LI is committed to providing an effective grievance management system which prioritises the welfare of those involved. LI ensures:
- transparent, ethical, and timely processes for addressing grievances and appeals to which the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness are applied, regardless of the campus, delivery mode, or potential mode of study;
- equality and fairness to all parties, without prejudicial treatment;
- confidentiality for all parties involved;
- records of all grievances and appeals are kept in LI’s formal record keeping system for at least five years, and the parties involved are allowed appropriate access to those records;
- the right of all parties to have a support person present during meetings;
- adherence to current legal requirements;
- independent review of a decision determined in response to a grievance;
- that there is no fee for grievance processes;
- the grievant will not suffer any reprisal as a result of lodging a grievance or appeal;
- the grievant may seek confidential, independent professional advice at any stage of a grievance;
- the grievant may ask for assistance in the form of a translator/ interpreter at any time during the process;
- the grievant may continue their studies as usual during the process, except in circumstances where their health or safety is potentially at risk or if they pose a health or safety risk to others;
- the grievant is kept informed of the progress and outcome decisions of their grievance or appeal;
- the grievant has the right to refer their grievance or appeal to an external agency.
Academic grievances and appeals may include matters relating to:
- academic misconduct;
- assessments (including assignments, tests, and exams);
- content and delivery of courses or units;
- advanced standing, cross credit, or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL);
- selection and admission into a course;
- special consideration;
- academic progress.
Administrative grievances and appeals may include matters relating to:
- cancellation of enrolment;
- critical incidents;
- fee payment and refunds;
- bullying, discrimination, harassment, or vilification;
- health and wellbeing;
- misconduct (other than academic misconduct);
- personal information;
- withdrawal without penalty.
- Academic decision or action: a decision/action made by an LI staff member that is directly related to the academic progress of a student or prospective student. This may include but is not restricted to: an issue arising from application into or progression in a course; academic supervision; academic freedom; ethical practice; professional experience performance; quality of assessment feedback; or course workload.
- Appeal: an application made by a student or prospective student to have a decision reviewed where that decision relates to a matter affecting an experience at LI.
- Appellant: a student or prospective student who appeals a decision related to a grievance.
- Authorised Officer: A relevant LI staff member with authority who may be approached at any time in relation to the policy, process, and implications of making a grievance or appeal. This may include, but is not limited to, an Administrative Officer, Campus Manager, Program Director, or Registrar.
- Grievance:an expression of dissatisfaction by a student or prospective student with LI (including with agents or other related parties who represent or act on behalf of LI).
- Grievant:a student or prospective student who lodges a grievance.
- Natural justice principles: broadly summarised as follows:
- All parties to the matter(s) in dispute, including respondent(s) shall have a right to be heard before a decision is made, including the right to respond to any statements or evidence that may prejudice their case.
- All relevant submissions, information, and evidence to be considered by the decision maker should be disclosed, where requested, to all parties to the grievance prior to the hearing. Matters that are not relevant shall not be considered by the decision maker.
- The decision maker/s shall not be biased or appear to be biased (by a reasonable and informed bystander) nor have a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter being considered.
- In addition to these principles of natural justice, there should be no undue delay in responding to grievances or appeals and all parties to such matters under this policy shall have the right to a representative of their choice, other than a currently practising solicitor or barrister (except in extraordinary circumstances at a hearing with the prior leave of the Chair of the Grievance Appeals Panel).
- Non-academic decision or action: a decision/action made by an LI staff member that is not directly related to the academic assessment or progress of a student or prospective student. It may include but is not limited to: customer service and administration; marketing and information; facilities; fees/finance related matters; or health and wellbeing.
- Vexatious complaint: grievances which are considered without merit, malicious, or already resolved.
GRIEVANCE APPEALS PANEL
- The Chair of the Grievances Appeals Panel is appointed by the President.
- Membership includes:
- Director of Administration, Marketing, and Recruitment;
- at least one academic staff member (not associated with the grievance/appeal);
- at least one administrative staff member (not associated with the grievance/appeal);
- a nominee from the Leaders Institute Student Association, who cannot act as an advocate for the student or prospective student.
- The Panel will meet on an as needs basis.
- Any conflict of interest must be declared, and that panel member must withdraw from the appeal hearing.
- These procedures apply to all students and prospective students of LI who wish to lodge a grievance or request a review of an academic or administrative decision relevant to LI.
- A student or prospective student is entitled to continue their enrolment or application while an internal review or appeal process is ongoing. However, the student or prospective student is not entitled to enrol in units which are the subject of or consequential to the decision under review and cannot withdraw from a unit with ‘special circumstances’ while the internal review or appeal process is ongoing if this unit is the subject of the decision under review or appeal.
- Where a grievant remains dissatisfied with the decision, they are entitled to continue to the next step in the procedures only if new or additional information is provided to support the case. It is not sufficient to simply disagree with the decision.
- Any student or prospective student who provides false or misleading information will have their grievance/appeal application deemed invalid and may be dealt with in accord with the Academic Integrity Policy.
- Any student or prospective student who makes a vexatious complaint may be dealt with under the Code of Conduct Policy.
- The right to lodge grievances or seek appeals of decisions and action under various processes does not affect the rights of the student or potential student to take action under the Australian Consumer Law if the Australian Consumer Law applies. A grievant may choose to have their grievance reviewed by an external grievance handling process. In this situation, LI will not continue further consideration of matters where the process options have been exhausted or where the grievant has taken their grievance to an external agency.
