UWA values the input of the many and varied parties in the local, national and international communities in which it exists and recognises that on occasion, it will receive complaints.
The University is committed to conducting complaint resolution that is:
- visible - information about the process is easy to access
- simple – the process is easy to understand and use
- timely – complaints are managed efficiently with consideration of urgency
- objective –complaints are considered and managed without bias
- fair – procedural fairness is afforded to all
- confidential – information is kept confidential, as appropriate
- effective – appropriate complaint outcomes are reached
- informative – complaint information is used for the continuous improvement of University operations.
Some complaint matters are covered by specific policy, enterprise agreements and standard process. All follow a similar process though:
- where possible and appropriate raising a concern with the person (or within the area) and seeking to resolve the matter informally;
- where not resolved, or where the matter is more serious, lodging a formal complaint; and
- a possible appeal to a final decision maker (including a committee)
- a possible complaint to an external authority
Resolving concerns without making a complaint
Where appropriate and possible, it is always encouraged that concerns are raised as soon as possible at the local level and with the person/unit most likely to be able resolve the issue.
Formal complaint processes will usually involve an inquiry/investigation into the facts of a case and then move onto findings. While this is a very important process, it also has some limitations, particularly where there is an ongoing work/study relationship that needs to continue.
The UWA Mediation Clinic offers tailored mediation services to help people resolve conflict. It recognises that conflict can have a detrimental impact on people and provides an invaluable service aimed not only at resolving the conflict but promoting a health environment. Mediation is free to UWA staff and students with more information available at: https://www.mediation.uwa.edu.au/
Support and information
Before making a complaint, you may wish to talk with someone about what you have been experiencing or witnessing. Talking to someone about what has occurred may help you decide on: personal supports you need; if you want to make a complaint; how to make a complaint; and what happens once a complaint is made. Listed below are some of the supports available.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Contact Officers
A free initiative aimed at supporting staff and students – these UWA employees can provide information and preliminary support for concerns relating to:
- Discrimination and/or harassment;
- Bullying/unfair treatment; and
- Sexual misconduct.
Find out more DEI Contact Officers
Guild Student Assist Officers
A free student service provided by employees of the UWA Student Guild on a range of topics. A Student Assist Officer can also provide direct support in making a complaint.
Find out more: Student Assist
UWA’s Disclosure Officer (for students who have experienced sexual misconduct) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff can seek advice from:
- Line managers or more senior managers;
- Staff Resources;
- Human Resources Business Partners; and
- their union representative.
What is the difference between outcome and resolution?
Outcome relates to the findings made. For any complaint matter raised, and accepted under policy, there is a process of inquiry and a finding will be made as to if the complaint is:
- substantiated in part; or
- not substantiated
Resolution is considered once a complaint is found substantiated in full or part, then the University will consider what, if any measures, can be put in place to resolve the complaint. These are often referred to as remedies and they can be:
- personal remedies – such as an apology, a change of decision
- administrative remedies – such as a change to policy/procedure, improvements in teaching, supervision or services
- financial remedies – usually only where there has been a detriment from the actions/decisions made and where the University considers a financial remedy appropriate
There will be situations where the complainant may continue to feel aggrieved and seeks either more inquiry or different remedies. A complaint is considered resolved when the University determines that it has been appropriately considered and reasonable resolutions offered.
Policy and Governance
UWA’s complaint resolution framework is managed by the Integrity and Standards Unit, in the portfolio of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Staff employment matters are not covered under complaint policies but staff can lodge a complaint about non-employment related matters. The two key policies are:
- Students can seek advice and support from Guild Student Assist
- Staff and Students can discuss their concerns with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Contact Officer
- Safety in the workplace, including bullying, are important issues to staff and to the University. Staff can discuss concerns with their line-manager or a Human Resources Business Partner.
- Lodge a Complaint/Make a Report
Student Academic Matters
Marks/grades, progress status and other academic decisions are the most common type of student complaints. UWA understands these concerns and has a separate, robust process for seeking a review and/or appeal relating to these decisions.
- More information, including how to lodge your review request can be found at: Review and appeal of academic decisions relating to students
Employee Disputes and Grievances
Employees are those staff who are employed at UWA under one of the University’s Employment Agreements or under a common law employment agreement. The agreements included clauses relating to disputes and grievances.
For either it is recommended that you refer to the Staff Intranet and: