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Complaints Policy

Rationale

This policy describes the process for effectively managing complaints whilst protecting the rights of all parties involved and seeking resolution to the problem in the best interests of all affected.

Policy

Schools are required to develop and implement clear, fair and effective policy on the management of complaints.

A commitment to respond positively to critical feedback ensures that people have the opportunity to contribute to the continued improvement of the schools in the system. It is expected that all staff will demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that a culture of consultation and open dialogue is nurtured at every level, giving every member of the school community the opportunity to express dissatisfaction as well as satisfaction.

Complaints need to be addressed swiftly, openly and in a manner to increase levels of satisfaction and to maintain harmonious relations in the wider community. Staff should be encouraged to develop an open expectation of a cooperative and genuine effort to resolve any valid complaint.

Definitions

  • Complaint – an expression of dissatisfaction with the service provided, a decision made or the performance of staff
  • Complainant – a student, parent or community member making a complaint.

Foundation Principles For Complaints Handling

Inclusive – our school strives to be inclusive for all students, being respectful, supportive and equitable.

Procedural Fairness – is afforded to all parties in a dispute; that means they have a right to be treated impartially; duly considered; all relevant information taken into account; and careful judgement reached.

Due Diligence – our school has a duty of care to all of the students and staff, therefore prudent action must be taken in all cases and where required, confidentially guarded.

Restorative – the overriding principle of all our interactions is that we strive to restore relationships; holding parties accountable with the aim to repair the harm that has been done.

Procedures

Complaints which may involve reportable allegations (Child Protection complaints) must be resolved in accordance with Child Protection – ACT/NSW Policies.

  • Complainants are encouraged to put their complaint in writing.
  • Written complaints are to be acknowledged promptly in writing.
  • Complaints will be followed by an interview with the person designated as the first point of contact for addressing particular complaints – teacher, Assistant Principal or Principal. Further interviews may be required at a school level.
  • These meetings will be recorded on the Parent Interview or Student Interview form. These records are to be maintained in the Principal’s Files.
  • The person about whom the complaint is made must be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint.

Staff dealing with a complaint must protect the confidentiality and privacy of those involved by ensuring relevant information is accessible only to those who need to know.

Complainants should be confident that there will be no discriminatory action taken against them as a result of a complaint being lodged.

In situations where no resolution is achieved, or where the concern is in regard to systemic policy or practice, a complaint can be made in writing to:

  • The Parent Liaison Officer – Catholic Schools Office
  • The Assistant Director – Catholic Schools Office responsible for the Upper Hunter Schools

IMPLEMENTATION DATE:     June, 2008

UPDATED:                              February, 2009

REVISION DATE:                    June, 2012