Complaints and Assessment Appeals

All students, prospective students, facilitators and stakeholders who engage with The Benchmarque Group have the right to lodge complaints about the service received. Additionally, all students undertaking courses or training programs offered by The Benchmarque Group have the right to lodge appeals against decisions made by Benchmarque Group assessors.

Click HERE to contact us with your complaint or appeal.

Complaints and Appeals Policy

Purpose and Scope

This policy is designed to ensure:

  • The Benchmarque Group effectively manages complaints and appeals in accordance with the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and as part of best practice
  • Complaints from clients and appeals from decisions made by The Benchmarque Group staff are handled in a fair, equitable and effective manner
  • That clients have a clear understanding of the steps involved in reporting a complaint and making an appeal

This policy applies to all clients accessing services provided by The Benchmarque Group.

The Benchmarque Group is committed to creating a fair and equitable organisational culture and will deal with any complaint or appeal in an effective and timely manner. All complaints and appeals received by The Benchmarque Group will be viewed as an opportunity for improvement.

Standard for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015

Standard 6. Complaints and appeals are recorded, acknowledged and dealt with fairly, efficiently and effectively.  Refer to the Standards for further information regarding the specific clauses under Standard 6.

Definitions

A Complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction with an action, product or service of The Benchmarque Group.

An Appeal is where a client of The Benchmarque Group, or other interested party, may dispute a decision made by The Benchmarque Group. The decision made by The Benchmarque Group may be an assessment decision or may be about any other aspect of its operations.

General

Students who undertake courses or training programs offered by The Benchmarque Group have the right to lodge complaints about the service received or to lodge appeals against decisions made by Benchmarque Group assessors.

Complaints may be made in relation to services, trainers, assessors, staff, a third party providing services on our behalf or other students. A student may also formally request a review of decision including assessment decisions made by The Benchmarque Group or third party providing services on our behalf.

Participants are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their facilitator in an attempt to resolve their concern. If the participant’s concerns or issues cannot be resolved in initial discussions, we would encourage them to consider a formal complaint.

The Benchmarque Group ensure at all times that the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness are adopted at every stage of the complaint and appeal process.

All complaints will be treated seriously and will be responded to quickly, impartially and confidentially.

All formal complaints and appeals will be treated as opportunities for improvement and will be reviewed as part of The Benchmarque Group Continuous Improvement Process.

The Benchmarque Group Complaints and Appeals Process will be made publicly available to all students, prospective students, staff and facilitators through publication on The Benchmarque Group website.

Rights and Responsibilities

When a complaint is made the complainant has the right to:

  • discuss a problem without having to make a formal complaint (i.e. in writing)
  • be protected against unjust treatment or victimisation
  • be kept up to date on progress and decisions made
  • withdraw the complaint at any time in the proceedings
  • take their complaint to an external body

When a complaint is made the complainant is responsible for:

  • making their complaint in good faith
  • providing all of the relevant facts
  • co-operating with the resolution process

Informal Complaints

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.

If the matter remains unresolved the learner can lodge a formal complaint via The Benchmarque Group website.

Complaints received via phone should be transferred to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). If they are not available, the staff member taking the call should:

  • take the complainant’s details including their full name, contact details and a brief description of the complaint
  • notify the complainant that the relevant manager is currently unavailable
  • email the details to the relevant manager at the earliest opportunity

Formal Complaints Process

A student wishing to submit a formal complaint can do so by completing The Benchmarque Group Complaints and Appeals Form and state their case providing as many details as possible. The Complaint Form is accessible from The Benchmarque Group website.

Formal complaints must be submitted in writing via hardcopy or via email and directed to the attention of the CEO.

Following receipt of the complaint, The CEO will:

  • respond personally, in writing to the individual within 5 working days to acknowledge the complaint has been received
  • enter details of the complaint into the Complaints Register

The CEO will investigate the complaint within a period up to a maximum of 10 working days.

At the conclusion of the 10 day investigation period, the CEO will provide a written report to the individual detailing the outcome.

The complainant can at any time contact the CEO and will be provided with an update of the progress of the report.

The complainant is advised in writing on the outcome of the investigation.

In the event that the complaint cannot be resolved, an appropriate party independent of The Benchmarque Group and the complainant or appellant will be engaged in an attempt to resolve the complaint or appeal.

The complaint and outcomes, including reasons for the decisions are recorded in the Complaints Register.

Circumstances in Which Complaints May Not Proceed

A complaint will not proceed when:

  • the matter that is being complained about complies with relevant legislation
  • the complaint has been previously dealt with
  • an external body that has jurisdiction has already investigated the complaint
  • the complaint is made anonymously
  • the complainant declines to be named

A complaint will not proceed if it is found to be fabricated, frivolous, vexatious or malicious.  These types of complaints are characterised by:

  • giving false or misleading information
  • withholding relevant information or distorting the facts
  • demonstrating no real commitment to resolving the complaint

The complainant will be informed in writing why the complaint has not been investigated.

Appeals Process

An individual has the right to lodge an appeal against decisions made by The Benchmarque Group personnel.

An appeal may be made on one or more of the following grounds:

  • new evidence of a relevant nature is available
  • the decision was made without due consideration of the facts, evidence or circumstances
  • there was bias, prejudice or a conflict of interest by the person investigating
  • some significant policy/procedural irregularity occurred in the investigative process
  • an assessment appeal raising concerns about the assessment process and how it was conducted with regards to their level of competence

Appeals must be submitted in writing via hardcopy or via email and directed to the attention of the CEO.

Appeals should be submitted within writing within ten days of the client receiving notification of the decision and must set out the grounds of the appeal and provide any supporting evidence.

Within 24 hours of receipt, the CEO will contact the appellant to acknowledge receipt of the appeal.

The CEO will investigate all appeals.  The investigation stage may include interviews with the appellant, any witnesses, or other relevant person and a review of any documentation.

For assessment appeals, a qualified third party will be engaged to assist with the appeal, this may include conducting a comprehensive review of the completed and graded assessment, against the assessment task and assessment criteria. The result of an assessment appeal will be final.

The appellant will be informed in writing of the result of the appeals process within 14 days of lodgement.

All appeal details including outcomes will be documented in the Complaints and Appeals Register.

Over 60 Days

Where The Benchmarque Group considers more than 60 calendar days are required to process and finalise a complaint or appeal, it will:

  • inform the complainant or appellant in writing, including reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required, and
  • regularly update the complainant or appellant on the progress of the matter

Dissatisfaction with Outcome

Should the student/s feel dissatisfied with the outcome of any complaint or appeal, The Benchmarque Group will suggest they contact the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

An online complaint form can be accessed at www.asqa.gov.au