The procedure for the notification and resolution of a grievance related to sexual misconduct is outlined in the Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response Policy.
For overseas students studying in Australia where the grievance relates to them being excluded from a course due to not completing their course in the required time frame, not achieving satisfactory attendance, or not making satisfactory course progress, the student will be notified in writing that they will be reported to the Department of Home Affairs and this may result in their student visa being cancelled. The student will be informed that they have 20 working days to access the appeals process.
FORMAL GRIEVANCE/APPEALS PROCESS
In lodging a grievance or applying for a review and/or appeal of a decision, the student or prospective student is expected to follow the process below.
1. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
- A student or prospective student who has a grievance should, where possible, discuss this with the LI staff member responsible for the academic or non-academic decision or action. The LI staff member will deal with the issue promptly and, where possible provide the person with a full explanation in writing of reasons for the decision or action with a view to avoiding an escalation of the grievance.
- If there is a conflict of interest, the staff member should refer the complainant to their supervisor.
- Most grievances should be resolved informally.
- LODGEMENT OF GRIEVANCE/APPEAL FORM
- If a grievance cannot be resolved informally, the grievant may submit a Grievance Form with the relevant Authorised Officer (usually the supervisor of the staff member involved in the grievance).
- The grievant must provide the following:
o nature of the grievance;
o what actions they have taken to resolve the matter to date;
o evidence to support their claim;
o outcomes they are seeking.
- The grievant is issued with an acknowledgement of receipt of the grievance and advised of the timeframe for review of the grievance matter within five working days.
Any grievance which is anonymous and may allege or involve abuse of a minor or is a protected disclosure of alleged corruption or wrongful conduct in the context of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) is reported immediately to the President (or other suitable Authorised Officer, where relevant).
- INVESTIGATION AND DECISION
- The grievant is notified in writing of the outcome within 20 working days of lodgement of the original grievance and of their right to appeal the decision.
- The grievant is provided with a written statement, which includes a full explanation for the decision.
- The decision taken may include to:
o deem the grievance to be invalid.
o dismiss the matter on the grounds that the grievant has not presented sufficient evidence to justify the matter as a grievance.
o uphold the grievance and provide a decision based on the evidence, including any agreed actions.
- A report will be recorded by the Authorised Officer in the LI Register of Grievances/Appeals.
- If a grievant is dissatisfied with the internal grievance decision, they can submit a Grievance Appeal Form to appeal the decision.
- APPEAL OF DECISION
- Formal appeals are to be made to the Grievance Appeals Panel by lodging a Grievance Appeal Form.
- In lodging an appeal, the the appellant must specify in writing the grounds for appeal and attach copies of all documents relevant to the appeal.
- The appellant is expected to provide genuine reasons and any additional factual evidence in support of an appeal of a decision. The Institute will not alter a decision merely on the grounds that the grievant disagrees with it. In applying for the review or appeal of a decision, the grievant bears the onus of proof and is responsible for establishing that the decision in the first instance was an unreasonable one.
- The appeal of decision matter is then dealt with by the Grievance Appeals Panel as soon as practicably possible.
- GRIEVANCE APPEALS PANEL
- The Chair of the Grievance Appeals Panel will convene the Panel to discuss the matter within five working days of receiving the appeal, ensuring that members of the panel are not those who have previously dealt with the grievance, and are experienced in the area of concern.
- The appellant is provided an opportunity to formally present their case to the Panel and bring a support person to the Panel hearing.
- The decision of the Panel is the final internal decision and a formal report will be prepared within five working days after the Panel meeting.
- The Panel may take any of the following actions:
o deem the appeal to be invalid.
o dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the decision taken was right and proper, and/or the appellant has not presented sufficient evidence to justify further consideration of the appeal; and in so doing affirm the decision in its original form.
o uphold the appeal after establishing that there is sufficient evidence to support the finding that the decision taken was unreasonable.
- Where an appeal has been rejected by the Panel on the grounds of it being found to be invalid or lacking in sufficient evidence to justify further consideration, there is no further internal avenue for the appellant to appeal.
- NOTICE OF FINAL DECISION
- The Panel Chair provides written notice of the decision to the appellant, including a statement of reasons for making the decision, as well as notifying them of their right to lodge an external appeal if they are unsatisfied with the decision.
- The Chair of the Grievance Appeals Panel will also detail if any corrective or preventative actions are to be taken by the Institute because of the decision.
The appellant may not be satisfied with the outcome of the internal appeal process and is entitled to proceed to an external authority. For an external review to be approved, an appellant must have exhausted the internal grievances procedures outlined in this policy. LI subscribes to the following external mediator services at no cost to the appellant:
Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA)
Phone: (03) 9642 5212
The IHEA appointed external reviewer will make a decision and advise the relevant officer of LI/the appellant, and IHEA within 30 days, providing in writing the reasons and rationale for any decisions and/or actions to be taken. The relevant LI officer will ensure that recommendations of the IHEA appointed external reviewer are implemented within 20 working days. Decisions of the appointed reviewer shall be final and binding on all parties.
Nominations Services Officer
Resolution Institute, Level 2, 13-15 Bridge Street, Sydney 2000
There is no cost for the appellant to access external mediation from the nominated services listed above.
International students or prospective international students who wish to lodge an external appeal can contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman. This service is free. See Overseas Students Ombudsman for more information.
All documentation relating to grievances or appeals will be kept confidential and will be disclosed only to those persons who have a right to the information by virtue of their role in the review or appeal process, or as required by law.