If you would like to follow up on a complaint or grievance this document may help you with frequently asked questions.
MacKillop Catholic College has a responsibility to act wisely, with justice and compassion, maintaining the dignity and equality of all in our community. The College has both a desire and a responsibility to ensure that high standards of conduct are maintained by staff and students at all times, and those grievances are managed and resolved fairly, efficiently, promptly and in accordance with relative legislation and The Tasmanian Catholic Education Commission (TCEC) School Grievance Policy.
At MacKillop Catholic College, we are committed to providing a pleasant work environment for all employees and students. We acknowledge, however, that employees, parents/guardians and students may sometimes feel aggrieved because something that has happened, or is happening, in the working or learning environment at the College appears to be discriminatory or to constitute harassment or bullying. A staff member, parent/guardian or students may complain about behaviour, an act or omission by other staff or student or any decision that he or she considers to be discriminatory or to constitute harassment or bullying. A grievance/complaint may be made about a person, system or procedure.
MacKillop Catholic College has embraced the principles of restorative practice which has a specific goal in mind: to support and facilitate the building of healthy relationships. It has been proven that when individuals live in healthy and life-giving relationships with significant others there is abundant personal growth, capacity for character building and a high level of achievement in all areas of endeavour. This practice will underpin the grievance/complaint-handling procedure.
The College’s procedure has been developed for handling grievance/complaints made by staff, parents/guardians and students in accordance with the existing Tasmanian Catholic Education Office Grievance Policy. The benefits of having a grievance/complaint handling procedure are that it:
- makes it clear that the College takes grievance/complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying seriously;
- can prevent an issue escalating;
- helps to ensure that grievances/complaints are dealt with in a consistent manner;
- reduces the likelihood that it will become necessary for an external agency to become involved, which can be time consuming, costly and damaging to the public image of the College;
- enables the College to recognise patterns of unacceptable conduct, and to respond by developing prevention strategies in particular areas; and
- reduces the risk of liability being incurred under State or Federal Anti-Discrimination Legislation.
Our aim, in handling grievances/complaints, is to resolve matters as quickly as possible, and as close to the source as possible. There are two processes available for the resolution of grievances/complaints under MacKillop Catholic College’s grievance/complaint-handling procedure: an informal process and a formal process.
- Where possible, a staff member or student who has a grievance/complaint is encouraged to attempt to resolve the matter through the informal process, in the first instance. However, it is recognised that the formal process may be more appropriate in some cases. Further, staff, parents/guardians and students retain the right to seek advice, or lodge a grievance/complaint, under the relevant State or Federal legislation at any time during the grievance/complaint handling process.
- Confidentiality. Confidentiality is vital. Confidentiality requirements apply equally to the complainant, the respondent, witnesses, management and the grievance/complaint handler. In order to maintain confidentiality, the number of people who know about the grievance/complaint and related information should be kept to a minimum, and everyone involved in the grievance/complaint-handling process should only discuss the grievance/complaint, or related issues, with those who need to know about it. A breach of confidentiality is regarded as a serious issue, and may result in disciplinary action.
- No Repercussions. It is essential that there be no repercussions for making a grievance/complaint or acting as a witness in an investigation. A person must not be disadvantaged or victimised because he or she has made, or intends to make, a grievance/complaint or has acted as a witness or intends to do so. Any appearance or allegation of discriminatory treatment or victimisation will be investigated, and may result in disciplinary action.
- Impartiality. Impartiality in the grievance/complaints handling process is critical. Every grievance/complaint made will be managed from an impartial point of view. This means that no assumptions will be made, no conclusions will be drawn and no action will be taken, until all the relevant information has been collected and considered fully.
- Procedural fairness. It is also critical that the rule of procedural fairness be observed. When a grievance/complaint is dealt with through the formal process, the person handling the grievance/complaint will observe the rules of procedural fairness.
- Timeliness. It is important that grievances/complaints are resolved as quickly as possible. For this reason, the resolution of grievance/complaints will be given priority over other work.
- Support for complainant and respondent. It is also important that both the complainant and the respondent have access to a support person, during the grievance/complaint handling process, and afterwards if necessary.
This requires that:
- the person about whom the grievance/complaint is made (‘the respondent’) is fully informed of the allegations made against him or her;
- the respondent is given a hearing that is an opportunity to respond to the allegations, and to raise any matters in his or her defence;
- the allegations are properly investigated, all parties heard and relevant submissions considered;
- irrelevant matters are not taken into account;
- the person making the grievance/complaint (‘the complainant’) is not involved in determining the outcome of the grievance/complaint-handling process;
- the decision-maker acts fairly and without bias; and
- the parties to the grievance/complaint are kept informed throughout the process.
If you would like to view the procedure in regard to lodging a grievance/complaint, please refer to our How to lodge a grievance document.