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AIM Policy: Complaints

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide AIM students and staff clear information about AIM’s position in relation to our approach to the management of complaints and appeals from AIM students and other interested parties regarding courses and learning experience.

Scope

The policy applies to prospective AIM students, previous AIM students and AIM students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses with AIM. It also includes other interested parties who may interact with AIM in conducting its business. The policy encompasses matters related to (but not limited to) academic matters such as student progress and non-academic matters such as facilities or procedures. This policy does not include assessment appeals (this is covered in the AIM Assessment Policy).

Principles

  • AIM complies with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 including the clauses related to complaints and appeals (clauses 6.1 to 6.5).
  • AIM complies with all relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation and regulatory requirements relevant to its operations including (but not limited to) privacy, consumer affairs and fair trading.
  • AIM accepts that complaints may arise as part of operating a successful business operation and is committed to managing complaints effectively and utilising data obtained to contribute to the continuous improvement of its operations.
  • AIM is committed to principles of access, equity, fairness and ethical behaviour.
  • The rules or principles of natural justice, also known as procedural fairness, will be considered in complaint handling at AIM.

Definitions

Informal complaint

The assertion of an issue or grievance in an informal way i.e. speaking with a staff member.

Formal complaint

The assertion of a grievance in a formal way i.e. it is documented. A complainant submits a grievance in writing to AIM either using the defined complaint form or other format that clearly identifies the matter as a complaint.

Complaint appeal

When a complainant is unsatisfied by the resolution of their complaint they may formally request to have the decision reviewed by lodging a complaint appeal in writing to AIM.

Complainant

The student or prospective student lodging the complaint.

Independent review (also known as external review)

Where a complainant has exhausted the internal complaint process and is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint appeal they may apply for an external review (by an independent third party) to resolve the dispute.

 

Policy

  • Formal complaints will be acknowledged as being received by AIM within five business days of receipt.
  • A complaint investigation will be concluded with an outcome that specifically addresses the complaint within 21 business days of AIM receiving the complaint.
  • If a complaint is not satisfied with AIM’s decision regarding their complaint, the student must apply to AIM within 28 days requesting a review of that decision.
  • A complaint appeal will be completed within 21 business days of the appeal being received in writing by AIM.
  • Following the internal review (complaint appeal), if the complainant is still not satisfied with the decision, the complaint has 28 days from the date of that reviewed decision by AIM to apply to the Administration Appeals Tribunal (AAT) requesting an independent review of the decision. Information regarding this process is available from the AAT website www.aat.gov.au.
  • Sensitivity to the feelings and perspectives of all involved are respected throughout the process
  • Fairness and impartiality must be afforded to all parties involved. Where required, an external investigator may be contracted to undertake an investigation.
  • The complainant and respondent will not be victimised or discriminated against at any stage.
  • Privacy will be respected with only parties directly involved in the investigation of the complaint making decisions about outcomes having access to information.
  • The complainant or complaint respondent has the right to be represented by a third person (such as a family member, friend, counsellor or other professional support person) at any stage throughout this process.
  • All internal stages of the complaint process can be accessed without any financial expense to the complainant. In the event of the use of a third party or external appeals, any costs will be determined by the third party.
  • AIM is committed to:
    • ensuring students that request to withdrawal from a course and/or receive refunds are not victimised or discriminated against
    • considering course withdrawal and refund requests in a consistent, transparent, objective and unbiased manner
    • making all details of the AIM’s complaint policy publicly available
    • informing students of the policy pre-enrolment and advising students to read it at the commencement of a course
    • providing reasons in writing for decisions and actions taken as part of the complaint handling process
    • keeping appropriate records of complaints and appeals, and ensuring records are treated as confidential.

Contacting AIM for informal complaints

For informal complaints AIM can be contacted either by speaking directly with an AIM representative in person, by phone on 1300 761 700 or via email at studentsupport@aim.com.au.

