Parent Complaints and Grievance

4Introduction

4Girrinbai preschool values the feedback of educators, staff, families and the wider community as a mechanism to support the continuous improvement of our service. 

4Goals

4We take complaints and grievances seriously and manage them in a confidential, timely, transparent and meaningful way.

4We achieve this by:

Maintaining the confidentiality of all parties in line with policy and legislative requirements;

Acknowledging that the common goal is to achieve an outcome acceptable to all parties;

Acting in good faith and in a calm and courteous manner;

Showing respect and understanding of each other’s point of view and value difference, rather than judge and blame; and

Recognising that all parties have rights and responsibilities which must be respected.

Ensuring that complainants will not suffer any reprisals from making a complaint.


4

Strategies

Raising a Grievance

This policy will be made available to all families on enrolment, will be included in newsletters as a reminder throughout the year, and a copy will be available at all times in the sign in area of each room for easy reference. 

Families may provide complaints or raise a grievance directly to the child’s educator, the Director (Nominated Supervisor) or the Committee ( Approved Provider) .

Responsiveness

All complaints and grievances will be acknowledged and responded to as soon as practicable. Complaints will be dealt with in a timely manner and complainants will be kept informed about the progress of their complaint and anticipated timeframes. Allegations of suspected harm or risk of harm to a child or possible victims of crime, will be actioned immediately by urgent referral or reporting to the relevant agency.

Managing Grievance from Families

Where possible, complaints and grievances will be dealt with immediately, by the child’s educator as this is usually the person with the closest relationship with the family. If the grievance is about an issue that the educator considers to be outside their control, or the family does not feel they wish to share it with the educator, the grievance will be directed to the appropriate person for their complaint to be resolved.

Where an educator believes they will have to share a confidence with another person in order to resolve and issue, or of the nature of a grievance requires that a third party has to be informed in order to meet legislative requirements, they will inform the family of the need prior to any further discussions on the matter.

The complaint or grievance will be documented and any legal requirements in relation to the complaint considered, such as the need to notify regulatory authorities.

The complainant will be asked to provide information regarding how the situation could be rectified to their satisfaction.

If possible, the problem will be resolved immediately. If this is not possible, the complainant will be advised that the issue will be given high priority and dealt with as soon as possible.

If the issues are complex the complainant will be asked to put their concerns in writing.

Where mediation is required all parties will have the right to agree to the appointment of the mediator.

Notifiable Complaint

Complaints alleging that the safety, health or wellbeing of a child was or is being compromised, or that the law has been breached must be reported by the Approved Provider to the Regulatory Authority within 24 hours of the complaint being made (Section 174(2)(b), Regulation 176(2) (b)). Written reports must include:

Details of the event or incident;

The name of the person who initially made the complaint;

If appropriate, the name of the child concerned and the condition of the child, including a medical or incident report (where relevant); and

Any other relevant information.

Written notification of complaints must be submitted using the appropriate forms, which can be found on the ACECQA website: www.acecqa.gov.au 

Direct Complaints

Families can make a complaint directly to the Regulatory Authority where the complaint alleges that:

The safety, health or wellbeing of a child or children was or is being compromised while that child or children is or are being educated and cared for by the approved service.

The relevant legislation has been contravened.

Contact details are displayed in the foyer of the service.

Follow-up and Review

Each complaint will be viewed as an opportunity for improvement. After the complaint or grievance has been dealt with, we will:

Analyse the complaint to determine if any policy or procedural changes need to be implemented.

The Approved Provider will follow through to determine that complaints and grievances have been successfully resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Families will be contacted to determine if they were satisfied with the way the issue was resolved, and educators’ will be consulted about the outcome from an operational viewpoint.

Role and Responsibilities

The Approved Provider will:

When a complaint or grievance has been assessed as ‘notifiable’, the Approved Provider must notify Regulatory Authority within 24 hours.

In instances where the complainant reports directly to the Regulatory Authority, the Approved Provider will still have responsibility for investigating and dealing with the complaint or grievance as outlined in this policy, in addition to co-operating with any investigation by the Regulatory Authority.

Identify, prevent and address potential concerns before they become formal complaints or grievances.

Ensure the name and telephone number of the person to whom complaints and grievances may be addressed are displayed prominently at the main entrance of the service.

Ensure the address and telephone number of the Regulatory Authority is displayed prominently at the main entrance of the service.

Ensure that this policy is available for inspection at the service at all times.

Provide a Complaints and Grievances Register.


The Nominated Supervisor will:

Respond to and resolve issues as they arise where practicable.

Discuss minor complaints directly with the party involved as a first step towards resolution.

Inform complainants of the service’s complaints and grievances policy recording all complaints and grievances in the complaints and grievances register.

Notify the Approved Provider if the complaint escalates or is unable to be resolved appropriately in a timely manner.

Provide information as requested by the Approved Provider in a timely manner.

Comply with the service’s privacy and confidentiality policy and maintaining confidentiality at all times.

Work co-operatively with the Approved Provider, in any investigations related to a complaint made.

Advise families and any other new members of the service of the complaints and grievances policy and procedures upon enrolment.

Maintain a record of complaints and grievances register that details grievances, steps taken and outcomes.


Educators will:

Ensure grievances and complaints from families are dealt with in accordance with this policy.

Report any grievances and complaints to the Nominated Supervisor and maintain all

relevant documentation.

As requested, support the Nominated Supervisor and Approved Provider in the above roles.


Families will:

Raise a complaint or grievance directly with the person involved, in an attempt to resolve the matter without recourse to the complaints and grievances procedures. 

Raise any unresolved issues or serious concerns directly with the Committee via the Director or staff

Maintain complete confidentiality at all times.

Co-operate with requests to provide relevant information when requested in relation to complaints and grievances.


