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Tombolo Academy welcomes feedback from all members of the school community and takes all complaints or concerns raised seriously. This Complaints Handling Guide is designed to assist you in understanding our complaints handling process.
What is a Complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction made to Tombolo Academy board or staff, related to our services or operations, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.
Encouraging feedback from parties external to Tombolo Academy including complaints from parents/carers, parents/carers of former students, or members of the wider school community, can offer opportunities to improve our service levels and operations. This Complaints Handling Policy is designed to encourage feedback and to make it easy for people to lodge a complaint.
Tombolo Academy’s Commitment
Tombolo Academy is committed to handling complaints effectively and efficiently. To manage complaints effectively, we have established a Complaints Handling Program in line with both the international complaints handling standard (ISO 10002:2014 Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations) and the Australian/New Zealand complaints handling standard (AS/NZS 10002:2014 Guidelines for complaint management in organisations).
Our program includes the establishment of a complaints management process which allows us to capture, manage and report on complaints effectively. Regular analysis of complaints received and the implementation of rectification action, where deficiencies are identified, are fundamental to Tombolo Academy’s commitment. Our internal complaints handling process are available at no cost.
Informal Complaints Resolution
The vast majority of issues causing concern in schools can be handled quickly and in an informal manner. In most cases, these issues can be resolved through informal discussions with appropriate staff members. Even if an issue can be resolved informally, all staff are required to log issues on our complaint’s management register, so we can identify any systemic issues arising, and take appropriate rectification action.
How Do I Make a Formal Complaint?
If you have been unable to resolve a matter informally, or simply wish to make a formal complaint, you can do so by any of the following means:
- Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Writing a letter addressed to the Principal or the Chair of the Board of Directors.
- Telephoning and asking to speak to your child’s classroom teacher
All formal complaints will be logged into our complaints register and managed in accordance with the following procedure.
Tombolo Academy has implemented the following steps to encourage feedback and to make it easy for people to lodge a complaint.
- A short-form Complaints Policy with information on how to make a complaint is available on our public website.
- All staff are made aware of the importance of capturing and recording critical feedback. Many complaints are received via telephone, in person, or via email, and the ability of our staff to recognise a complaint, and to capture it effectively, is a central feature of our Complaints Handling Program.
Our Internal Complaints Handling Process
Step 1 – All formal complaints are logged on our complaints management register where they are screened by one of our Complaints Officers (Business Manager or Principal), or in the case of complaints against the Principal or Business Manager, by the Chair of the Board of Directors.
Step 2 – All valid complaints will be acknowledged in writing, as soon as practicable, and allocated a status, priority and target resolution date. It is our policy, where possible, to resolve all disputes within 14 days.
Step 3 – The Complaints Officer shall investigate the issues raised, following principles of procedural fairness, and make a determination.
Step 4 – Following the determination, if appropriate, the Complaints Officer shall formulate a resolution and provide a written response to the complainant. The matter will be closed if this response is accepted.
Step 5 – If the initial response is not acceptable, the matter will be reviewed internally by the Chair of the Board, who may seek additional information or submissions from the relevant parties. All disputes will be addressed within 14 days from the date that the review process is initiated. The matter will be closed if the response is accepted.
Step 6 – All complaints received will be entered into our Complaints Register and, where appropriate, a corrective action request will be made to address any underlying processes which the complaints investigation revealed may require improvement.
Step 7 – If the matter remains unresolved, the complainant may pursue external resolution alternatives.
Procedural Fairness in Complaints Handling
It is critically important that throughout the entire complaints handling process, procedural fairness is accorded to the complainant and the person/s who are the subject of the complaint.
Procedural fairness in complaints handling requires:
- both the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is made to have the opportunity to be heard, in person or in writing as appropriate, and to respond to the allegations and/or evidence offered by the other
- an objective investigation of issues or facts which are in dispute
- that the investigator is free from bias, or the perception of bias, and is not ‘judge in his or her own cause.’
- that any complaint outcome is supported by the evidence, necessitating a finding on the balance of probabilities in the event of a dispute of fact
- that the complaint outcome is finalised by an adjudicator, who may also be the investigator, who is free from bias or the perception of bias
- that the outcome is consistent with the Academy’s established policies and/or procedures relevant to the complaint.
While it is the Academy’s policy that these elements of procedural fairness are to be applied to each complaint received by the Academy, procedural fairness should not otherwise dictate the outcome of a complaint.
Responsibilities for Complaints Handling at Tombolo Academy Our Complaints Manager
We have appointed a Complaints Manager who’s responsible for:
- ensuring that all staff are educated about our Complaints Handling Program
- investigating and, where necessary, escalating complaints when requested by the complainant
- liaising with complainants and Complaints Officers
- maintaining accurate records in the Complaints Register
- regularly reporting to the Management Team about complaints
- ensuring systemic complaints are identified and rectified
- monitoring the effectiveness of, and continually improving, our Complaints Handling Program.
Our Complaints Officers
We have appointed a number of key senior staff members to act as Complaints Officers. These individuals are authorised to investigate and manage Formal Complaints once they have been logged.
Complaints Officers are responsible for:
- investigating and, where necessary, escalating complaints to the Principal and/or Board of Directors
- liaising with complainants
- maintaining accurate records in the Complaints register.