Contacting AIM for formal complaints, appeals or external review

For formal complaints, appeals or external reviews AIM can be contacted via email at complaints.aim@aim.com.au or if preferred via mail at:

The Complaints Officer
AIM
PO Box R515
Royal Exchange NSW 1225

Complaint handling at AIM

Stage 1: Notification

Where the complainant raises an informal complaint directly with an AIM representative (employee or contractor), it is expected that the AIM representative will make every effort (within their role jurisdiction) to resolve the issue directly and in a timely manner.

Generally, issues of concern are resolved with open dialogue at this stage. Where the complainant is satisfied at this stage, the appropriate steps will be taken to implement the action that will produce the agreed outcome.

Where the matter cannot be resolved at this stage, or where the matter concerned is beyond the jurisdiction of the AIM representative it is appropriate for the complaint to be escalated.

Stage 2: Written notification and internal review

The complainant is encouraged to put their complaint in writing using either the defined complaint form (available on the AIM website) or other format that clearly identifies the matter as a complaint.

Upon receipt of the form or other format in writing, an AIM representative (an employee or contractor) will confirm receipt of the complaint to the complainant (within 5 business days) and commence the resolution process by consulting with the relevant internal department manager.

The internal department manager will commence an investigation of the matter and identify the expected outcome of the complainant. The investigation will conclude with an outcome that specifically addresses the complaint within 21 business days of AIM receiving the complaint.

Where a complaint involves allegations about another person, AIM is obliged to inform this person about this allegation and provide them the opportunity to respond to the issues raised. This may be achieved through direct meetings or meeting via an electronic means. AIM must maintain a detailed record of these meetings in the form of a record of conversation. At all times information will be handled sensitively and treated in confidence. Persons involved in a complaint should be reminded to treat each other with respect and conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner.

If the complainant is satisfied with the outcome, appropriate steps will be taken to implement that outcome. Depending on the type of action to be taken, the outcome will be completed to the complainant’s and AIM’s satisfaction within five business days of the outcome being determined or as agreed to between both parties.

A written statement documenting the outcome of the complaint including the details of the reasons for the outcome will be provided to the complainant and retained by AIM for period of at least five years.

Stage 3: Escalated internal review (complaint appeal)

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the proposed outcome of their complaint, they have the right, in the first instance, to appeal the original decision. This appeal should contain further supporting information or outline information not previously considered in the initial complaint. The appeal should be emailed to AIM (or via mail if preferred) and clearly indicated as an appeal of the original decision.

The Director, Student Experience will review the evidence provided and determine the outcome of the reviewed decision. This will be completed within 21 business days of the appeal being received in writing by AIM, and the written response will be emailed to the complainant.

Stage 4: External review (external dispute resolution)

If the matter remains unresolved after being addressed by both the appropriate Manager and the Director, Student Experience, the complainant may request that the matter be dealt with through an external dispute resolution process. This stage of the process will be dealt within a reasonable timeframe depending on all parties, in most cases within 21 business days. There may be nominal cost to the complainant for this service depending on their choice of third party.

The Director, Student Experience will provide the complainant with information about the referral of the matter to an external agency for resolution.

Upon resolution, appropriate steps will be taken to implement the decided outcome. Depending on the type of action to be taken, the outcome will be completed to the complainants and AIM’s satisfaction within five business days of the resolution being determined or as agreed to between both parties.

A written statement documenting the outcome of the complaint, including the details of the reasons for the outcome will be provided to the complainant and kept on record by AIM for a period of at least five years.

The Director, Student Experience will provide the complainant with information about the referral of the matter to external agencies such as (but not limited to):

Queensland Ombudsman
Level 17, 53 Albert Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
GPO Box 3314, Brisbane QLD 4001
07 3005 7000
1800 068 908

NSW Ombudsman
Level 24, 580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9286 1000
1800 451 524

Victorian Ombudsman
Level 1 North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
DX210174 Melbourne
03 9613 6222
1800 806 314 (Regional)

Ombudsman SA
Level 5 East Wing
50 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Telephone: (08) 8226 8699
1800 182 150 (outside metro SA only)

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