Complaints and Appeals Procedure
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that individuals have an avenue for legitimate complaints and appeals arising during the counselling, training and assessment services offered by Lifechange Therapies.
This procedure outlines the steps for handling complaints and appeals received from learners, clients, staff and stakeholders.
Lifechange Therapies considers all complaints and appeals received as an opportunity to improve the service that we offer to all individuals, as part of our wider continuous improvement process.
This procedure applies to all complaints and appeals that impact on Lifechange Therapies management systems; quality of training and assessment; and quality of client service; inclusive of complaints about:
4.1 All staff who receive a complaint are responsible for:
- The documenting of complaints as per the scope of this procedure.
- Sending the details of the complaint to the Director of Lifechange Therapies.
- Complaints from clients undertaking counselling with a practitioner of the Logotherapy Counselling team will normally be first referred to that counsellor, unless the complainant wishes the complaint to remain confidential.
4.2 The Director is responsible for:
- Reviewing the complaints.
- Determining the root cause of the complaint, through investigation, review or other appropriate means.
- Determining the action, if any, to be taken and recorded in the Continuous Improvement Register.
- Implementing action to prevent or limit the likely recurrence of the determined cause of the complaint.
- Following up on the complaint and/or with the complainant to ensure the complaint has been finalised and that corrective action has been implemented satisfactorily and the client is satisfied.
- Ensuring the current complaints policy is publicly available.
5. Types of Complaints of Appeals
A complaint or appeal may include, but is not limited to:
- Course enrolment
- Suspension and/or cancellation of enrolment
- Program delivery
- Marketing and promotional activity
- Personal safety
- Customer service and administration
- Issue of results, certificates and statement of attainment
- Fees and charges
- Equity and access, discrimination, harassment and bullying
- Assessment process and decision
- Candidate progress and academic progress decisions
6. Complaint Procedures
6.1 Informal process
Where possible all non-formal attempts shall be made to resolve the complaint. This may include advice, discussions, and general mediation in relation to the issue. Any staff can be involved in this informal process to resolve issues but once a student has placed a formal complaint/appeal the following procedures must be followed.
6.2 Formal complaint process
If the complainant meets with a staff member to make a complaint:
- The staff member should discuss with the complainant (and their support), the complaint details.
- Complete with any assistance Lifechange Therapies Complaints and Appeals form.
- If they have the decision-making capacity.
- If they can implement action that is agreeable to the complainant.
- Consider privacy issues.
- Receipt of an Oral Complaint (when the complainant wishes the complaint to be considered using the Complaints and Appeals Procedure. The staff member taking the complaint will complete the Lifechange Therapies Complaints and Appeals Form and record the following information:
- Complainant’s full name, address, phone/email address.
- Why the complaint has been escalated from concern or is not to be treated as a concern.
- If the complaint relates to another person(s), that person(s) full name and position or if the student is not able to provide these details as much information as possible.
- The concerns raised by the complainant.
- The complainant’s desired outcome to the complaint.
- The complainant should receive a copy of the complaint form.
- If a complainant raises an issue but is not willing to proceed with the complaint then they should be advised that because of the requirements of procedural fairness, in most circumstances no further action can be taken by Lifechange Therapies.
- If the staff member resolves the complaint and the nature of the complaint is in regards to Lifechange Therapies management systems, the quality of training and assessment, the quality of client services the staff member should:
- Clarify and document the details of the complaint with the complainant.
- Record the complaint and its outcomes in Lifechange Therapies files.
- Inform the Director of the details of the complaint and the action implemented.
- Lifechange Therapies Director is to generate an acknowledgement letter to the complainant of the complaint and its outcome.
- If the staff member receiving the complaint is unable to resolve the issue with the complainant, then the staff member should:
- Request the complainant put the complaint in writing to the Director.
- Provide advice about anonymous complaints.
- Direct or assist in directing the person to another person who could assist. Provide assistance with Lifechange Therapies Complaints and Appeals Form.
- The Director will:
- Provide an acknowledgement in writing of the complaint, a review of the complaint (for clarification) and the anticipated outcome by the complainant. If a complaint cannot be investigated by Lifechange Therapies (for whatever reason), then the Director should inform the complainant at this point and refer them to the most appropriate body.
- Review the complaint within five (5) working days and make a decision about the complaint.
- Interview the respondent to the complaint, outlining the specific allegations that have been made about them, and giving them the opportunity to make a full response. During the investigation process, the complainant must be given the opportunity to present his/her case with the provision of a mutually acceptable support person and/or independent adviser in attendance, if required.
- Determine the appropriate action, if any.
- Advise the parties of the action and their recourse to further action/appeal.
- After the investigation process is complete, the Director will provide a written response within fourteen (14) working days to the complainant, of the action taken and the reasons for the decision.
- If, at any stage, the process exceeds the timelines stated, or more than 60 calendar days are needed to process and finalise the complaint; Lifechange Therapies will:
- Inform the complainant in writing of the delay, including reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required; and
- If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint, they can appeal the outcome in accordance with the Lifechange Therapies Appeals Procedure.
- Any complaint which appears to be related to any illegal activity such as theft, assault, etc., will be referred to the appropriate authority after discussion with the person making the complaint.
- Written records of the complaint will be retained in the complaints and appeals file and a copy included in the relevant student’s file, where applicable.
- Lifechange Therapies seeks to prevent complaints by ensuring that students are satisfied with their training experience and their training product and its outcomes. Personnel are expected to be fair, courteous and helpful in all dealings with students
7. Formal appeal procedures
- All students and clients have the right to appeal decisions made by Lifechange Therapies where reasonable grounds can be established.
- Where a student wishes to appeal an assessment they are required to notify their assessor in the first instance. Where appropriate the assessor may decide to re-assess the student to ensure a fair and equitable decision is gained. The assessor shall complete a written report regarding the re-assessment outlining the reasons why the assessment was or was not granted.
- If a decision made is not to the student’s or client’s satisfaction, an appeal must be made to the Director in writing with the individual’s name, course code, course name and grounds for the appeal. Supporting evidence as to the reason for the appeal and addressing the grounds for the appeal should be included.
- Once the Lifechange Therapies Complaints and Appeals Form is received the details are recorded on the Complaints and Appeals Register which is reviewed and maintained by the Director.
- The Director shall then determine the validity of the appeal and organise a meeting with all parties involved in the matter and attempt to seek resolution where appropriate.
- The appellant will be formally notified in writing as to the outcome of the appeal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the appellant will be advised of the basis for this decision.
- Details of the appeals process and its outcome will be retained in the complaints and appeals file and a copy included in the relevant student’s file, where applicable.
8. External Review
- If a student or client is still dissatisfied with the decision of Lifechange Therapies, a student or client may wish to escalate the matter.
- Lifechange Therapies will engage an outside arbiter, to be mutually agreed with the complainant.
- If the decision is in favour of Lifechange Therapies will follow the required recommendations of the outside arbiter re sharing of costs for the appeal.
- Where a decision or outcome is in favour of the complainant, Lifechange Therapies shall follow the required action and recommendation to satisfy the complainants appeal as soon as practicable and will meet all expenses for the outside arbiter.