Fri, 31 Mar 2023
Student Grievance Complaints and Appeals Policy (Non-academic)
This policy reflects Metavision Institute’s commitment to providing fair processes for students and outlines the mechanisms for effectively resolving grievances and managing and resolving complaints and appeals received from prospective and enrolled students in its higher education courses.
This policy applies to non-academic grievances, complaints and appeals about Metavision Institute’s higher education operations received from prospective and enrolled students. Metavision Institute’s dispute resolution and complaint management processes do not prevent students’ right to pursue other legal remedies.
Non-academic complaint: a formal complaint from students about a non-academic decision, action or process relating to Metavision Institute’s higher education operations.
Formal complaint management: the steps taken in relation to complaints that have been formally lodged in writing with the Metavision Institute, that are of a serious nature or have been unable to be resolved informally.
Grievance: an informal concern or problem raised at an early stage by a student with the staff member involved.
Appeal: an appeal is a formal request from a student for review of a non-academic decision or action.
Procedural fairness: fair dealing in administrative decision making and processes which involves giving opportunities for complainants to make their case and for parties to the complaint to respond, and provide the right of appeal.
Relevant TEQSA Threshold Standards
This policy aligns with Sections 2.4 Student Grievances and Complaints, 6.2j Corporate Monitoring of formal complaints and allegations of misconduct, and 7.2 Information for Prospective and Current Students in the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015.
The policy is underpinned by the following principles:
- Metavision Institute supports the timely, sensitive and respectful resolution of grievances, complaints and appeals.
- Metavision Institute provides a procedurally fair process for raising and addressing grievances, complaints and appeals, with regard to their seriousness and import.
- The principles of procedural fairness and natural justice underpin the implementation of this policy, which require:
- the right to be heard,
- the right to a professional response without bias or conflict of interest, and
- the right to decisions about complaints and appeals that are based on evidence.
- Grievances will be responded to via a collegial process of discussion, with the aim of reaching satisfactory outcomes for students that address their concerns and maintain ongoing teaching and learning relationships.
- All parties to complaints and appeals will receive appropriate information, support and assistance in responding to and resolving the complaint. Parties have the right to be accompanied to any formal meetings by a support person if desired.
- Students who raise a complaint or appeal are not to be victimised, discriminated against, disadvantaged or subjected to reprisal in any form.
- All complaints and appeals under this policy are dealt with free of charge to students or prospective students.
- Metavision Institute will accept complaints and appeals made by students as a collective group when each of the complainants are identified, has a specific complaint, and has agreed to be part of the collective complaint. The complaint or appeal will be managed and responded to jointly. Confidentiality of individual students may be affected in Metavision Institute’s response to complaints and appeals made by a collective group.
1. There are three stages for raising a non-academic grievance or making a complaint or appeal to seek resolution (refer to Appendix one for flow chart of stages in the process).
Stage one: Informal resolution of grievances
Students are encouraged and supported to raise any non-academic grievances with staff members, guided by this policy. Concerns are often able to be resolved readily and quickly through collegial discussions between students and staff. Students are encouraged to state their concerns, what they think needs to change and any actions they are seeking.
However, if students are uncomfortable approaching staff members, or their grievance is of a serious nature, they are to seek support from another staff member to enable them to resolve their grievance, or progress to Stage two.
Stage two: Formal non-academic complaint and appeals management process
For serious non-academic complaints, or if Stage one did not bring about a resolution to the grievance, the next stage is a formal complaint. This stage is for serious matters that will be investigated by Metavision Institute, rather than a response to feedback and comments. A formal complaint is to be made on the Formal Complaints and Appeals Lodgement Form and submitted to the Executive Officer. The complaint is to include information on the nature of the complaint and the supporting evidence. In complaints involving the Executive Officer, a formal complaint is to be submitted to the Chair of the Governance Board.
Any parties to the complaint will be given written information on the nature of the complaint with five working days to respond.
