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Students and Community Members Complaints Policy

1. Purpose

To describe CIT's approach to receiving and managing complaints made by students and members of the community.

2. Scope

CIT students and other interested or affected parties have a right to make a complaint and to have that complaint managed in a timely and efficient matter. Complaints provide feedback and evidence as to the adequacy of CIT's governance arrangements and performance. This information allows CIT to apply a continuous improvement approach that reduces the likelihood of repeated negative outcomes.

A complaint made to CIT in accordance with this policy and the related procedure does not supersede or replace any complaint made by a complainant to independent authorities such as law enforcement or other regulatory bodies.

Academic Appeals are not within the scope of this policy. Please refer to the Academic Appeals Policy. For CIT staff complaints/workplace issues please refer to Resolving Staff Workplace Issues Policy.

CIT categorises complaints using a 3 Level model:

Level 1 - Complaint received and immediately resolved (within 3 working days) to the complainant’s satisfaction by CIT front line staff or their immediate supervisor.

Level 2 - An unresolved Level 1 complaint, or a Level 1 complaint that relates to a serious or safety-related issue that is internally reviewed and investigated.

Note - a complaint that relates to serious or safety-related issue is one which may include but not be limited to, complaints of a criminal nature, complaints relating to threats, personal safety or harm etc.

Level 3 - An unresolved Level 2 complaint that is directly or indirectly referred to an independent external body for review and decision.

Details as to how Level 1,2 and 3 complaints are received managed by CIT are contained in the CIT Student and Community Members Complaint Procedures.

3. Principles

3.1 The CIT Complaints handling arrangements and procedures must align with the following principles:

3.1.1     Commitment - CIT is committed to establishing and maintaining a positive complaints management environment that encourages feedback and handles complaints efficiently.

3.1.2     Fairness - CIT complaints handling arrangements and procedures must recognise the need to be fair to both the complainant and CIT or the person about whom the complaint is made.

The complainant has the right to:

  1. Be heard.
  2. Know whether the CIT's policies and procures have been followed.
  3. Provide and request all relevant material to support the complaint.
  4. Be informed of the criteria and processes, including avenues for further review, applied by CIT in dealing with complaints.
  5. Be informed of the outcome and response to their complaint.
  6. Be informed of CIT’s decision and reasons for that decision.
  7. Know that the complaint is being reviewed independently (and confidentially) if requested.

CIT or the person complained about must have a right to:

  1. Collate sufficient details about the complaint to enable that person or CIT to properly investigate and respond to the complaint.
  2. Place all relevant material before the person investigating the complaint.
  3. Be informed of the decision and the reason for the decision.
  4. Be informed of any request by the complainant for a review of the decision.

3.1.3     Resources and Training - CIT must ensure that adequate numbers of staff with sufficient delegated authority available in the decision-making process. CIT staff who handle complaints must be rotated over a period of time due to potential stress caused by exposure to psycho-social risks involved with handling complaints. Staff must be appropriately selected and provided with sufficient training and support to ensure that complaints are dealt with appropriately. Such training must form part of induction training for new staff and regularly be reinforced and updated. Dedicated complaints handling training (including interpersonal and communications, CIT organisational, and CIT Policy and procedure training) must be provided to CIT staff who regularly handle complaints.

3.1.4     Visibility - The existence of a complaints handling system and its purpose and the method of accessing it, must be publicised in a way that people with complaints are encouraged to make their complaint known to CIT.

3.1.5     Access - The CIT complaint handling procedure must provide:

  1. Information on how when and where and to whom to make a complaint, being readily accessible to everyone.
  2. Information about the process being prominently displayed and circulated both online and physically at CIT facilities.
  3. Information describing an uncomplicated process in plain English and other community languages, and in large print.
  4. Methods of making complaints which are flexible to meet the needs of all people, ensuring the process of submitting complaints is not limited to one form of communication.
  5. Simple and accessible arrangements for lodging complaints.
  6. Reasonable special arrangements must be made for people with disabilities or specific needs,

3.1.6     Assistance - must be available by way of an explanatory brochure, publicity, telephone advice, direct communication, interview or correspondence.

3.1.7     Responsiveness - CIT complaints handling procedures establish target time limits which are reasonable for all stages of the complaints handling process and compliant with legislative requirements. CIT will commence assessment and provide acknowledge receipt of a complaint to the complainant within 10 days. A complainant must be advised how long it will take to deal with a complaint in accordance with the target time limits for action. Complainants must be kept informed of progress by telephone, written correspondence or face to face interview.

