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 the internal processes have failed to resolve the matter. Any costs associated with independent parties reviewing a matter must be covered by the complainant/appellant unless the decision to include an independent party was made by FEG. Complainants and appellants are able to use their own external party at their own cost. Domestic students may also access the external complaint avenues indicated below free of charge.
- For international students, the independent party is the Overseas Students Ombudsman. This service is free of charge. Where an international student is not satisfied with the outcome or conduct of the internal process, they are referred to the Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO). See information under external complaint avenues.
- FEG will provide complete cooperation with the external mediator investigating the complaint/appeal and will be bound by the recommendations arising out of this process.
- The CEO will ensure that any recommendations made are implemented within twenty (20) days of being notified of the recommendations. The complainant or appellant will also be formally notified in writing of the outcome of the mediation, and any recommendations being actioned by FEG.
- 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:
- Phone: 13 38 73, nationally.
- Email: email@example.com
- The Overseas Student Ombudsman (OSO)
International students may complain to the OSO if their complaint is in relation to FEG:
- refusing admission to a course
- course fees and refunds
- course or provider transfers
- course progress or attendance
- cancellation of enrolment
- accommodation or work arranged by your provider
- incorrect advice given by an education agent.
- if you believe we have failed to take action or are taking too long to take some action. This might include (for example), failing to provide your results in the normal timeframe, or failing to provide services included your written agreement with FEG.
The OSO may not be able to investigate your complaint if you have not already exhausted our formal internal complaints process as above.
Please refer to the following website if you are considering making a complaint: http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/making-a-complaint/overseas-students#quality-of-education-provider
- Records of complaints and appeals
This policy and procedure will be published in the Student Handbook and on FEG’s website.
B. Review external complaints or appeals
● In the event that the external party finds in favour of the student, immediately organise a management meeting to discuss the external process and its outcome.
● At the meeting. discuss the decision made and actions to be taken to implement the decision, including both corrective/preventative actions.
● Following the meeting immediately implement actions.
● Advise the student of the outcome of the complaint or appeal and the actions taken.