Student complaints procedure

Procedure

Intent

To manage student complaints effectively and efficiently, and to use feedback to improve practice.

Scope

This procedure applies to:

  • Current and prospective RMIT students, or groups of students; and
  • Former RMIT students up until twelve months following:
  • Withdrawal;
  • Failure to re-enrol;
  • Expired Leave of Absence period;
  • Submission of thesis
  • Completion; or
  • Exclusion

from/in any RMIT program or course of study.

Exclusions

This procedure does not apply to:

  • Determinations relating to:
    • A final grade or assessment result
    • An adjustment to assessment (including special consideration, equitable assessment arrangements and future assessment adjustment
    • Exclusion or termination of candidature
    • Credit
    • Decisions of a Course or Program Assessment Board, College and University Appeals or Research Committee

Procedure steps and actions

Stage 1: Complaint received by Staff Member at local level

Procedure

Responsibility

Timeline

a) Acknowledge complaint to student. Ensure that the student is directed to make the complaint to the area responsible for the issues associated with the complaint. Off-Shore and off campus Students Where a complaint is made by an off-shore student or an off campus student, a modified procedure will be used which reflects the intent of the Student Complaints policy while taking into account the different circumstances. The modified procedure will take all reasonable steps not to disadvantage such students in the investigation and resolution of their complaint.

Complaints involving an education partner institution will involve representatives of the institution in the resolution process.

Staff member who receives complaint.

Within 5 working days.

b) Evaluate risk level. High-risk complaints must be elevated to the University’s manager of student complaints in the Academic Registrar’s Office; high risk complaints are not normally dealt with at the local level.

c) Investigate complaint (refer to Guidelines for staff to resolving Student Complaints). Ensure the student is kept up to date.

d) Provide notification of outcome to student.

NB: Notification may be in the manner in which the complaint was submitted, i.e. verbal, if the initial complaint was verbal; however records must be retained of the complaint details and outcome.

e) If the outcome is not accepted by the complainant, advise them of the opportunity to seek a review by the Academic Portfolio Student Complaints Liaison Officer (SCLO) or University Service Group.

Staff member who receives complaint.

Dependent on the case but in timely manner.

f) Provide information on written complaint details and outcomes to Academic Portfolio Student Complaints Liaison Officer (SCLO) or University Level Service Group.

Staff member who receives complaint.

Dependent on the case but in timely manner.

g) Record information about written complaint details and outcome in Academic Portfolio complaint records.

Academic Portfolio SCLO or University Service Group

Dependent on the case but in timely manner.


Stage 2: Complaint received by supervisor or academic portfolio or university level service group

Procedure

Responsibility

Timeline

a) Acknowledge complaint in writing.

Supervisor or Academic Portfolio / SCLO or University Service Group

Within 5 working days.

b) Evaluate risk level. High-risk complaints must be elevated to the University’s manager of student complaints in the Academic Registrar’s Office; high risk complaints are not dealt with at the local level.

c) Investigate complaint. Ensure the student is kept up to date.

d) Provide notification of outcome to student.

NB: Notification may be in the manner in which the complaint was submitted, i.e. verbal, if the initial complaint was verbal; however records must be retained of the complaint details and outcome.

e) If the outcome is not accepted by the complainant, advise them of the opportunity to seek a further review by the University complaints area in the Academic Registrar’s Office.

Supervisor or Academic Portfolio SCLO or University Service Group

Dependent on the case but in timely manner.

f) Record information about complaint details and outcome in Academic Portfolio or University Service Group complaint records.

Academic Portfolio SCLO or University Service Group

Dependent on the case but in timely manner.


Stage 3: Complaint received by Academic Registrar’s Group

Procedure

Responsibility

Timeline

a) Acknowledge complaint.

Case Manager

Within 5 working days.

b) Investigate complaint and take one of the following actions:

Case Manager

Commence investigation immediately the complaint has been acknowledged.

  • transfer responsibility for dealing with complaint to local level if the complaint has not been considered at the local level and it is appropriate for the complaint to be handled locally, or

Case Manager

  • make a determination on practice / process consistent with policy principles; or

Academic Registrar or nominee

  • call a hearing of the Student Complaints Committee (refer “Guidelines for the conduct of Student Complaints Committees)

Academic Registrar

c) Notify the student in writing of the outcome of the investigation undertaken.

If the outcome is not accepted by the complainant, advise them of other internal independent (RMIT Ombuds) and external mechanisms available. This advice will include the following information:

“Should you believe that this decision has been reached by a misapplication of RMIT University policies or procedures you may request that the RMIT Ombuds review your complaint. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome reached by the RMIT Ombuds, you can lodge a complaint with the Victorian Ombudsman at www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

Academic Registrar or nominee

Within 20 working days.

Should a complex complaint not be resolved within 20 working days a formal written progress report will be provided to the complainant within this timeframe

d) Record information about complaint details and outcome in the University complaint records.

Academic Registrar or nominee

Academic Registrar or nominee

Within 5 working days of the complaint outcome advice.

Implementation of Corrective Action

a) Any decision, corrective and/or preventative action recommended in order to resolve a complaint whether arising from internal or external review shall be implemented at the earliest opportunity.

Staff member/ supervisor

Head of School

At the earliest opportunity.

b) It is recognised that some complaints may arise from more complex, systemic issues which will be addressed through process improvement.

Academic Portfolio / Student Complaints Liaison Officer (SCLO) or University Service Group

Academic Registrar/nominee

Process Improvement

a) Involve key stakeholders in root cause analysis of the issue identified by the complaint.

Staff in the Academic Registrar’s Office who have responsibility for complaints investigation and management together with Student Complaint Liaison Officers in Portfolios and other staff as appropriate.

Twice yearly

b) Develop improvement plan to address policy and process issues identified by the root cause analysis.

Staff in the Academic Registrar’s Office who have responsibility for complaints investigation and management together with Student Complaint Liaison Officers in Portfolios and other staff as appropriate.

Twice yearly

c) Implement and monitor improvement plan.

Staff in the Academic Registrar’s Office who have responsibility for complaints investigation and management together with Student Complaint Liaison Officers in Portfolios and other staff as appropriate.

Twice yearly


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