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Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures

1. About the VCAA

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is a statutory body continued under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic).

The mission of the VCAA Is to provide high quality curriculum, assessment and reporting that enables individual lifelong learning. The VCAA is responsible to the Minister for Education, the Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, and the Minister for Higher Education and Skills. There are three Divisions in the VCAA: Assessment, Curriculum, and Infrastructure and Business Support. Further information about the VCAA is available at its website: www.vcaa.vic.edu.au

The VCAA upholds, and expects anyone engaged in its work to uphold, the Victorian Public Sector values: responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, accountability, respect, leadership and human rights.

For more information about the Public Sector Values, refer to http://vpsc.vic.gov.au/ethics-behaviours-culture/public-sector-values/

2. Policy

The VCAA takes complaints seriously. We are committed to dealing with any complaints about how we deliver services and deal with our clients and members of the public, in a timely, consistent, thorough, sensitive and fair manner.  We attend to complaints promptly, whether made by letter, email or telephone call, directly or through the responsible Minister or an external complaints body.

The VCAA welcomes your comments, suggestions and complaints, as they help us improve our services and how we provide them.

You can complain about any aspect of the service provided, or not provided, by the VCAA, the behaviour or decisions of staff, or practices, policies or procedures.

The policy and procedures in this document apply to all clients of the VCAA and members of the public.

3. Procedures

A. How to make a complaint

Summary:

In the first instance, local, informal resolution of complaints is preferred (see section (i) below).  However if you are unable to resolve a complaint in this way, complaints should be made formally to the Executive Director, Planning, Strategy and Corporate Support (see section (ii) below).

(i) Informal complaints

Any complaints about the way you have been treated by the VCAA should first be directed to the person you have dealt with.  Your complaint may be in writing (email or letter) or verbal.  Where possible, that person will discuss the complaint informally with you and try to resolve it.  If you are reluctant to talk to that person or they are unable to resolve the complaint, you will be given the opportunity to speak with their supervisor.  Alternatively, serious matters may be raised directly as formal complaints (see section (ii) below).

At this level, the VCAA staff member (or their supervisor) may take a number of actions, apart from discussing the complaint with you, including reviewing any correspondence and file records, and discussing the matter with other members of staff, to determine whether the VCAA has acted fairly, appropriately and in accordance with its policies and procedures.

A response to your complaint can be expected within 10 working days of the complaint being made.

(ii) Formal complaints

If you are not satisfied with the response you received after raising your complaint with the staff member concerned (or their supervisor), you may lodge a formal complaint in writing, directed to:

Ms Lea Saddington
Executive Director, Planning, Strategy and Corporate Support
Infrastructure and Business Services Division
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
Level 7
2 Lonsdale Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Complaints about:

  • VCE Examination content 
  • Senior secondary curriculum
  • F-10 Curriculum
  • Early Learning

Dr Mary Oski, Executive Director
Curriculum Division
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
Level 7
2 Lonsdale Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Complaints about:

  • the conduct or marking of VCE examinations (including the General Achievement Test)
  • National Assessment Program (NAPLAN)

Mr Joe Pellegrino
Executive Director, Assessment and Reporting Division
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
Level 7
2 Lonsdale Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Please provide as much relevant information as possible, including

  • if you are complaining on behalf of someone else, your relationship to that person, and proof of their authorization to complain on their behalf
  • relevant dates, places and times
  • a description of the incident or problem
  • details of any phone conversation or meetings
  • details of who you have contacted previously and their response/s
  • any explanations that you think are important
  • copies of correspondence and any other relevant documents (if appropriate) – keep the originals
  • the outcome you seek
  • any other information you wish to be considered.

Upon receipt of your written complaint, it will be investigated by the supervisor of the staff member/s named in the complaint – this may be a unit manager, director, executive director or the Chief Executive Officer, according to the seniority of the staff member/s concerned.  Investigation of a complaint may involve consultation within or beyond the VCAA.  Responses may be escalated to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) where appropriate, for example on a matter of seriousness or complexity requiring the CEO’s approval where the complaint has not otherwise come through his office.

The person investigating your complaint will review what happened and respond to you in writing within 20 working days.  Depending on the subject matter and complexity of your complaint, more time may be needed to investigate and respond.  If this is the case, you will be advised within the 20 day initial response period, and kept informed of progress.  

