Grievance
Policy 2021

Forming part of: Giant Steps Tasmania’s Personnel Manual

GRIEVANCE POLICY, 2021

Forming part of: Giant Steps Tasmania’s Personnel Manual

Policy Statement

A copy of this policy and attached addenda is available on the school’s website, is given to parents/ carers on enrolment of a student and to staff members during their induction.

All staff of Giant Steps Tasmania have the right to a safe working environment and all staff, parents/ carers and students at Giant Steps Tasmania have the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.

  • Giant Steps Tasmania welcomes complaints because they enable the school to improve its practice, its policies and procedures;
  • Giant Steps Tasmania aims to ensure that there is a clear process for dealing with complaints from students, parents, staff and the Principal, including the allocation of responsibility;
  • Through timely communication and targeted training, Giant Steps Tasmania aims to ensure that staff are aware of the processes involved in making and responding to a complaint and in particular that they are aware of how to respond to or refer a complaint;
  • All complaints received by Giant Steps Tasmania are acknowledged promptly;
  • The Informal phase of the Grievance Procedures enables prompt resolution where possible and, where it is not, a prompt decision is made to determine how to proceed;
  • The complainant receives information as to how the school proposes to deal with the complaint and the proposed timeframe and the school takes into account the complainant’s view;
  • Giant Steps Tasmania informs the complainant of the outcome of the complaint with an explanation of the reasons and information on any further avenues of redress which may be available;
  • Giant Steps Tasmania maintains a record of complaints received, action taken, decisions made and outcomes;
  • Giant Steps Tasmania reviews its complaints records regularly with a view to assessing both its services and its complaints management system; and
  • Giant Steps Tasmania ensures that staff, parents/ carers and students are aware that mediation is always a possibility and legal advice may be sought at any time/
  • Any meeting to discuss a grievance will be suspended if any person(s) behaves in an insulting or offensive manner.

It is Giant Steps Tasmania’s intention that this policy and its procedures are clear, open and accessible to all members of the school community and that procedural fairness is accorded to both the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is made.

Policy Purpose

The prime purpose of the Policy is to facilitate amicable resolutions that result in:

  • the cessation of the offending behaviour or actions, where such behaviour or actions are found to have occurred;
  • the protection of the rights of the Complainant and the Respondent; and
  • the redressing of any disadvantage that may have occurred, by applying appropriate and reasonable management action.

This Policy guides Giant Steps Tasmania’s approach in the management of complaints which arise as a result of grievances.

Giant Steps Tasmania provides these procedures so that staff can have a workplace grievance addressed and so that parents/ carers and students can have grievances relating to perceived inequities of treatment or procedures addressed. All staff members, parents/ carers and students have the right to use the procedures in this policy.

In Tasmania it is a requirement that schools’ Grievance Policies must include separate procedures for different types of complaints. Standard 12 from the Education Regulations 2017 requires that complaints by staff and complaints from parents/ carers are processed separately and that complaints against the principal are processed separately from other complaints. While the underpinning principles are similar, separate procedures are provided as addenda to this policy.

Definitions

A Grievance means a complaint from a staff member, parent/ carer or student concerning treatment at Giant Steps Tasmania that is inequitable or procedurally unfair; or a complaint that arises from perceived personal concerns relating to one or more work-related interpersonal relationships.

If more than one staff member/ parent/ carer/ student raises the same or substantially similar grievance(s), then each matter will be managed separately.

Implementation

In the case of all grievances, Giant Steps Tasmania will review the allegations and respond to the staff member, parent/ carer or student who raised the complaint.

Neither the Principal nor any member of the Board of Governors will accept any anonymous allegation or complaint and should any member of the Giant Steps Tasmania staff be found to be involved in the submission of an anonymous allegation or complaint, disciplinary measures will be taken against them.

