Complaints and appeals procedure

Purpose: 

To provide guidance on the process for receipt and resolution of complaints and appeals.

Procedure: 

Applies to

  • ABA Employees

  • ABA Volunteers and Trainees - Breastfeeding Counsellors, Community Educators and other volunteers

  • All enrolled students

  • ABA Board Members

  • Contractors working for ABA

  • Members of the public

Introduction

The Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure addresses any form of complaint or appeal that may arise at any level of the Association in relation to customer service, training (including assessment), human resources, conflict resolution or any other matter. It covers Association group, regional, branch and national levels. 

In general non-formal attempts shall be made to resolve initial disputes or concerns. This may include advice, discussions, and general mediation in relation to the complainant’s concerns. Any volunteer or employee can be involved in this informal process to resolve issues. Once a formal complaint or appeal has been made this policy and procedure must be followed.

Objectives

  • To strive for employee, contractor, volunteer, enrolled student, client satisfaction and to address complaints or appeals made to ABA with professionalism and courtesy and aim to resolve issues 

  • To assist employees, contractors, volunteers, and enrolled students raise and resolve workplace or training and assessment grievances in a fair and equitable manner

  • To process and finalise all complaints and appeals in a timely manner – no later than 60 calendar days

  • To address all matters in an impartial, fair, open and transparent manner in accordance with the principles of natural justice and equity

  • To work within Federal, State and Territory laws

  • To comply with our responsibilities as a Registered Training Organisation

Principles

General

  • ABA will adopt a balanced and just view of any issue and consider all the available facts in a timely 

  • All parties are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities throughout the complaints and appeals process, and adequate, fair and equal representation for all ABA parties will be ensured

  • The Association shall make the Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure and forms available on the ABA website and in other relevant internal documents

  • Processes will involve only those individuals essential to addressing the complaint or appeal

  • ABA respects, and is willing to work with existing state, industry and government authorities that provide mediation

  • Records of investigations and outcomes of complaints and appeals are treated with the highest level of privacy and confidentiality

Procedures

Submitting a complaint or appeal

Complaints and appeals are submitted via:

The complainant or appellant is encouraged to submit the form. If necessary, an ABA representative will complete the form on their behalf.

An acknowledgement is automatically sent to the submitter of the form, the complainant and to ABA National Office.

Investigation and resolution process

  • Complaints and appeals will be dealt with as quickly as practicable

  • In the first instance a complaint should be addressed at a local level or by the person who holds immediate responsibility. If this person is involved in the dispute or grievance then the next level person will take responsibility.

  • The person responsible must contact the complainant/appellant within 7 days acknowledging receipt of their complaint or appeal

  • The process of investigation must be thorough and systematic and the aggrieved person’s wishes will be taken into account in the determination of appropriate steps and actions.

  • At all times all parties must be aware of privacy and confidentiality and act accordingly

  • All parties have the right to be accompanied and assisted by a support person in every relevant meeting

  • Responsible person will use the Complaints and Appeals Resolution Form in documenting the resolution of the complaint or appeal and notifying all relevant parties of outcome within two weeks of resolution. This form details:
    - The issue or complaint
    - Action taken
    - Outcome
    - Any further follow-up required

  • Available options should be outlined to the complainant/appellant where they are not satisfied with the outcome

  • On occasion a matter may be referred to a more appropriate position holder or for mediation

  • The mediator will be a suitable ABA representative at a senior level, and will not be a party to the dispute

  • If the matter is not able to be resolved then it may be referred to the CEO or to a relevant industry or government authority to mediate

  • If a party to a complaint is dissatisfied with the outcome, an appeal may be lodged in writing with the Appeals Committee within 21 days

Complaint and appeal resolution

Resolution may include, but is not limited to:

  • Reply to complaint

  • Apology

  • Change to an assessment decision

  • Corrective action

  • Changes to policy, procedures and practice

  • Disciplinary action

  • Further training

Working through a complaint

  • An employee, contractor, volunteer, enrolled student or other stakeholder who considers they have a complaint, dispute or grievance must raise the matter with their immediate supervisor as a first step towards resolution. The two parties should discuss the matter openly and work together to achieve a desired outcome.

  • The Manager or Supervisor should check for clarification of the issue to ensure they fully understand the complainant’s concern.

  • Managers/supervisors should offer the employee, contractor, volunteer, enrolled student or other stakeholder the opportunity to have an independent witness at the discussion, ensuring they follow the steps outlined below

  • If more than one person is present, establish the role of each person All ABA workforce will maintain confidentiality and respect privacy of all parties

  • If the person responsible requires assistance, they may seek guidance from their manager or supervisor

Guidance for managers/supervisors when undertaking a grievance discussion

  • The following process should be followed:
    1. Inform the parties that any information obtained in the conduct of the review is confidential
    2. Listen to the complainant and diagnose the problem
    3. Take accurate and detailed notes of all conversations (including dates, people involved) and attach any supporting documentation
    4. If deemed necessary, provide the parties/employee/volunteer with a written summary of the meeting and clarification of the next steps to be taken

  • The manager must ensure that the manner in which the meeting is conducted will be conducive to maintaining positive working relationships, and will provide a fair, objective and independent analysis of the situation

  • All parties are to maintain complete confidentiality during the process and afterwards

  • If the matter is not resolved and the complainant wishes to pursue it, the issue should be discussed with the next level manager. The organisational hierarchy of responsibility should be followed but can be expedited to the CEO or President when necessary

Review of outcomes

  • For complaints and appeals relating to training and education services the Senior Manager Training and Education will annually lead a systematic review of all complaints and appeals to identify common factors for training grievances only

  • The CEO and their appointed representative will annually lead a systematic review of all workplace complaints and appeals to identify common factors

  • The CEO and their representatives will annually lead a systematic review of any client/customer/member of the public complaints to identify common factors

  • The findings of these reviews will be used to update and improve our policies, procedures and practices

External mediation or review

For training-related complaints and appeals, complainants and appellants may request mediation or review by an independent third party if not satisfied with the decision in either the formal complaints or appeals procedures

  • The mediator or reviewer will be chosen by agreement between the parties and cannot be a party to the dispute.

  • The complainant/appellant is responsible for the costs that may be involved with external services, unless authorised in advance by ABA's CEO.

  • The CEO must be informed before a complaint or appeal is referred to an external body.

  • The learner will be given the opportunity to formally present his or her case.

If the learner is still not happy with external mediation, he/she may take his/her complaint to the VET regulator, ASQA, directly (please be aware that ASQA does not act in a mediation capacity)
Date approved: 
Jun 2016
Approved by: 
National Training Manager
Review by date: 
Jan 2017