DEALING  WITH COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES

PROCEDURE FOR STAFF AND FAMILIES 

 

Background

Policy statement

Feedback from families, educators, staff and the wider community is fundamental in creating a Centre that meets regulations, meets the needs of enrolled children and their families, and continues to evolve towards the highest standard of care.  

It is inevitable that feedback will include differing opinions, occasionally resulting in complaints. This Policy details the Centre’s procedures for receiving and managing informal and formal complaints. Parents therefore can lodge a legitimate grievance in the knowledge that it will be managed diligently and confidentially. 

 Strategies and practices 

  • The Centre’s processes for airing concerns/complaints are communicated to families at enrolment. QA 6.1.1, 7.3.4. 7.3.5  
  • Details of the Centre’s email address and telephone number, the telephone number of a management committee representative, and the full contact details of the Regulatory Authority are in the Parent Handbook and also displayed in the entrance of the Centre. QA 7.1.1  
  • The Centre prioritises open, respectful and confidential exchange of information between the Centre and its families. Parents have the opportunity to provide verbal and written communication about the Centre’s operations. Parents are informed when any of their feedback has led to improvements in the way the Centre operates. Refer to the Centre’s Interacting with Families Policy. QA 6.1.3, 7.1.2   
  • The Nominated Supervisor models respect and a problem-solving approach to the receipt of grievances and complaints, and practices this across the Centre. QA 4.2.1 
  • Educators and staff are guided on how to receive parents’ concerns/complaints and to value the opportunity this feedback affords the Centre for quality improvement. QA 6.1.2, 7.1.3 
  • Staff/educators, students and volunteers are informed of the Centre’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy before commencing at the Centre and are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement to strictly adhere to that Policy. QA 7.1.1
  • At all times the parents’ right to air a grievance will be respected and no discrimination will be applied to either the family or child/ren as the result of the grievance. QA 7.3.4
  • Parents are encouraged to raise informally with the child’s primary educator or the Nominated Supervisor any concerns they have about the daily care of their child. QAQ 7.3.4
  • Formal complaints can be raised verbally with the Nominated Supervisor who will document the complaint clearly and objectively on the Centre’s Grievance and Complaint Form. If the grievance is about the Nominated Supervisor, the matter can be directed to the Management Committee. (Contact details are available on the wall in Reception) QA 7.3.4
  • The Centre maintains a register of written complaints and actions taken in response through its Grievance and Complaint Register. The register is reviewed regularly (e.g. nature, recurrence, outcome) to determine if the actions taken are consistent with the Centre’s Quality Improvement Plan and if changes to the Centre’s Policies are required. Each review is documented on the Grievance and Complaint Analysis Sheet. QA 7.3.4

 

Procedure for formal written complaint  

  • Complaints are to be submitted in writing – (a Grievance and Complaint Form  is available for this purpose ) 
  • The complaint will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. The Nominated Supervisor/Management Committee or delegated staff member involved in investigating the complaint will ensure that information is restricted only to those who genuinely need to be notified in order to deal with the complaint. If information specific to the complaint needs to be disclosed to others during its resolution, the complainant will be informed prior to this occurring. QA 7.3.1, 7.3.4 
  • The complaint will be entered into the Centre’s Grievance and Complaint Register, and written acknowledgment that the complaint has been received sent to the complainant. QA 7.3.4 
  • The Nominated Supervisor/Management Committee will investigate the complaint in an equitable, transparent and fair manner, and document the findings. Investigations involve consulting with the relevant stakeholders (including any person who may be the subject of the complaint) and reviewing documentation such as attendance records, accident reports and the Centre’s Policies. QA 7.3.4 
  • Actions to address the complaint will be determined, and the complainant notified in writing of those actions. QA 7.3.4 
  • Should the complaint made to the Centre concern a breach of regulations, the Regulatory Authority will be notified within 24 hours of the complaint being lodged. QA 7.3.3. 
  • When an issue cannot be resolved at the Centre, the complainant can contact the Office of Early Childhood Education and Care. QA 7.3.3  
  • The same processes as those set out above apply to educators and staff in submitting formal complaints about any aspect of the Centre’s operations. However, staff grievances are dealt with under its Staff Grievance and Complaint processes. QA 4.2.1, 7.3.4

 

Responsibilities of parents 

  • To raise issues and concerns in a timely manner using the processes outlined in this Policy.

Links to other policies 

  • Educators Professional and Ethics Policy
  • Enrolment and Orientation Policy
  • Interactions with Families Policy
  • Policy and Procedures Review Policy

 

Links Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011, National Quality Standard 2011 

Regs

168

Education and care service must have policies and procedures

 

173

Prescribed information to be displayed

 

176

Time to notify certain information to Regulatory Authority

 

QA

4.2.1

Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships

 

6.1.1

There is an effective enrolment and orientation process for families

 

6.1.2

Families have opportunities to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions

 

6.1.3

Current information about the service is available to families

 

7.1.1

Appropriate governance is in place to manage the service

 

7.1.2

The induction of educators is, co-ordinators and staff members is comprehensive

 

7.1.3

Every effort is made to promote continuity of educators and co-ordinators at the service

 

7.2.3

An effective self-assessment and quality improvement process is in place

 

7.3.1

Records and information are stored appropriately to ensure confidentiality, are available from the service and are maintained in accordance with legislative requirements 

 

7.3.3

The Regulatory Authority is notified of any relevant changes to the operation of the service, of any serious incidents and of any complaints which allege a breach of legislation

 

7.3.4

Processes are in place to ensure that all grievances and complaints are addressed, investigated fairly and documented in a timely manner

 

7.3.5

Services practices are based on effectively documented policies and procedures that are available at the service and are reviewed regularly

 

Sources, further reading and useful websites 

Further reading

 

Useful websites

  • Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority – www.acecqa.gov.au

 

Policy review 

The Centre encourages staff and parents to be actively involved in the annual review of each of its policies and procedures. In addition, the Centre will accommodate any new legislative changes as they occur and any issues identified as part the Centre’s commitment to quality improvement. The Centre consults with relevant recognised authorities as part of the annual review to ensure the policy contents are consistent with current research and contemporary views on best practice.

 

Date(s) reviewed:  January 2014

 Next review Date:  January 2015