Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure

Purpose Statement

Foster-Melliar is committed to providing candidates, staff and stakeholders the best possible environment to study or work. The organisation understands that on occasion, there may be instances of dissatisfaction and acknowledges that the cause(s) must be addressed and rectified promptly. Foster-Melliar therefore invites feedback from the dissatisfied party so that a resolution can be found and as an opportunity to consolidate the feedback into a review and improvement of Foster-Melliar’s policies practices and processes.

Foster-Melliar endeavour to address any and all complaints in a fair, constructive and timely manner. The complainant has the right for their complaint to be heard and for an impartial decision to be made at no cost to themselves. Complainants have the right to appeal a decision. This policy and associated procedure support’s Foster-Melliar to provide a process for complaints and appeals to be heard and actioned. All complaints and appeals received by Foster-Melliar will be viewed as an opportunity for further improvement and review.

Scope

This Policy applies to all Foster-Melliar staff, learners, clients and external stakeholders.

Type of Complaints

A complaint or appeal may include, but is not limited to:

  • Issue of results, certificates, statement of attainment
  • Learning and assessment resources
  • Marketing and promotional activity
  • Personal safety
  • Program delivery or course content
  • Suspension and/or cancellation or deferral of enrolment
  • Fees and charges
  • Assessment process and decision
  • Candidate progress and academic progress decisions
  • Course advice and enrolment
  • Customer service and administration
  • Equity and access, discrimination, harassment and bullying Appeals

Definitions

    • Item 1 – Complaint – a statement that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable – Ref: Oxford Dictionary
    • Item 2 – Grievance – an actual or supposed circumstance regarded as just cause for complaint – Ref: The Free Dictionary by Farlex
    • Item 3 – Appeal – an applicant to a recognized authority for corroboration, indication or decision […] a serious request for help – Ref: Merriam Webster

Procedural Steps for general complaints

All Foster-Melliar staff Complainant

Foster-Melliar may receive complaints from candidates, staff or stakeholders and members of the public through a variety of means e.g.: verbally, written documentation, electronically (email). Where possible all non-formal attempts shall be made to resolve the issue. This may include advice, discussions, and general mediation in relation to the issue and the candidate’s issue. Any staff member can be involved in this informal process to resolve issues but once an individual has placed a formal complaint /appeal the following procedures must be followed. 

Once a formal complaint is received, the Training Manager will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing to the complainant, and will seek to identify the issue and resolve the concern so as to avoid any further disruption to the complainant (where applicable). The organisation encourages both staff and complainants to approach the complaint openly and honestly so as to resolve problems through fair and reasonable means.

Any candidate, potential candidate, or third party may submit a formal complaint to Foster-Melliar with the reasonable expectation that all complaints will be treated with integrity and privacy.

There is no cost for accessing the internal complaints and appeals process. When a complaint or appeal cannot be resolved through informal discussion, the complainant is asked to complete a complaints and appeals form, stating their case and providing as much detail as possible, and submit this to the Foster-Melliar Director/CEO either by email or post. The Training Manager will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing to the complainant.

Complaints are to include the following information:

    • Submission date of complaint
    • Name of complainant
    • Nature of complaint
    • Date of the event which lead to the complaint
    • Attachments (if applicable)

The complaints and appeals form can be sent to the complainant on request.

Complainant Training Manager

Once the complaints and appeals form is received the details are recorded on the complaints and appeals register which is reviewed and maintained by the Foster-Melliar Director/CEO. Information recorded on the complaints and appeals register includes:

    • A specific complaint number
    • Submission date of the complaint
    • Name of the complainant
    • Description of the complaint
    • Determined resolution (outcome)
    • Date of outcome

A letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint will be sent by the Training Manager to the complainant and, where a complaint refers to an individual, the individual will be informed by the Training Manager of the complaint and will be invited to respond to the allegation either through discussion, or (written) correspondence. Any discussion held with the Training Manager must be documented via minutes and these minutes kept on file along with details of the original complaint. A separate interview may be held by Foster-Melliar Executive, if the complaint is about the Training Manager.

Complainant

Complainants have the right to access advice and support from independent external agencies and/or persons at any point of the complaint and appeals process. Use of external services will be at the complainant’s costs unless authorised by the Foster-Melliar Healthcare.

Training Manager

The Training Manager will investigate all complaints recorded on the complaints register and identify a satisfactory resolution to the issue. The proposed resolution will be communicated to all parties involved in the complaint within 10 working days and agreement to the proposed resolution sought. 

