02. Complaints and Grievances Resolution Policy
Legislation and Documentation:
Education Act 2004 (amended 2022)
Human Rights Act 2004
Human Rights Commission Act 2005
Public Sector Management Act 1994
Children and Young People Act 2008
Privacy Act 1988
Freedom of Information Act 1989
Ombudsman's Act 1989
Tertiary and Training Education Act 2003
Better Practice Guide to Complaint Handling:
This policy is intended to ensure that Taqwa School handles complaints fairly, efficiently and effectively.
This policy applies to all staff (paid and volunteer), contractors and our governing body, receiving or managing complaints from the Taqwa community made to or about us, regarding our products, services and staff, or our complaint handling process.
1.3 Organisational commitment
Taqwa school expects staff at all levels to be committed to fair, effective and efficient complaint handling. The following table outlines the nature of the commitment expected from staff and the way that commitment should be implemented.
This policy provides guidance to our staff and Taqwa community who wish to make a complaint on the key principles and concepts of our complaint management system.
2.Terms and Definitions
An expression of dissatisfaction made to or about us, our services, staff or the handling of a complaint where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.
As well as complaints being made directly to our organisation, remember that some complaints (or at least negative comments) should not be made on social media.
Complaint handling/management system
All policies, procedures, practices, staff, hardware and software used by us in the management of complaints.
An unresolved complaint escalated either within or outside of our organisation.
Opinions, comments and expressions of interest or concern, made directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly, to or about us, about our services or complaint handling system where a response is not explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.
A clear, formal written statement by an individual staff member about another staff member or a work-related problem.
A statement of instruction that sets out how we should fulfil our vision, mission and goals.
A statement or instruction that sets out how our policies will be implemented and by whom.
We are committed to provide an effective complaint handling system modelled on the principles of fairness, accessibility, responsiveness, efficiency and integration into organisational culture.
Acknowledge & respond to complaints
Manage and resolve the complaint
3.1 Facilitate complaints
Taqwa School is committed to seeking and receiving feedback and complaints about our services, systems, practices, procedures, products and complaint handling. Any concerns raised in the feedback or complaints section of the Taqwa school website (https://www.taqwaschool.act.edu.au/) will be dealt with within a reasonable time frame.
People making complaints will be:
- provided with information about our complaint handling process and how to access it
- listened to, treated with respect by staff and actively involved in the complaint process where possible and appropriate, and
- provided with reasons for our decision/s and any options for redress or review.
No detriment to people making complaints
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people making complaints are not adversely affected because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.
We accept anonymous complaints if there is a compelling reason to do so and will carry out a confidential investigation of the issues raised where there is enough information provided.
We will ensure that information about how and where complaints may be made to or about us is well publicised, on our website. We will ensure that our systems to manage complaints are easily understood and accessible to everyone, particularly people who may require assistance.
If a person prefers or needs another person or organisation to assist or represent them in the making and/ or resolution of their complaint, we will communicate with them through their representative if this is their wish. Anyone may represent a person wishing to make a complaint with their consent (e.g. advocate, family member, legal or community representative, member of Parliament, another organisation).
3.2 Respond to complaints
Where possible, complaints will be resolved at first contact with us. We shall record complaints resolved at first point of contact, When appropriate we may offer an explanation or apology to the person making the complaint.
We will promptly acknowledge receipt of complaints.
We will assess and prioritise complaints in accordance with the urgency and/or seriousness of the issues raised. If a matter concerns an immediate risk to safety or security the response will be immediate and will be escalated appropriately.
We are committed to managing people’s expectations, and will inform them as soon as possible, of the following:
- the complaints process
- the expected time frames for our actions
- the progress of the complaint and reasons for any delay
- their likely involvement in the process, and
- the possible or likely outcome of their complaint.
We will advise people as soon as possible when we are unable to deal with any part of their complaint and provide advice about where such issues and/or complaints may be directed (if known and appropriate).
We will also advise people as soon as possible when we are unable to meet our time frames for responding to their complaint and the reason for our delay.
Objectivity and fairness
We will address each complaint with integrity and in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner.
We will ensure that the person handling a complaint is different from any staff member whose conduct or service is being complained about.
Conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, will be managed responsibly. In particular, internal reviews of how a complaint was managed will be conducted by a person other than the original decision maker.
Our staff are empowered to resolve complaints promptly and with as little formality as possible. We will adopt flexible approaches to service delivery and problem solving to enhance accessibility for people making complaints and/or their representatives.
We will assess each complaint on its merits and involve people making complaints and/or their representative in the process as far as possible.
We will protect the identity of people making complaints where this is practical and appropriate.
Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed or used by us as permitted under the relevant privacy laws, secrecy provisions and any relevant confidentiality obligations.
3.3 Manage the parties to a complaint
Complaints involving multiple agencies
Where a complaint involves multiple organisations, we will work with the other organisation/s where possible, to ensure that communication with the person making a complaint and/or their representative is clear and coordinated.
Subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations, communication and information sharing between the parties will also be organised to facilitate a timely response to the complaint.
Where a complaint involves multiple areas within our organisation, responsibility for communicating with the person making the complaint and/or their representative will also be coordinated.
Empowerment of staff
All Taqwa school staff managing complaints are empowered to implement our complaint management system as relevant to their role and responsibilities.
Staff are encouraged to provide feedback on the effectiveness and efficiency of all aspects of our complaint management system.