3.1.8     Charges - the CIT complaints handling process is usually provided free of charge (subject to any legislative or regulatory requirements).

3.1.9     Remedies - CIT must develop appropriate arrangements for providing remedies which reflect what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances, legal and regulatory obligations and industry practice. Such arrangements include:

  1. Refunds
  2. Replacement
  3. Repair
  4. Substitutes
  5. Technical assistance
  6. Information
  7. Referral to independent or external bodies
  8. Financial assistance
  9. Other assistance
  10. Compensation
  11. Apology

3.1.10     Data Collection - CIT must have a recording and management system to monitor the progress of complaints and to identify repetitive complaints. These types of complaints often indicate a fault in CIT services and/or CIT the policy and procedures.

Issues to be considered include:

  1. Nature of complaint
  2. Services which complaints are made
  3. Practices about which complaints are made
  4. Response time
  5. Demographic (people, service, college, department etc)
  6. Referral source
  7. Staff resources analysis
  8. Action taken (includes remedies/determinations/results)
  9. Trend analysis.

3.1.11     Lodging, receipt and recording complaints - consistent with the policy principle of promoting and enabling complaints to be made to CIT, any complaints made to CIT may be made in writing by the complainant or their representative or advocate. All complaints are required to be recorded as per the Student and Community Members Complaints Procedure.

The CIT Form to be used to make and lodge a written complaint is available at CIT Complaints Form (PDF 108Kb).
All Complaint Forms are to be sent to:

3.1.12     Systemic and Recurring Problems - by analysing and evaluating data CIT must determine the causes of complaints and whether remedial action is warranted. Aggregated data highlighting systematic complaints will be used to:

  1. Redesign services
  2. Change policies and procedures
  3. Retrain staff on services
  4. Re-assess peoples’ information needs
  5. Assess the performance of support arrangements
  6. Obtain early warning about potential service deficiencies.

3.1.13     Accountability - CIT must establish and promote a culture of accountability which includes:

  1. Each staff member accepting responsibility for effective complaints handing
  2. Complaints Policy and Procedures that detail complaints handling:

- performance criteria

- monitoring and evaluation against performance criteria

- management reports on complaints handling performance

- a proactive approach to people and staff feedback

- regular independent auditing of the complaints handling process.

3.1.14     Reviews - The CIT complaint handling process must be reviewed regularly. The actual depth and frequency of non-routine reviews will be informed by audit findings and risk events.

3.1.15 Reporting - The Audit, Risk and Corporate Governance team will assess complaints to identify, manage and periodically report systemic issues inherent in CIT's overall operations and services to the CIT Executive Management Committee (EMC) quarterly with a copy provided to the CIT Academic Council and CIT Board every 6 months. This reporting must include but not be limited to:

- Nature of complaints

- Services which complaints are made

- Practices about which complaints are made

- Response time

- Demographic (people, service, college, department etc)

- Referral source

- Staff resources analysis

- Action taken (includes remedies/determinations/results)

4. Documentation

  • Academic Appeals Policy
  • Resolving Workplace Issues Policy
  • Student and Community Members Complaints Procedure
  • Standards For Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
  • Australian Standard - Complaints Handling AS 4269-1995
  • Guidelines for complaint management on organisations (ISO 10002:2018, NEQ)
  • National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018
  • International Students on Students Visas compliance with ESOS Act Policy

5. Definitions

Community Member - a member of the public and/or an individual who is not a CIT student but has an interest in or is affected by CIT operations, educational products or services.

Complaint - any expression of dissatisfaction made by a student or their representative or advocate with an educational product or service offered or provided by CIT.

Complainant - student (including their representative or advocate) or member of the public who is interested in or affected by CIT operations, educational products or services who makes a complaint to CIT.

Front line staff - all CIT staff who come into contact directly with CIT students of members or the community. The term ‘front line staff’ includes but is not limited to education and student support staff.

Quality - the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

Systemic problem - is caused by failures in the product or service design, delivery systems or CIT’s governance arrangements, such as policies and procedures.

6. Policy Contact Officer

CIT Manager Governance on (02) 6207 0751.

Contact CIT Student Services on (02) 6207 3188 or email for further information.

7. Procedures

This policy is implemented through the Student and Community Members Complaint Procedures. Authority to make changes to the procedures rests with the policy owner.