Evaluation

Families feel secure, confident and empowered to address any problems, concerns or complaints with their colleagues, the Director and Committee.


Statutory Legislation and Considerations

Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011

Guide to the National Quality Standard (3) ACEQUA (2011)

Sources

Jorde Bloom,P (2003).  Leadership In Action. New Horizons, Illinois

Carter, M & Curtis, D (2010). The Visionary Director (2nd Ed). Redleaf Press, St Paul:MN

NSW Ombudsman (2004). ‘Effective Complaint Handling’. NSW Ombudsman

NSW Ombudsman (2009). ‘Complaint Handling Kit’. NSW Ombudsman www.nswombudsman.nsw.gov.au

Fair Work Australia www.fwa.gov.au

Early Childhood Australia, Code of Ethics (www.earlychildhood.org.au)

Conflict Resolution Network www.crnhg.org 

4Links to National Quality Standards:  Quality Area 7

Girrinbai Preschool

Staff Grievance

Introduction

In a professional group setting with employees and educators of differing ages, backgrounds and beliefs, it is essential to provide a clear system to assist in resolving differences and managing grievances. Grievances are effectively minimised by having open and honest communication, a culture of support and mutual respect among employees, and systems to effectively resolve matters in a timely manner.

Goals

Girrinbai preschool is committed to supporting harmonious working relationships as well as the mental and emotional wellbeing of all staff through providing clear systems and guidelines for addressing and resolving grievances that reflect procedural fairness and natural justice. All employees  have the opportunity to raise concerns about issues or situations that concern them and to have these grievances heard and acted upon.

Strategies

We provide an environment for all employees that is inclusive of open communication and the opportunity to improve professional practices through honest, respectful interactions. Educators are always encouraged to communicate openly with the Director and other educators and to discuss any concerns informally, or at staff and team meetings. Working as a team is  encouraged, and having respect for other members of the team is imperative.

The following values underpin the management and resolution of grievances:

procedural fairness and natural justice;

ECA code of ethics

Staff code of conduct;

a service culture free from discrimination and harassment;

transparent policies and procedures;

avenues for recourse and further investigation.

The Grievance Policy ensures that all staff are provided with procedures that:

value the opportunity to be heard;

promote conflict resolution;

encourage the development of harmonious partnerships

ensure that conflicts and grievances are mediated fairly;

are transparent and equitable.



Flow Chart for Grievances

1.Employee to approach the colleague in a confidential and respectful manner and attempt to resolve the grievance.



2.Employee to approach the Director (if the grievance is in relation to Director, employee should refer to this as Step 1. Should the employee not be able to approach Director they should move immediately to Step 3)




3.Employee to approach the Committee Liaison Officer




4.Employee to approach the Committee President


It is NOT ethical to involve other employees or families in an individual concern, and it is not ethical to have that concern affect staff relationships. It is also not appropriate to involve outside agencies before seeing the Nominated Supervisor / Committee as per this policy.


Roles and Responsibilities

The Nominated Supervisor will

-Ensure all employees are informed of grievance policy

-Ensure all employees involved in grievance are treated impartially and confidentiality – if there may be issues or concerns that restrict the ability to treat individuals involved impartially then inform the Committee Liaison Officer immediately.

-Ensure that no employee is disadvantaged or victimised as a result of being involved in the grievance process.

-Undertake mediation meetings with Nominated Supervisor / Colleagues/ Committee ( if required) Mediation meetings will conclude with a resolution and a plan of action including timeline.

-Only relevant employees will be advised of the outcomes of any grievances and resolutions.

Employees will

-Address grievances, disputes, concerns and complaints in a timely manner and at a local level where possible. Grievances should detail specific behaviour, suggested solutions or negotiations and final outcomes required – mediation meetings may be required in order to reach solutions.  

-Raise grievances in a private and quiet manner away from other staff/children/families directly to the colleague involved.

-If direct discussion with colleague is not possible, raise the grievance with the Director.

-Participate where required in mediation meetings with Nominated Supervisor / Colleagues/ Committee. Mediation meetings will conclude with a resolution and a plan of action including timeline.

Trade Union

Employees who belong to a trade union may contact the union at any time if they have major concerns that have been unresolved at centre level. In accordance with the relevant awards:

If the grievance is not resolved at the local level, it will be further discussed between the affected employee(s), the union delegate (if any) or contact and the employer.  Both the employer's industrial representative and the employee's union representative may be notified.

If no agreement is reached the union representative or contact will discuss the matter with the employer's nominated industrial relations representative. 

Whilst the foregoing procedure is being followed work shall continue normally.  No party shall be prejudiced as to the final settlement by the continuance of work. (see relevant award for further details)

Should the matter still not be resolved it may be referred by the parties to the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales for settlement.

Evaluation

Employees feel secure, confident and empowered to address any problems, concerns or complaints with their colleagues, the Director and Committee. Employee grievances are managed and resolved in a timely and effective manner.

Statutory Legislation and Considerations

NSW Industrial Relations Act 1996

Fair Work Act 2009

Children’s Services Award 2010

Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010

Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011

National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care (2009)

Sources

Jorde Bloom,P (2003).  Leadership In Action. New Horizons, Illinois

Carter, M & Curtis, D (2010). The Visionary Director (2nd Ed). Redleaf Press, St Paul:MN

NSW Ombudsman (2004). ‘Effective Complaint Handling’. NSW Ombudsman

NSW Ombudsman (2009). ‘Complaint Handling Kit’. NSW Ombudsman www.nswombudsman.nsw.gov.au

Fair Work Australia www.fwa.gov.au

Early Childhood Australia, Code of Ethics (www.earlychildhood.org.au)

Conflict Resolution Network www.crnhg.org 


4Links to Accreditation Principles:  Quality Area 7