Upon receipt of the agreement, the Training Manager will:

  • Provide the complainant with written confirmation of the resolution
  • Record the action(s) taken to resolve the complaint on the Complaints Register
  • Where applicable communicate the outcome of the complaint resolution to the relevant Foster-Melliar staff member
  • If applicable, document the need for amendment Training policy and/or procedure documentation in the continuous improvement register and implement the necessary improvement

Note: Both the complaints and appeals register and the continuous improvement register are reviewed regularly by the Foster-Melliar Training and healthcare Quality Manager

  • Within the notification of the outcome of the formal complaint the complainant shall also be notified that they have the right of appeal. To appeal a decision the Training Manager must receive, in writing, grounds of the appeal. Complainants are referred to the appeals procedure.

Where Foster-Melliar feels the complaint may take longer than 60 days to resolve, the Training Manager will:

a) Inform the complainant or appellant in writing, including reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required

b) Provide regular updates to the complainant or appellant on the progress of the matter. The Training Manager will act immediately on any substantiated complaint. If the internal or any external complaint handling or appeal process results in a decision that supports the complainant, the Training Manager will act immediately to implement any decision and/or corrective and preventative action that is required, and advise the complainant of the outcome.

Any documentation including written notes of the progress of a complaint, outcomes, actions and resolution, will be kept by Foster-Melliar and filed in the candidate’s personal folder/file. Any complaint received that is not from a Candidate, will be stored in the dedicated Complaints and Appeals folder maintained by Foster-Melliar Healthcare Quality team.

No Candidate, staff member, stakeholder or member of the public will be disenfranchised in any way during the complaint and resolution process. A Candidate’s progress through a study program will not be disrupted whilst a complaint is being heard unless the nature of the issue itself means further progress is not possible.

Complainants will observe strict confidentiality during all stages of the complaint’s resolution process. All communications and proceedings arising from the complaints process will remain confidential at the conclusion of the complaint’s resolution process.

Complainants have the right to nominate third party representation (e.g.: a family member or friend, counsellor, professional representation or support person) if they require.

The complaints resolution process will be reviewed annually as part of the Training continuous improvement process.

Procedural Steps for Appeal

All Foster-Melliar staff personnel Candidate

Candidates are entitled to formally appeal the outcome of their assessment decision by completing the Complaints and Appeals Form, stating their case and providing as much detail as possible, and submit this to the Foster-Melliar Manager either by email or post. Candidates are to include the following information:

  • Submission date of appeal
  • Name of appeal
  • Nature of appeal
  • Supporting documentation regarding their assessment outcome
  • Attachments (if applicable)

The Complaints and Appeals Form can be sent to the complainant on request.

Foster-Melliar Training Manager Candidate

Once the Complaints and Appeals Form is received the details are recorded on

the Complaints and Appeals Register which is reviewed and maintained by the

Training Manager. Information recorded on the Complaints and Appeals Register

includes:

  • A specific appeal number
  • Submission date of the appeal
  • Name of the appeal
  • Description of the appeal
  • Determined resolution (outcome)
  • Date of outcome
Candidate Foster-Melliar Training Manager

The Training Manager will seek details from the Assessor involved and any other relevant parties. A decision will be made regarding the appeal either indicating the assessment decision stands or details of a possible re-assessment by a third party.

The third party will be another Assessor appointed by the Training Manager. The Training Manager will notify the candidate in writing of the outcome with reasons for the decision, and the ‘Complaints and Appeals Register’ updated. Once the process is completed, the Training Manager shall then inform the Complainant/Appellant of any decisions or resolutions reached in writing and the reasons for the resolutions.

Resolutions can include but are not limited to:

  • Written undertaking or apology
  • Written agreements in regard to future behaviors or actions
  • Remedial action (e.g., improved practices, corrected records)
  • Issue of new or amended policies, procedures or guidelines
  • Conciliation/mediation between the parties under the guidance of a mutually accepted impartial third party (internal or external)

The Candidate will also be provided the option of activating the external appeals process if they are not satisfied with the outcome. The Candidate is required to notify Foster-Melliar if they wish to proceed with the external appeals process.

External Appeals

Candidate

If not satisfied with the decision in either the formal complaints or appeals procedures, the Complainant may request that the matter be further reviewed by an external dispute resolution body.

For this purposes, Foster-Melliar can be contacted via:

Phone: +27 11 807 9525
Email: info@fostermelliar.co.za 

PARTNERS & ACCREDITATIONS

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info@fostermelliar.co.za

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