Managing unreasonable conduct by people making complaints
We are committed to being accessible and responsive to all people who approach us with feedback or complaints. At the same time our success depends on:
- our ability to do our work and perform our functions in the most effective and efficient way possible
- the health, safety and security of our staff, and
- our ability to allocate our resources fairly across all the complaints we receive.
- When people behave unreasonably in their dealings with us, their conduct can significantly affect the progress and efficiency of our work. As a result, we will take proactive and decisive action to manage
- any conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects us and will support our staff to do the same in accordance with this policy.
Alternative avenues for dealing with complaints
We will inform people who make complaints to or about us about any internal or external review options available to them (including any relevant Ombudsman or oversight regulatory bodies).
The three levels of complaint handling (Bottom up approach)
We aim to resolve complaints at the first level, the frontline. Wherever possible staff will be adequately equipped to respond to complaints, including being given appropriate authority, training and supervision.
Where this is not possible, we may decide to escalate the complaint to a more senior officer within our organisation. This second level of complaint handling will provide for the following internal mechanisms:
- assessment and possible investigation of the complaint and decision/s already made, and/or
- facilitated resolution (where a person not connected with the complaint reviews the matter and attempts to find an outcome acceptable to the relevant parties).
Where a person making a complaint is dissatisfied with the outcome of our review of their complaint, they may seek an external review of our decision (by the Australian Charities and Not-for Profits Commission for example).
4 Accountability and learning
4.1 Analysis and evaluation of complaints
We will ensure that complaints are recorded in a systematic way so that information can be easily retrieved for reporting and analysis by management and the governing body of Directors.
We will run regular reports on:
- the number of complaints received
- the outcome of complaints, including matters resolved at the frontline
- issues arising from complaints
- systemic issues identified, and
- the number of requests we receive for internal and/or external review of our complaint handling. Regular analysis of these reports will be undertaken to monitor trends, measure the quality of our customer service and make improvements.
Both reports and their analysis will be provided to our CEO, senior management and to our governing body for review, at least annually.
4.2 Monitoring of the complaint management system
We will continually monitor our complaint management system to:
- ensure its effectiveness in responding to and resolving complaints
- identify and correct deficiencies in the operation of the system, and
- monitoring may include the use of audits, complaint satisfaction surveys and online listening tools and alerts.
4.3 Continuous improvement
Taqwa school is committed to improving the way our organisation operates, including our management of the effectiveness and efficiency of our complaint management system. To this end, we will:
- support the making and appropriate resolution of complaints
- implement best practices in complaint handling
- recognise and reward exemplary complaint handling by staff
- regularly review the complaint management system and complaint data, and
- implement appropriate system changes arising out of our analysis of complaints data and continual monitoring of the system.
Taqwa school is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment to our students and staff at the campus. We welcome feedback from the Taqwa community. We deal seriously with all complaints and concerns made to us. To inform and assist the Taqwa community, this document provides a guide to our complaint and dispute resolution system.
WHO CAN MAKE COMPLAIN
Any member of Taqwa Community dissatisfied with our services or operations can make a complaint.
Most of the issues causing concern in schools come from misunderstandings or incomplete understandings. These issues can be resolved either through informal discussions with appropriate staff members or the principal. Notwithstanding that an issue may be able to be resolved informally we encourage all staff to log issues through our complaints management system in order that we are able to identify any systemic issues arising and take appropriate rectification action.
HOW TO MAKE A FORMAL COMPLAINT?
1. Preferred method is to lodge your formal complaint through our website HERE
2. Parents can send an email to email@example.com
3. Writing a letter to the School addressed to "The Principal, 11 Yidaki Way, Moncrieff, 2914”.
4. Telephoning the School 0261816870 and asking to speak to the Deputy Principal or the Principal.
All formal complaints will be logged into our online complaints management system and managed in accordance with the following procedure:
STEP 1: All formal complaints are logged on our online complaints management system where they are screened by the Principal or Deputy Principal, or in the case of complaints against the Principal by a member of the Taqwa School Board.
STEP 2: All valid complaints will be acknowledged in writing, as soon as practicable, and allocated a status, priority and target resolution date. It is our policy where possible to resolve all disputes within 14 days.
STEP 3: The Principal or Deputy Principal shall conduct an investigation into the issues raised, following principles of procedural fairness, and make a determination.
STEP 4: Following the determination, if appropriate the Principal shall formulate a resolution and provide a written response to the complainant. The matter will be closed if this response is accepted.
STEP 5: If the initial response is not acceptable the matter will be reviewed internally by the Principal's office, which may seek additional information or submissions from the relevant parties. The review process shall seek to resolve all disputes within 30 days from the date that the review process is initiated. The matter will be closed if the response by the Principal's Office is accepted.
STEP 6: All complaints received will be entered on our Complaints Register and where appropriate a corrective action request will be raised.
STEP 7: If the matter remains unresolved after the appeals process (Step 5) the complainant may approach the chairman of the Taqwa School Board or pursue external resolution alternatives.
Confidentiality applies with respect to both information relating to the person making the complaint, and, if relevant to a person against whom a complaint is made. Taqwa school is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of information throughout the complaints process.
Complainants must NOT deal directly with students against whom a grievance is made.
Personally identifiable information about a complainant will only be made available for the purpose of addressing the complaint and (unless the complainant consents) will be actively protected from disclosure.