Complaints and grievances policy

Purpose
To ensure families have the opportunity to comment on, register complaints, or appeal any aspect of FIRST IDEA FAMILY DAY CARE SERVICES, SERVICE.

Scope
These guidelines will apply to the Approved provider, nominated supervisor, educational leader, supervisors, educators, staff, students on placement, volunteers, parents/guardian, children and others attending the service.

Objective
To ensure any complaint is given due importance and made sure it has been resolved to meet the needs of the involved party/parties, through a proper procedure.

To make sure all the stakeholders understand that the, complaints and grievances, if dealt with professionally and timely and with appropriate communication techniques, such as putting the child first, listening and seeking resolution for all involved, are opportunities for services to improve and grow professionally and reputably.

Definitions:
Complaints and Grievances Register:

(In relation to this policy) records information about complaints and grievances received at the service, together with a record of the outcomes. This register must be kept in a secure file, accessible only to educators and Responsible Persons at the service. The register can provide valuable information to the Approved Provider on meeting the needs of children and families at the service.

General complaint:
A general complaint may address any aspect of the service e.g. a lost clothing item or the service’s fees. Services do not have to inform DET, but the complaint must be dealt with as soon as is practicable to avoid escalation of the issue.

Grievance:
A grievance is a formal statement of complaint that cannot be addressed immediately and involves matters of a more serious nature e.g. the service is in breach of a policy or the service did not meet the care expectations of a family.

Complaint:
A complaint that alleges a breach of the Act or Regulation, or alleges that the health, safety or wellbeing of a child at the service may have been compromised. Any complaint of this nature must be reported by the Approved Provider to the secretary of DET within 24 hours of the complaint being made (Section 174(2)(b), Regulation 176(2)(b)). If the Approved Provider is unsure whether the matter is a notifiable complaint, it is good practice to contact DET for confirmation. Written reports to DET 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)
  • contact details of a nominated member of the Grievances Subcommittee/investigator
  • 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

Statement
At FIRST IDEA FAMILY DAY CARE SERVICES, we understand and recognize that ALL stakeholders have a duty of care to ensure the safety of each other but particularly children. We recognise that at times there may be reasons and circumstances that lead to grievances and the need to complain. We aim to treat any and all complaints with respect, fairness and acceptance and will aim to seek a resolution to suit all parties involved and will implement procedures outlines in this document to ensure equity.

Approved Providers responsible for:

  • Implementing this policy in collaboration with the ‘Confidentiality policy and procedures and ‘Code of conduct policy procedures ‘
  • Ensuring the name and telephone number of the person to whom complaints and grievances may be addressed to is displayed in the registered office and at each educator’s home predominantly at the entrance.
  • Ensuring that the address and telephone number of the Authorised Officer at the Department of Education and Training regional office is displayed for stakeholders
  • Notifying Department of Education and Training within 24 hours of a serious incident or a complaint alleging legislation was breached in accordance with Education and Care Regulations r.176
  • Notifying Department of Education and Training within 7 days of complaint which is considered a ‘non-serious’ incident such as a complaint received stating eg. Something that is considered unsatisfactory or unacceptable such as inadequate resources in educational program- in accordance with Education and Care Regulations r.174
  • Responding to all complaints and grievances raised in the most appropriate manner and at the earliest opportunity (fair, with an open mind) and treat each party equal
  • Conduct a review and or investigation of the details of the compliant, findings may include:
  • Support the educator and parent to re-negotiate care and education arrangements
  • Providing all educators with a Complaints and Grievances Register for the recording of complaints – to remain on file
  • Ensuring any incidences are followed-up with a phone call from either the approved provider, educational leader/coordinator or educator within 48 hours (Serious incidents – as soon as practicable) and will be recorded on the appropriate file (child’s / educator / employee /family or approved provider)
  • Providing all stakeholders with regular opportunities (i.e. surveys, meetings) to identify any areas of concern or proposed strategies the service may implement improvements
  • Ensuring the grievance and complaints procedure (attached) is followed and implemented by stakeholders
  • Identifying, preventing and addressing potential concerns before they become formal complaints or grievances
  • Working co-operatively with the approved provider/nominated supervisor and Department of Education and Training (DET) in any investigations related to grievances or complaints

The Nominated Supervisor, Certified Supervisors, educators and other staff are responsible for:

  • responding to and resolving issues as they arise where practicable
  • maintaining professionalism and integrity at all times
  • discussing minor complaints directly with the party involved as a first step towards resolution (the parties are encouraged to discuss the matter professionally and openly work together to achieve a desired outcome)
  • informing complainants of the service’s Complaints and Grievances Policy
  • recording all complaints and grievances in the Complaints and Grievances Register (refer to Definitions)
  • notifying the Approved Provider if the complaint escalates and becomes a grievance (refer to Definitions), is a notifiable complaint (refer to Definitions) or is unable to be resolved appropriately in a timely manner
  • providing information as requested by the Approved Provider e.g. written reports relating to the grievance
  • complying with the service’s Privacy and Confidentiality Policy and maintaining confidentiality at all times (Regulations 181, 183)
  • working co-operatively with the Approved Provider and DET in any investigations related to grievances about First Idea FDC Services, it’s programs or staff.

Families are required to:

  • Raise any complaints, directly with the person involved, in an attempt to resolve the concerns without matter escalating further
  • Raise any unresolved issues or concerns with approved provider or nominated supervisor
  • Maintaining confidentiality at all times when dealing with complaint or grievance
  • Cooperating with requests to meet with the educator, approved provider/nominated supervisor and/or provide relevant information when requested in relation to complaints and grievances

NATIONAL QUALITY FRAMEWORK

Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010

Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011

National Quality Area

161-175

168, 171, 173, 174, 176

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Related Legislation

  • Children’s Health and Wellbeing Act 2009
  • Privacy Act 1988
  • Information Privacy Act 2000
  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
  • Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic.)
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cwlth)

Related Policies
All policies and procedures of the service

References and resources

  • Department of Education and Training (DET)
  • Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
  • Early Childhood Australia – Code of Ethics
  • Early Childhood Australia

REVIEW

POLICY REVIEWED

July 2018

NEXT REVIEW DATE

July 2019

MODIFICATIONS

Policy created for First Idea Family Day Care Services, inclusive of changes to the National Quality Standards and Education and Care National Regulations

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