Complaints and Appeals Process

Holmesglen is committed to providing high quality education and training. It endeavours to treat students fairly and respectfully. However we acknowledge that from time to time students may have concerns or feel the need to lodge a formal complaint. This process explains how students are to lodge a concern or grievance and the steps Holmesglen will take to resolve the matter.

This process relates to academic and non-academic matters and is available to all students and potential students enrolling at Holmesglen (non-academic matters only) undertaking any mode of study regardless of the location of the campus at which the grievance has arisen, the student's place of residence or mode in which they study.  There is no charge for the Holmesglen Grievance Resolution process.


Definitions

Concern

A concern is any initial issue or matter you wish to raise in relation to academic and non academic matters. A concern is when you informally contact us (eg verbally or by email) and we can deal with your concern quickly to the satisfaction of all concerned without requiring further action.

Grievance

A grievance is a written statement of complaint. A grievance may be initiated from a concern that has not been dealt with to your satisfaction and therefore requires further action. Academic grievances include matters that relate to your academic progress, assessment, curriculum issues and awards. Non academic grievances include general administrative issues, privacy matters and issues with non-academic policies or procedures.

Policy

It is Holmesglen policy to address and resolve issues amongst those directly concerned in the first instance. All issues are addressed in a timely manner and treated in the strictest confidence. All parties involved in the issue will be treated with respect and will not be victimised or discriminated against during the process for:

  • seeking review or reconsideration of a decision, or 
  • using Holmesglen's processes or procedures about dealing with grievances, or
  • making an application for re-crediting of FEE-HELP balances.

Holmesglen ensures its grievance procedure is communicated to staff and that they are trained in the application of this procedure during their induction. There is no charge for any stage of the grievance process.

You may wish to involve a third party representative to assist you. This person may accompany you to meetings set up to resolve the issue. This person may be a friend, family member or counsellor but not a legal representative.  All parties involved in the grievance (complainant and respondent) have the right to third party representation.

How to raise a concern

In the first instance raise your concern with the party involved. This needs to happen within 10 working days of the issue arising. If you do not feel comfortable with this you may discuss your issue with a counsellor in the Student Services Department. If your concern is about an assessment decision you should follow the procedure to request a re-mark or re-appraisal outlined on the Application for Re-mark or Re-appraisal Form.

How to raise a formal grievance

  • If your concern cannot be immediately addressed and resolved for all parties concerned you will be asked to write a letter outlining your complaint. This letter must be signed and dated. It is to be forwarded to your Faculty's Dean or the Manager of the area regarding your grievance. Complaints related to a breach of privacy should be forwarded to Holmesglen's Privacy Officer.
  • A letter acknowledging receipt of your letter will be sent within 10 working days. Depending on the nature of the grievance and the parties involved a resolution may also be included in this letter. If this is not possible, a timeline to provide a resolution will be included.
  • You may be required to attend meeting/s with other relevant people to arrive at an acceptable solution. You can be accompanied to these meeting/s by a third party representative.
  • All parties involved in the grievance (complainant and respondent) will receive written advice of the outcome, decision, the reasons for the decision, and/or actions to be taken as a result of the investigation and resolution process. You will also be notified how to appeal the proposed resolution.

Appeal proposed resolution

If you are not satisfied with the decision and suggested actions proposed by Holmesglen to resolve your grievance you must document your position to the Chief Executive within 10 working days of receiving the original advice/decision. You must include the following in your notice of appeal:

  • Your name, address and ID number
  • Brief details of the matter being appealed
  • An outline of the grounds of the appeal
  • A statement of whether or not you wish to appear and to be heard at the appeal hearing or provide a written submission or both
  • The name and address of any non-legal representative you wish to accompany you to the appeal

The Chief Executive or nominee will acknowledge receipt of your appeal notice within 7 days and advise you of the further action. The Chief Executive will determine if your appeal is valid and if you have been adversely affected by one or more of the following:

  • Failure of a Holmesglen staff member to act fairly, including bias shown in the interpretation of evidence by any individual or group within Holmesglen involved in making the original decision
  • Improper, irregular or negligent conduct by a Holmesglen staff member
  • Irregularity in the procedures used to reach a decision in a timely manner
  • A breach of any administrative or academic related conditions as specified in official Holmesglen documentation, including any course documentation
  • Application of penalties that are deemed too harsh or outside the delegations of the Institute Rule for Student Discipline

Your appeal shall be heard within a further 10 working days or by mutual arrangement. You will be given at least 5 working days written notice of the appeal hearing. You may select to conduct the appeal in person or in writing or both.

Your appeal will be heard by an independent senior officer, or an internal committee, or unit with appropriate expertise who is not involved in the original grievance resolution. If your appeal concerns an alleged breach of privacy, the appeal will be heard by the Privacy Committee.

The outcome of your appeal will be provided in writing within 5 working days of the hearing. It will include the decision of the appeal (upheld or dismissed), the reasons for the decision, action/s required by Holmesglen (if applicable), action/s required by you (if applicable) and the time frame for implementation of the action/s. You will also be notified how to have the decision reviewed.

Review of appeal decision If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you may seek a review with an independent reviewer from the following agencies:

  • Victorian Ombudsman

The Ombudsman looks into complaints about the actions and decisions of Victorian public bodies. The office provides a free, fair and independent service to people dissatisfied with the action or inaction of these bodies.

Complaints to the Ombudsman can be submitted in the following ways:

  1. Online – https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/Complaints/Make-a-Complaint
  2. Email – ombudvic@ombudsman.vic.gov.au
  3. Mail – Level 2, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne< VIC, 3000
  4. Phone (03) 9613 6222
  • Relevant Government Minister (VET only)
  • TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Australian Government, Study Assist.

If you seek a review of appeal decision from the TAFE Director's Australia, the initial application fee to be paid by the complainant would be approximately $200 and further charges relating to the grievance would be borne by Holmesglen.

The TAFE Directors Australia reviewer will endeavour to provide recommendations in relation to a grievance they have reviewed, to the Chief Executive of Holmesglen within 30 days. 

Each party to the review may involve a third party representative to accompany and assist at the review, at that party's cost. 

The independent reviewer will give written notice of the decision on review and the reasons for the decision to each party. The Chief Executive will consider the recommendations from these agencies and implement endorsed recommendations as required within 30 days. You will be advised of the outcome and the grievance will then be deemed resolved and closed.

Contact details for the TAFE Directors Australia:

Chief Executive Officer
TAFE Directors Australia
National Secretariat
PO Box 707
Broadway NSW 2007

Phone: 2 9217 3180
Fax: 2 9281 7335

Website:  www.tda.edu.au

All records relating to student grievances shall be deemed confidential and retained for a minimum of seven years.  During this time parties to the grievance are entitled to appropriate access to these records.