The Executive Director (or the Chair of the Governance Board) will manage the complaint or assign the management or investigation of the complaint to their nominated delegate of similar seniority. Metavision Institute may still take action without a written complaint if it considers a student’s health, safety or wellbeing is in jeopardy or if Metavision Institute considers that serious misconduct may have occurred. In relation to formal complaints:
- Metavision Institute may commission external assistance to support investigation and/or resolution (for example, a qualified mediator on the Register of Nationally Accredited Mediators to conduct a mediation or conciliation).
- All parties are kept informed of the progress of the complaint, the reasons for any decisions and any action that will be implemented.
- Metavision Institute will formally respond in writing to the complainant with a decision and rationale within 15 working days.
- Any party may appeal an outcome and request an internal review to the Chair of the Governance Board on the Formal Complaints and Appeals Lodgement Form. This will be conducted by persons not involved in the original decision and could be referred to the Academic Director, or the Chair of the Governance Board, and will usually be conducted within 30 working days.
- Metavision Institute will keep a confidential record of the complaint, the complaint proceedings and any outcomes.
- A formal complaint may be withdrawn at any time, which will conclude the matter.
Stage three: External review
Any party to the complaint can request an external review of a complaint outcome. This request must be made in writing to the Chair of the Governance Board within 10 working days of notification of the complaint decision. Metavision Institute will arrange for the review to be carried out by an independent, external reviewer or qualified mediator on the Register of Nationally Accredited Mediators with no conflict of interest, appointed by Metavision Institute and approved by the Governance Board. An external reviewer or mediator is usually expected to return a report to Metavision Institute within 30 working days of being commissioned to undertake the review. All parties to the complaint will be notified of the outcome and Metavision Institute will implement the reviewer’s recommendations promptly.
2. Resolution of complaints
Depending upon the nature, severity and implications of the complaint, the outcomes may
- Providing more information on the reasons for a decision, i.e. explaining rules and policies,
- Correcting a mistake by altering a decision that Metavision Institute has made,
- Reviewing a policy,
- Retraining a staff member,
- Taking disciplinary action in relation to a staff member,
- Another action, or
- No action due to lack of evidence, minor nature of the complaint or lack of substance.
The complainant will be informed of the outcome in writing, including the reasons for the decision and any action taken, and further avenues for appeal where they exist and where the student could benefit. All parties to the complaint will be informed of the outcomes of complaint processes.
3. Support and referral pathways
Metavision Institute makes available information on how to access counselling and support services available for students in the Student Handbook and the Student Welfare and Disability Policy.
At any stage of the complaint management process, a student or prospective student can bring a support person or advocate (for example, Student Care and Welfare Services) to meetings. While Metavision Institute aims to resolve complaints internally wherever possible and appropriate to do so, complainants may seek the assistance of an external authority if they choose to do so.
4. Confidentiality and record management
All members of Metavision Institute’s community are to respect the confidentiality of complaint management process. The complaint management process and outcome will be stored securely in the student’s records and recorded in the Student Register.
5. Participation in enrolled units
Students who submit formal complaints and appeals will continue to participate in their enrolled units as usual. The only circumstances in which students would not continue to participate in enrolled units is if their health or safety is potentially at serious risk, or if they pose a health or safety risk to other students or staff members.
The Governance Board has responsibility for oversight of the implementation of this policy, and will review the incidence and nature of grievances and complaints to identify systemic problems that need to be addressed, and use complaints information to continuously improve Metavision Institute’s policies and operations.
The Academic Director is responsible for providing training on this policy to new academic teaching staff in the Induction, and providing information to new students on how to raise grievances and complaints at Orientation.
The Executive Officer is responsible for managing non-academic grievances, complaints and appeals within the framework of this policy. The Executive Officer will report to the Governance Board on the implementation of this policy and complaints management processes and outcomes, to inform continuous improvement of Metavision Institute’s policies and practices.
All staff have a responsibility to model professional behaviour and encourage open communication. Staff act in good faith to assist students to resolve grievances respectfully and informally. Staff members are to maintain confidentiality about complaints & appeals, and only discuss the complaint or appeal when there is a legitimate reason.
All staff and students are responsible for complying with this policy, and other Metavision Institute policies that promote the respectful and equitable treatment of others.
- Student Handbook
- Formal Complaints and Appeals Lodgement Form