Complaints and Feedback
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General feedback and compliments:
CQUniversity recognises that feedback is essential to enable continuous improvement of our services. General feedback (which does not require a resolution) should be sent directly to the relevant School, Division or organisational area for consideration. This can be done through unit and teaching evaluations, emails to the Lecturer, Unit Coordinator, Head of Course, or Head of College, by contacting any Campus Reception, or phoning 13 27 86. If a resolution is required, an informal or official complaint should be lodged.
Complaints (informal and official)
Complaints are valuable indicators of service effectiveness and identify opportunities to improve and address unmet expectations. Complaints are taken seriously, and we aim to resolve all matters raised in a timely manner.
The University’s complaint management system is based on the following principles:
- Equity: Complaints are considered in a transparent, objective and unbiased manner, with procedural fairness.
- Accessibility: Information about the complaints handling process and the means to lodge a complaint is readily accessible and available.
- Comprehensiveness: Relevant circumstances and information surrounding a complaint are investigated to the level warranted by the severity of the complaint.
- Responsiveness: Timeframes for investigating and resolving complaints are set and monitored.
- Accountability: Appropriate monitoring of complaints occurs through regular reporting of complaints received and action taken. Errors and omissions are corrected, and business improvement opportunities are identified and implemented.
- Confidentiality: Anonymity is preserved where requested. Complainants will be informed where this may limit the extent to which a complaint can be investigated. Complainants will not suffer any form of reprisal for making a complaint.
The Complaints Policy and Procedure applies to all students who wish to raise an issue or concern about the quality or delivery of a service provided by the University, their treatment as a student, or the conduct of University staff or other students.
Note: Where an appeal process exists within a policy or procedure, or the matter falls within the remit of the Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure, the relevant appeals process applies if a student is dissatisfied with the outcome. View information on the Academic Appeals Process.
Staff complaints (human resource type complaints from staff) are managed by the University’s People and Culture Directorate. However, if a University staff member has a complaint or concern about a student’s behaviour, please see the Student Behavioural Misconduct Procedure located on the Policy site for information on this process.
Other Complaints (community members and customers)
Complaints from community members or customers are valuable indicators of service effectiveness and identify opportunities for improvement and unmet expectations. The Complaints Policy and Procedure applies to anyone who wishes to raise a complaint with the University.
Complaints Policy and Procedure
The Complaints Policy and Procedure applies to all CQUniversity staff and students, community members, and customers and is published on the University's policy site. This provides the details about how complaints are handled by the University.
How to submit a complaint
The first step is to raise the matter directly with the person or area most concerned, or with the appropriate supervisor of that person.
If a student is unsure who to contact or how to deal directly with a person to resolve an informal complaint, they can seek assistance from the Frontline Services Team, Student Advocacy Officers, School Academic Liaison Officers, the Governance Unit, or any Campus Reception.
The University expects that in most cases, the discussion of the concern with the relevant staff member will result in a prompt resolution.
If these measures fail to resolve the issue, an official complaint can be submitted.
It is preferred that you submit your official complaint in writing. Official complaints can be submitted:
- through the Complaints eForm
- by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- in writing to Governance Unit, CQUniversity Australia, Bruce Highway, North Rockhampton Qld 4701
- phoning 13 27 86, or
- in person at any CQUniversity location.
In your complaint submission you must ensure that you include relevant details such as:
- name/s and contact details
- date of the complaint
- student number and student email address (if applicable)
- course/unit code/s (if relevant)
- the campus to which the complaint relates (if relevant)
- the nature of the complaint, including full details of what occurred and when it occurred
- a summary of any action previously taken to resolve the complaint
- any supporting documentation such as emails, screen shots, etc, and
- an indication of what outcome is being sought
Any supporting documentation, such as emails, can be sent to email@example.com
Anonymous complaints will be accepted by the University. The fact that the complaint is anonymous does not prevent corrective actions or decisions being implemented, however it may be difficult to pursue matters without the cooperation of the individual making the complaint.
Complaints lodged through the eForm cannot be submitted without completing mandatory information. However, if the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, the University will accept “anonymous” in the first and last name fields.
Where requested, the Governance Unit can provide an anonymised version of a complaint to the designated officer for investigation. In these circumstances, although best efforts will be made to keep the complainant’s details anonymous, the University cannot guarantee that anonymity will be able to be preserved.
Internal Review of official complaint
If the complainant is not satisfied that the official complaint management process has led to a satisfactory resolution, they may request a review of the official complaint outcome.