B. What you can expect

When handling complaints, we will:

  • Provide information that is helpful, accurate, and easy to understand
  • Be courteous and considerate in our communication
  • Promptly refer requests to the appropriate person
  • Keep you informed of progress or delays
  • Aim to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, or explain why this is not possible
  • Take remedial action where necessary.

C. Privacy and confidentiality

All parties to a complaint are expected to treat the matter confidentially. This requires everyone, including the complainant, to ensure that information is restricted to those who genuinely need to know, and those people are told only as much as they need to know in order for a complaint to be investigated and resolved.  Natural justice and procedural fairness may require that your complaint is discussed with the person you have complained about.  The collection, use and disclosure of your information for these purposes is done in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001.

Note that different provisions apply to Protected Disclosures, and these are dealt with according to laws, rules and procedures outside this policy (see sections G and H below).

D. Anonymous complaints

Anonymous complaints will be accepted.  However, it may not be possible to investigate the matters thoroughly or at all, without sufficient information.  It will not be possible to provide a response to an anonymous complainant.

E. Unreasonable complaints

The VCAA may decline to consider an unreasonable complaint.  An unreasonable complaint is one that is vexatious, trivial or frivolous in nature, such as a complaint that is: 

  • an abuse of the complaint process
  • not made in good faith
  • an attempt to reopen an issue that has already been resolved by raising the same, or similar, issues again
  • the result of unreasonable complainant behaviour.

You will be informed if we consider your complaint is unreasonable.

F. Outside VCAA jurisdiction/not related to VCAA

The VCAA will assess your complaint to determine whether it relates to our organisation and if not, whether it is more appropriately dealt with by another body.  The VCAA will let you know if your complaint is outside its jurisdiction, and suggest another body or bodies that may be able to assist you.  The VCAA reserves the right to refer your complaint on, for example in the case of alleged criminal conduct.

G. Appeals about specific matters

Appeals and requests for review forming part of specific VCAA processes are dealt with separately, in accordance with applicable processes and requirements, and are outside the scope of this document.

For more information, refer to the sources listed below.

Teacher error: see Section 5 of Administrative Information: Schools and Providers in the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2017 (Admin Handbook) available online at www.vcaa.vic.edu.au

Student appeals against school decisions for School-based Assessment:  see Section 13 of Scored assessment School-based Assessment in the Admin Handbook.

Student application to Appeals Committee, to appeal decision of Review Committee in relation to breach of examination rules: see Review by an Appeal Committee in section 6 of Scored assessment: External assessment in the Admin Handbook.

Special provision: see the Special Provision section of the Admin Handbook.

Student Examination Reassessment Applications:  see Final Results: Reporting to Students in the Admin Handbook.

Privacy: complaints relating to the collection or handling of personal or health information are dealt with pursuant to procedures set out in the VCAA’s Privacy Policy, available online at www.vcaa.vic.edu.au

H. Protected Disclosures

The VCAA is not a body that may receive protected disclosures, pursuant to the Protected Disclosures Act 2012 (Vic).

A disclosure about the VCAA, or one of its employees, officers, staff or Board members should be made to the Independent Broad-based Corruption Commission.

http://www.ibac.vic.gov.au

Level 1, North Tower
459 Collins Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Telephone: 1300 735 135
Fax: (03) 8635 6444

I. Taking your complaint further

If you are not satisfied with the VCAA’s response to your complaint, you may wish to seek advice from other bodies, including:

Ombudsman Victoria
http://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

Level 2
570 Bourke Street
MELBOURNE  VIC  3000

Telephone:
(03) 9613 6222
International: +61 3 9613 6222
Toll Free (regional only): 1800 806 314
Interpreter services:
Via telephone - 131 450
TTY (teletypewriter): 
Call 133 677 then 03 9613 622
Speak and Listen users: Call 1300 555 727 then 03 9613 6222

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au

Level 3, 204 Lygon Street
CARLTON  VIC   3053

Telephone: 1300 891 848
Hearing impaired (TTY): 1300 289 621
Interpreters: 1300 152 494

Comissioner for Privacy and Data Protection
PO Box 24014
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Telephone:
Local call within Australia: 1300 666 444
From outside Australia: +61 3 8619 8719