Complaints & Appeals Policy & Procedure
Elwood St Kilda Neighbourhood Learning Centre (ESNLC) is committed to handling and resolving complaints in a confidential, fair and timely manner. Feedback in all forms is embraced as valuable insight and understanding that can help guide ESNLC’s continuous development and growth.
ESNLC is committed to providing an environment that is in keeping with its core values. This includes making sure that people feel safe, valued and respected and that the culture encourages openness and respects diversity.
The purpose of this policy is to provide complainants a clear process to follow to register a complaint and/or appeal. It ensures that all parties involved are kept informed of the resulting actions and outcomes throughout the resolution process.
This policy applies to all staff, contractors, Committee of Management (CoM), volunteers, members, clients & visitors.
If a volunteer, member, client or visitor (herein referred to as complainant) has a complaint that they wish to raise with ESNLC they are encouraged to do so through the Complaints & Appeals procedure and are also encouraged to appeal any ESNLC decision, if they feel they have grounds, via the Appeals process.
- A complaint may be lodged as an informal or formal complaint.
- ENSLC employs a procedure for informal / formal complaints and internal appeals.
- All complaints and appeals lodged will be used for continuous improvement purposes.
- The ESNLC Manager is responsible for implementing this policy and reviewing its effectiveness and compliance with regulatory guidelines.
- The following procedure outlines how complaints and appeals will be processed
This policy in no way affects the complainants right to access consumer affairs legislation and legal representation.
COMPLAINTS & APPEALS PROCEDURE
Informal Complaints Process
Complainants are encouraged to approach any employee of ESNLC and make an informal complaint about any issue relating to ESNLC products and services.
Where possible, ESNLC employees may utilise advice, discussions and general mediation in relation to the issue / complaint. ESNLC employees should try and resolve the issue informally.
ESNLC employees can be involved in this informal process to resolve issues. If they feel they cannot, or it is not appropriate for them to try and resolve the complaint / issue they should refer the complainant to the ESNLC Manager.
ESNLC employees may ask the complainant to come back at an arranged time if further investigation is required.
The outcome of the investigation should be communicated to the complainant within an agreed timeframe.
If the complaint is against the ESNLC Manager, another member of staff should in the first instance be approached to deal with the complaint.
Complainants who are not satisfied with the outcome of the informal process should be encouraged to lodge a formal complaint via the Formal Complaints Process outlined below.
All ESNLC employees must record informal complaints and outcomes in the Complaints & Appeals Register for continuous improvement purposes.
Formal Complaints Process
The complainant will incur no cost to themselves during the complaints and appeals process unless they seek external representation.
The complainant should lodge formal complaints using the Complaints & Appeals Form available on the ESNLC website (with assistance from ESNLC employees if required).
Complaints & Appeals Forms are to be submitted to:
ESNLC Manager, 87 Tennyson Street, Elwood, 3184 or by email to [email protected]
In the instance of a complaint being against the ESNLC Manager, the Complaints & Appeals Form should be lodged with the Chairperson of the CoM via email to [email protected]
ESNLC will process the complaint/appeal within 10 working days of lodgement.
ESNLC seeks to resolve complaints to the complainant’s satisfaction through ensuring they have the opportunity to present their case and careful consideration of the evidence. A fair open minded approach along with negotiation and mediation is employed to achieve results.
The ESNLC Manager will investigate the complaint and liaise with appropriate staff if necessary to ensure all the facts are considered prior to making any decision.
The ESNLC Manager may delegate the handling of the complaint to an appropriate staff member if appropriate.
The ESNLC Manager may arrange a meeting with the client during the investigation process if appropriate.
The complainant has the right to seek advice from, and be represented by, external parties at any time during the complaints and appeals process. The cost of this will be borne by the complainant.
The ESNLC Manager will notify the complainant in writing of ESNLC’s decision within 3 working days of the decision being made.
The complainant are also notified of their right to appeal any decision within 20 working days if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the process.
All formal complaints and outcomes are to be recorded in the Complaints & Appeals Register.
If a complaint is substantiated through this process the ESNLC Manager will take immediate corrective action.
All relevant documentation relating to the complaint must be stored in the complainants file.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with ESNLC’s decision regarding the complaint, they have the right to appeal the decision via ESNLC’s Appeals Process outlined below.
Internal Appeals Process
If the complainant is not satisfied with ESNLC decisions, they may ask ESNLC to reconsider the decision by lodging an appeal.
Appeals may be made in relation to the following areas:
- The outcome of a formal complaint, or
- The outcome of action being brought against the complainant for breaching the code of conduct.
The complainant must have reasonable grounds for an appeal and include all supporting evidence with the Complaints & Appeals Form.
The appeals process will commence within 10 working days of lodgement. The ESNLC Manager (or delegate) can assist clients with completing the Complaints & Appeal Form.
The ESNLC Manager is not able to assist the complainant in establishing if they have reasonable grounds for an appeal.
The complainant must lodge an appeal within 20 working days of being notified by ESNLC of any decision they wish to appeal.
The complainant may be accompanied by a representative at any meetings during the appeals process, at their own expense.
On receiving a Complaints & Appeals Form ESNLC will arrange a time and venue for a meeting to take place and inform the complainant in writing.
The meeting shall be attended by the complainant and representative (if requested), ESNLC Manager, and one other appropriate employee or CoM member.
During the meeting, the complainant has the opportunity to present their evidence and the ESNLC will make a decision based on all evidence supplied to date.
At the completion of the internal appeals meeting a written statement of the outcome including reasons and details for the decision will be discussed with the complainant and signed by the complainant and the ESNLC Manager.
The outcome will be in favour either of ESNLC or the complainant.
If the outcome is in favour of the complainant, the ESNLC Manager will immediately commence corrective action.
The complainant will be sent written notification of the outcome within two working days of the meeting taking place. This will include the outcome including reasons for the decision.
The Complaints & Appeals Register will be updated.
All evidence will be placed in the complainant’s file.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal appeals process, they may access the external appeals process. Details on how to activate this process are contained in the External Appeals Process outlined below.
External Appeals Process
If the complainant is unsatisfied with the outcome of their internal appeal, they may make a written request to ESNLC that they wish the matter to be dealt with through an external mediation service.
Contact with a mediator should be initiated by the complainant in all cases.
Each complaint, appeal and its outcome will be recorded in writing and each party to the complaint will be given a written statement of the appeal outcomes, including reasons for the decision.
The Complaints & Appeals Register will be updated to record the outcome.