Giant Steps Tasmania aims to ensure that:

  • grievances are addressed sensitively, promptly and in accordance with relevant Giant Steps Tasmania policies and the principles of natural justice;
  • all reasonable steps are taken to respect the confidentiality of the people involved in a grievance;
  • fairness and impartiality prevail throughout the appropriate resolution process - until a grievance is investigated and a decision is made, a grievance is an allegation, not a fact;
  • appropriate records are maintained throughout the resolution process;
  • persons who notify grievances are protected from victimisation or reprisal; and
  • persons who notify grievances are regularly informed of the progress of the matter, including the consequences of any finding that the grievance is substantiated or not substantiated.

It is expected that most grievances will be resolved informally. Before entering into the formal process, the aggrieved staff member/ parent/ carer or student should attempt to resolve the grievance with the help of the Principal or, if the grievance is against the Principal, with the help of a member of the Giant Steps Tasmania Board.

In circumstances where it is not possible to resolve the matter informally, the Principal or the member of the Board may refer the matter to the Chair of the Board within ten (10) working days of the action forming the grievance having taken place and a formal grievance procedure will commence:

  • Before a grievance is investigated, the party with the grievance describes the allegations they wish to make (in most instances, but not all, this will need to be in writing), including particulars of the allegations so that they can be investigated appropriately;
  • The person against whom the allegations are made is provided with a copy of the allegations that will be investigated and provided with the right of response; and
  • All parties are informed in writing of the outcomes of any investigative process.

The Chair of the Board will:

  • organise for mediation to occur to try and resolve the grievance;
  • ensure that parties have access to union representation/ advocacy/ third-party support as necessary;
  • investigate the matter to make findings as to whether or not some or all of the grievance is substantiated;
  • make a relevant determination about the grievance; or
  • refer the matter to an external investigator to make findings as to whether or not some or all of the grievance is substantiated.

If a grievance is investigated under this Policy and findings are made that substantiate any or all of the allegations made, the Chair of the Board may:

  • arrange for the counselling of the staff member involved on their behaviour and the findings of the investigation;
  • pass the matter on to an external organisation (e.g. police)
  • carry out disciplinary action, which could terminate the contract of employment of the staff member who is the subject of the allegation; or
  • take no further action

A grievance can be withdrawn at any time in writing with all aspects of confidentiality being maintained throughout. No further action will be taken unless the grievance relates to possible physical danger, criminal investigation, disciplinary action or employer liability. In these cases the Chair of the Board must be informed, irrespective of which stage the grievance has reached and he/ she may refer the matter to an external agency.

The parties to a grievance are required, at all stages of this policy and procedure, to maintain confidentiality in relation to the concern or compliant. The parties must not disclose, by any form of communication, either the fact or the substance of the matter to anyone other than an advocate, staff or a qualified counsellor.

A person must not victimise or otherwise subject another person to detrimental action as a consequence of that person raising, providing information about, or otherwise being involved in the resolution of a grievance under these procedures.

Any breach of either the confidentiality or non-victimisation requirements will be treated seriously by Giant Steps Tasmania, and may result in disciplinary action.

Giant Steps Tasmania keeps a log of all complaints and their outcome. All complaints are recorded in the complaints register, classified and analysed to identify systemic, recurring and single incident problems and trends in order to identify key risk areas and help eliminate the underlying causes of complaints through corrective actions.

The Principal can be contacted by email on principal@giantsteps.tas.edu.au

The Chair of the Board should be contacted in writing:

c/o Giant Steps Tasmania

PO Box 300

Deloraine

TAS 7304

Authorised by:

Paul Bowman

Position:

Chair of Board

Signature:

Date revisions accepted:

Original policy developed by:

Chris Jacobsen

Position:

(Previously) Education Administrator

Date Original Policy developed:

March 7th – May 18th 2016

Date of last review:

June 2019

Staff consultation period:

June 2021

Revisions prepared by:

Chris Jacobsen, Fairlight Educational Consulting

Date of next review:

July 2023

Addenda

Grievance Procedures: Summary

Flow Chart: Grievance Procedure where grievance is raised by the Principal

Flow Chart: Grievance Procedure for parents/ carers and students where grievance is not against the Principal

Flow Chart: Grievance Procedure for staff where grievance is not against the Principal

Flow Chart: Grievance Procedure where grievance is against the Principal