Early Childhood Education and Care Dealing with Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy

Dealing with complaints and dispute resolution Document no: r 168 2 (o)
Approval date: 1 February 2018
Approved by: Family Services Manager
Review date:   15 June 2018
Responsible Officer: Early Childhood Coordinator Review date: June 2019
Version no:   02
Authorising Officer: Manager Family Services

1. Purpose

The City of Greater Geelong Early Childhood Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services, are committed to resolving issues and remedying dissatisfaction for all stakeholders, to ensure the delivery of quality education and care services that meet expectations. This policy guides how City of Greater Geelong ECEC services manage complaints and seeks resolution for any disputes that may arise.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all ECEC services operated by Family Services as the Approved Service Provider. Any concerns or complaints  raised by parents/ guardians, volunteers, students Parent Advisory Groups, internal or external stakeholders, external Family Support agencies or community members  that have a relationship with the service, shall be acknowledged and every effort made to seek a positive resolution.

Actions must facilitate the safe, confidential, non-discriminatory handling of complaints relating to a service, staff member, educator, policy or procedure

Note: Where issues emerge between the ECEC EYM and an employee, concerns will be addressed through the organisations People and Organisation policies and monitoring policies and procedures.

3. References

  • Education and Care National Regulations 2011 (Amendments 2017)
  • Education and Care National Law Act 2010 (Amendments 2017)
  • Education and Care National Quality Standard
  • Early Years Management Policy Guidelines
  • Kindergarten Funding Guide
  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic), as amended 2014
  • Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic), as amended 2016
  • Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), as amended 2016
  • The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) (Public Sector) (repeals Information Privacy Act 2000) 
  • National Quality Standard, Quality Area 7: Leadership and Service Management Working with Children Act 2005
  • Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)
  • Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Act 2017
  • Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012
  • Child Safe Standards

4. ECEC Policy Statement

Family Services ECEC EYM is committed to:

  • providing an environment of mutual respect and open communication, where the expression of opinions is encouraged
  • complying with all legislative and statutory requirements
  • dealing with complaints and disputes, in a respectful, timely and professional manner
  • complainants are treated with respect, fairness and equity at all times
  • ensure mechanisms to promote prompt, efficient and satisfactory resolution of complaints and disputes are implemented equitably across all service types
  • maintaining confidentiality at all times.

Family Services Early Childhood Education and Care Service Management will:

  • ensure that the name and telephone number of the Responsible Person to whom complaints may be addressed are displayed prominently at the main entrance of the service
  • ensure that the address and telephone number of the Quality Assessment and Regulation Division at the DET regional office are displayed prominently at the main entrance of the service
  • advise parents/guardians and any other new members of ECEC of the complaints and grievances policy and procedures upon enrolment
  • ensure there are clear a written policy and procedures for the handling of complaints by parents, staff, educators, children, Department of Education and Training (DET) or by a member of the general public.
  • ensure that procedures are regularly reviewed and consistently followed.
  • ensure all stakeholders are supported throughout the complaints process.
  • ensure a satisfactory outcome for all parties, where possible.
  • notify (DET) within 24 hrs if a complaint relates to the safety, health or wellbeing of a child or where a child’s safety, health or wellbeing was compromised or where relevant legislation has been contravened.
  • take all complaints of a serious nature such as, where a child’s safety, health or wellbeing was compromised or where relevant legislation has been contravened, the complaint must be reported to a coordinator or Family Services Manager as soon as practical.

Services Managemenet, Teachers and Educators will:

  • ensure continuity of quality service provision for all children and families accessing the service: and
  • work in alignment with the all relevant legislations and guidelines, including but not limited to the Education and Care National Regulations 2011,(Amendments 2017), Education and Care National Law Act 2010 (Amendments 2017), National Quality Standard and EYM Policy Framework. (see list above)
  • familiarise themselves with the Dealing with Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy and relation procedures.
  • support colleagues, students, volunteers to understand their responsibilities relating to managing a complaint.
  • take all complaints seriously and ensure service complaint procedures are followed immediately.
  • make every attempt to identify, and addressing potential concerns before they become formal complaints/grievances
  • report all complaints to the Centre Director (CD) or Centre Manager (CM) as soon as practical.  The absence of the  CD or CM, the complaint must be reported to a coordinator or Family Services Manager.
  • provide information as requested by ECEC EYM to contribute to the investigation e.g. written reports relating to the complaint or dispute
  • complying with the service's Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and maintaining confidentiality at all times
  • working co-operatively with ECEC EYM and DET in any investigations related to complaints or disputes about a the service, it's programs, teachers, educators, or administration

Families will:

  • communicate opening and respectful with teachers and educators alerting them to any minor issues with the intend of seeking support and resolution before the issue escalates
  • make every attempt identify, and addressing with the service any potential concerns before they become formal complaints/grievances
  • familiarise themselves with the Dealing with Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy and relation procedures
  • address staff and/or management if they would like to make a complaint (preferably in writing).
  • raising any unresolved issues or serious concerns directly with Family Services as the representative of the Approved Provider,
  • maintaining complete confidentiality at all times

6. Lodging a formal complaint

In the situation where a concern has not been adequately addressed or the complainant is unable or unwilling to seek resolution with the service or the  ECEC EYM directly the following process can be followed:

The Department will work with the parties to resolve the issues by:

  • understanding the respective concerns
  • assessing and articulating the potential impact on achieving the priorities listed above
  • consulting with other relevant stakeholders, including local government, to understand broader community needs and impact on service provision.

7. Evaluation

In order to assess whether the values and purposes of the policy have been achieved, the Approved Provider will:

  • monitor complaints to assess whether satisfactory resolutions have been achieved
  • review the effectiveness of the policy and procedures to ensure that all complaints have been dealt with in a supportive, respectful, fair and timely manner
  • keep the policy up to date with current legislation, research, policy and best practice
  • revise the policy and procedures as part of the service's policy review cycle, or as required
  • notify parents/guardians of any changes to this policy.

8. Quality Records

  • City of Greater Geelong’s Complaints Register

9. Sources



10. Associated Service Documents

  • Child Safe Policy (CoGG)
  • Code of Conduct (CoGG)
  • Enrolment and Orientation Policy
  • Providing a Child Safe Environment
  • Interactions with Children Policy
  • Staffing Policy
  • Staffing – Determining the Responsible Person
  • Family Services Annual ECEC Notice to Families Terms and Conditions
  • Parent Advisory Group Hand Book and Terms of Reference
  • ECEC Services Handbook

11. Attachments


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