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This framework aims to ensure the Education Standards Board (Board) manages complaints and feedback in a fair, consistent, professional and timely manner.
Complaints and feedback managed in line with this framework are those where an individual expresses dissatisfaction or concern about:
- the service or actions of the Board
- an early childhood education and care service or educator; or
- a school.
An expression of dissatisfaction where a response or resolution is expected or legally required.
Complaint management framework
Policies, procedures, organisational culture, our employees, and the hardware and software needed to manage complaints and feedback in a timely and effective way.
An opinion, expression of interest or concern, positive or negative comment where a response is not expected or legally required.
Legislative policy and context
This framework supports the requirements of:
- DPC Circular 039: Complaints management in the South Australian public sector
- ISO 10002:2018 Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations
This framework is indirectly supported by:
This framework is to be read in conjunction with:
- Complaint about a school
- Complaint about early childhood service
- Public Interest Disclosure Procedure
Confidentiality and information disclosure
Section 87 of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011 (SA) (State Act) sets out the Board’s obligations in relation to confidentiality of personal information obtained through administration of this Act.
Part 13, Division 6 of the Education and Care National Law Act 2010 sets out the Board’s obligations about disclosure of information and confidentiality in relation to early childhood education and care information held by the Board.
Education Standards Board employees are bound to comply with the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector. Obligations about the handling of official information set out in this code specifically relates to this framework.
Information may only be disclosed to parties outside of the Board in line with the exceptions described in clause 10 of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet Information Privacy Principles Instruction. Such information will be retained following the State Records Act 1997 (SA) and destruction schedules issued under that Act.
In relation to information obtained to identify an individual for the purposes of early childhood education and care applications, information may be disclosed in line with Australian Privacy Principle 9.2 and Schedule 1, Part 3, Clause 9 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
As detailed in the ISO Standard – Guidelines for complaints handling, the following principles are the foundation for effective and efficient handling of complaints:
- Commitment – The organisation should be actively committed to defining and implementing a complaints-handling process.
- Transparency – The complaints-handling process should be clearly communicated and publicly available. Individual complainants should be provided with adequate information about the handling of their complaint.
- Accessibility – A complaints-handling process should be easily accessible to all complainants.
- Responsiveness – The organisation should address the needs and expectations of customers with respect to complaints handling.
- Objectivity – Each complaint should be addressed in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner through the complaints-handling process.
- Confidentiality – Personally identifiable information concerning the complainant should be available where needed, but only for the purposes of addressing the complaint within the organisation and should be actively protected from disclosure, unless the customer or complainant expressly consents to its disclosure or disclosure is required by law.
Feedback and complaint information is handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles Instruction.
- Customer-focused approach – The organisation should adopt a customer-focused approach with respect to handling complaints and should be open to feedback.
- Accountability – The organisation should establish and maintain accountability for, and reporting on, the decisions and actions with respect to complaints handling.
- Improvement – Increased effectiveness and efficiency of the complaints-handling process should be a permanent objective of the organisation.
- Timeliness – Complaints should be handled as expeditiously as feasible given the nature of the complaint and of the process used.
An effective and responsive and complaints and feedback management framework is maintained by the Board to support consistent, timely and appropriate management of feedback and complaints.
Both positive and negative feedback is valued. All complaints will be taken seriously, and every effort will be made to ensure they are handled in a fair and transparent manner. When complaints are received, they will be assessed, prioritised, documented and recorded.
Good communication will be maintained throughout the process, including prompt acknowledgement, information about expected timeframes, detailed outcomes and avenues of review.
How to make a complaint
Complaints about the Board, an early childhood education and care service or educator or school may be made on the website by following the relevant link for the complaint type.
Supporting all people with a complaint
The Board will ensure its processes are flexible and sensitive to individuals’ needs by providing support where required throughout the complaints process.
Managing unreasonable conduct
All complainants will be treated with fairness and respect. However, complaints must be lodged respectfully. Behaviour that is aggressive, violent, disrespectful or abusive will not be tolerated.
Employee safety and wellbeing is paramount when dealing with unreasonable behaviour under the Board’s workplace health and safety and duty of care obligations. There is a need to balance the right for someone to make a complaint with employee rights to safety and respect.
Receipt of complaints or negative feedback will be acknowledged within three working days using the complainants preferred communication method.
The Board aims to resolve complaints within 21 working days unless an earlier date is otherwise decided. The complainant will be contacted at the midway point (approximately 10 working days following receipt of the complaint) to provide an update on the status of their complaint.
The Board is committed to ensuring the complainant is informed of progress of the complaint review and assessment. If a complaint cannot be resolved within 21 working days, the complainant will be advised when an outcome is expected.
Complaints will be addressed in an equitable, objective, and unbiased manner. The Board may:
- give the complainant information or an explanation to assist in understanding a process or how to resolve their complaint with an early childhood education and care service or school
- gather information from the service, school, person or area relating to the complaint
- investigate the claims made in the complaint.
Providing reasons for decisions
The complainant will receive:
- a detailed response that addresses all aspects of their complaint including the outcome, action taken and reasons for the decision
- the remedy or resolutions proposed or implemented; and
- options available to them for review.
Closing the complaint
The Board will retain records which detail:
- how the complaint was managed
- the outcome of the complaint
- any recommendations or decisions made
- any outstanding actions that need to be implemented.
At the end of the investigation, the cause of the complaint will be reviewed to assist with identifying trends and opportunities for improvement. The Board will ensure that, where appropriate or necessary, complaint outcomes are implemented and monitored.
Complainants will be advised of their review options should they be dissatisfied with the outcome they receive.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the complaint outcome, the complainant may request an internal review be conducted by the Chief Executive through completion of a new Complaints and Feedback form or via email to the ESB Feedback inbox.
The Chief Executive will aim to review the matter within 21 working days (unless an earlier date is otherwise decided), providing an update to the complainant on the status of their complaint at the midway point (approximately 10 working days following receipt of the request for internal review ).
If a complaint cannot be resolved within 21 working days, the complainant will be advised when an outcome is expected.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the complaint outcome following internal review, they may make a complaint to:
- Ombudsman SA – for complaints about administrative acts, misconduct and maladministration.
- SA Privacy Committee – for complaints that may be a breach of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet Information Privacy Principles.
- Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – for complaints about the handling of personal information by an organisation the Privacy Act 1988 covers.
- National Education and Care Services FOI and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsman – for complaints about policies, decisions, processes, or actions of an agency or its staff. The complaint must fall within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman or Commissioners to investigate.
The circumstances of the complaint will influence whether the option of an external review is available.
Reporting and review
The quality and effectiveness of our complaint management framework will regularly be assessed and monitored. Information collected will be used to assist in identifying trends, measuring customer service quality and making service improvements.
This information will also be used to meet the Board’s annual reporting requirements in accordance with accordance with DPC Circular PC 013 – Annual Reporting Requirements. Only de-identified data will be used for public reporting to protect the privacy of individuals.