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Complaints Process

Complaints Implementation Plan

Special Character

As a Special Character – Seventh-day Adventist School, we promote and encourage an atmosphere that is different to the secular world model. The Godhead demonstrates a team model founded on cooperation and love. In order for us to do the same, we connect to Jesus so that He can do the work in us to fulfil our school mission statement which is: Connected to God, Connected to Others, Connected Learning.

If you need a counsellor, Jesus is the one. If you are concerned about a matter and it seems to stress you, pray. Prayer helps resolve the most complex situations and grows our faith and patience to see Jesus do His work. Psalm 24:8 explains to us God’s role in our problems. It reads, “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.” Psalm 24:8 Jesus always wins!

We realise that there are times when a situation needs to be addressed through a formal process. The Bible gives us a text to follow that helps to redeem a person rather than to condemn him/her. Jesus came to redeem us and now He wants us to do the same for others. James 5:9-12 tells us, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” In addition, Philippians 2:14 guides us to “Do all things without complaining and disputing…”


Spirit of Prophecy – E. White

“If we could only see the many dangers from which we are daily preserved by the holy angels, instead of complaining of our trials and misfortunes, we would talk continually of the mercies of God.” The Review and Herald, November 19, 1908.

Purpose

This implementation plan aims to ensure that necessary complaints are sorted out in a way that produces fair process to the complainant and persons complained about. The process attempts to achieve a satisfactory outcome that respects and assists all people involved.

Guidelines:
1. The Board will ensure that complaints are dealt with at the appropriate level.
2. Parents / caregivers / staff will be informed of the school procedure relating to the handling of complaints.
3. All people pertaining to the complaint should be involved in the resolution.
4. The Principal’s role of manager and professional leader requires that the Principal will have a key role in complaint resolution. He/she will ensure that procedures are conducted in accordance with the implementation plan/process.
5. The Principal will inform the Board Chairperson of complaints that are unable to be resolved satisfactory or have potential disciplinary consideration. If the Chairperson and Principal are unable to resolve the matter the Board will be informed. The Board will determine what further action to take, which may include further investigation.
6. The requirement of employment contracts, natural justice and relevant legislation will be complied with.
7. Staff members must respect the authority of the Principal to make decisions on the
administration and management of the school.
8. Complainants have the right to refer the complaint to the Board of Trustees if the matter has not been resolved with the Principal. The Board will only receive complaints in writing, signed by the complainant. Assistance will be given to complainants who have difficulty expressing their complaint in writing.
9. Complaints to the Board will normally be accepted if the complainant has followed the earlier steps of the procedure and is not satisfied with the outcome or the matter is sufficiently serious to warrant the Board’s involvement as the first step.
10. The Board may refer written complaints to the Principal to resolve or investigate. The Principal shall report back to the Board with recommendations.
11. Potential disciplinary matters will be addressed in accordance with relevant disciplinary provisions.
12. Complaints against the Principal, which are not resolved through discussion between the complainant and the Principal shall be referred to the Board Chairperson in writing.
13. Complaints against the Board, individual members or Board policy/actions shall be made to the Board Chairperson in writing.
14. Board members are to regard complaints against individuals made to the Board as confidential and shall not express personal opinions on the matter.
15. Board members with personal knowledge or a conflict of interest should exclude themselves from participating in the complaints procedures.

16. Where a complaint may have a potential disciplinary consequence for an employee they should be advised of their rights to representation. It is important that: The problem is defined. A concise statement of the facts or circumstances of the complaint is made. Establish an agreement on the facts if possible.
18. The problem is owned. Establish respective responsibilities for actions to resolve the complaint. E.g. Principal’s role, staff member’s role, complainant’s role.
19. Reflection is carried out on possible courses of action, including remedy and/or redress, strategies to prevent repetition of the situation and constructive alternative actions if the situation reoccurs.
20. Action is taken. Work for agreement between the parties. Work for acceptable remedy or redress. Evaluate action taken.
21. Record agreement on action and evaluation. Provide copies of agreements, where appropriate, to the complainant, staff member and Principal.
22. If agreement cannot be reached, the Principal should decide on action that is consistent with the appropriate school process, job description and employment contract. This may include informing the Chairperson and referring the matter to the Board for resolution.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Step One
Any complaint should be made to the person it is directed at, during school hours at the school. Where appropriate, and the staff member will be asked to attempt to resolve matters with the complainant. The staff member or the complainant may request the Principal to assist in facilitating a resolution. Any meetings should occur outside class contact time.
Note: As a Special Character school there may be times when you see staff at church or other events/activities. Please do not approach them with complaints during these times as it is inappropriate and takes away from the worship/event.

Step Two
If a satisfactory conclusion is not achieved the complainant may refer the complaint to the Principal. The Principal, or a person delegated by the Principal, will meet with complainant to discuss the complaint and will discuss the complaint with the staff member to whom the complaint is directed at in an attempt to resolve the matter.
The Principal may advise the complainant to submit the complaint in writing to the Board if she/he believes that it is appropriate for the Board to consider the matter.

Step Three
Should the Principal be unable to resolve the matter to the complainant’s satisfaction the complainant may send a written complaint, to the Board of Trustees Chairperson. The Chairperson shall inform the Principal of receipt of the complaint and have the complaint put on the agenda of the next Board meeting. The Chairperson may request that the complainant be more specific as to the nature of the complaint.
The Chairperson, in consultation with the Principal, may investigate to see if the matter can be resolved prior to being discussed by the Board. If the Chairperson is able to resolve the matter then the Board should be informed of the outcome.
The Board may refer written complaints to the Principal to resolve or investigate. The Principal shall report back to the Board with recommendations.
The Board may decide to investigate and determine appropriate action itself or delegate the responsibility to a special committee of the Board.
Before determining action to take the Board should be prepared to seek advice, conduct an appropriate investigation and give matters due consideration.
If the complaint it relates to alleged misconduct the staff member concerned will be advised of the right to representation and the Board shall comply with the requirements of its disciplinary process, the rules of natural justice and the relevant employment contract. Such matters should be conducted in the public excluded section of the Board meeting.
Complaints against the Board should come to the Board directly in writing.

Step Four
The result of any Board decision in relation to a complaint should be forwarded to the relevant parties in writing. A meeting may be required to explain the Board’s decision and to ensure that the parties accept that decision.

CONCLUSION
It is envisaged that this policy will see most complaints resolved without formally coming to the attention of the Board.

Updated 2013

 

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