A request for a review of the outcome must be lodged by the complainant within 20 working days of the date of the written outcome of their official complaint. If there are exceptional circumstances that prevented the review request being not lodged within 20 working days, the request for a review should provide details and evidence of the exceptional circumstances. The Director Governance may apply discretion in accepting the request.
The Review Officer will be determined by the Director Governance. The assigned Review Officer will have had no prior involvement in the complaint under review, and will have the appropriate knowledge, skill and experience to conduct the review.
The Review Officer will consider whether the Designated Officer:
- identified and addressed all relevant issues
- sought and considered appropriate evidence
- made the correct decision
- adequately explained their decision to the complainant.
An internal review is not a re-investigation of a complaint (although this is an outcome that may be recommended by a Review Officer).
Possible outcomes of an internal review may include:
- returning the matter to the relevant area for further investigation
- upholding the original decision and providing a detailed explanation to the complainant, or
- issuing a new decision.
The internal review process will follow the same process as formal complaints, including timeframes and outcome communications with the complainant.
Further options (external avenues)
The University’s Student Ombudsman has the authority to conduct inquiries relating to specific areas of complaints from current or former students relating to a failure to follow due process by the University or those acting under the authority or auspices of the University, as detailed in the Student Ombudsman Procedure. Students may request the Student Ombudsman review the matter if they reasonably believe that the University has not followed due process or provided procedural fairness when handling the complaint or the internal review of the complaint. The timeframe to lodge a request with the Student Ombudsman is set out in the Student Ombudsman Procedure.
If all internal procedures have been followed, but the complainant does not feel the problem has been resolved or does not feel they have been dealt with fairly, they may lodge an external complaint with the Queensland Ombudsman or other external avenues of review. Please note that these external bodies will normally only review a complaint once all internal avenues of complaint and appeal have been exhausted.
Timeframes and complaint investigation
All timeframes for official complaints will be monitored and managed by the Governance Unit.
Within five working days of the complaint being received, the complaint will be categorised, assessed for seriousness to determine if it should be a high priority complaint, assigned to a Designated Officer, and the complainant provided with acknowledgement of the complaint and a link to the policy and procedure.
A complaint regarding a breach of legislation, potential harm to a student, others or property, or a matter in which time is of the essence will be categorised as a high priority complaint. These types of complaints will be brought to the attention of a senior member of staff and actioned as quickly as possible, with the Designated Officer to investigate the complaint and provide a resolution or outcome to the complainant within 15 working days.
For all other complaints, the Designated Officer will investigate the complaint and provide a resolution or outcome to the complainant within 25 working days from the lodgement of the complaint.
These timeframes are the maximum expected for a complaint. It is anticipated that the majority of complaints will be dealt with well within these timeframes. However, some complaints may be complex or complicated and unable to be resolved within these standard timeframes.
If the complaint cannot be resolved within the designated timeframes (15 working days for a high priority complaint and 25 working days for all other complaints), the Designated Officer will advise the complainant that additional time is required, what action has been taken to date, and the estimated resolution timeframe.
All official complaints will be forwarded to the relevant Designated Officer for investigation.
Designated officers in Divisions, Schools, Directorates and Campuses of the University are responsible for investigating official complaints. These Designated Officers will be appropriately trained to investigate and act on a complaint, and will handle the complaint in a fair and objective manner.
The investigative process will typically involve:
- confirming the facts indicated in the complaint
- identifying the issues
- identifying who is going to be interviewed and the sources of evidence required to sustain or not sustain the allegation
- discussing and interviewing all parties involved, including the complainant, University personnel and third parties (where relevant), and examining relevant laws, policies and procedures
- analysing all relevant information obtained
- formulating findings and any recommendations, and
- preparing a report on the results of the investigation or the outcome of the complaint, including if it was resolved during the process or withdrawn by the complainant.
When University functions are outsourced, the contract or terms of engagement will stipulate how complaints will be dealt with by the external organisation/party.
Where a complaint is made against a student regarding any conduct which has interfered with the rights of others on campus or is a breach of requirements set out in the Student Behavioural Misconduct Procedure, the matter will be actioned under the Student Behavioural Misconduct Procedure.
Where a complaint is made against a student regarding any academic integrity matter, the Student Academic Integrity Procedure will also apply.
Where a complaint is made against a staff member regarding actions or behaviours which could be considered to be misconduct or serious misconduct, the University’s current Enterprise Agreement outlines the procedures for investigation and disciplinary action.
If you have any queries in relation to the Complaints process, please contact us:
Building 2, CQUniversity
North Rockhampton QLD 4701