The purpose of this Policy is to ensure students have a complaints and appeals process that includes access to an independent external body if necessary.


Policy Detail

The Student Complaint and Appeals Management Policy and Procedure provides a framework to enable current and prospective student’s academic and non-academic concerns to be effectively managed. If a complaint cannot be resolved within the organisation, MCIE’s complaints and appeals process includes referral to an independent external body.


Appeal is when a student submits a request for the review of a decision made by MCIE or by a third party working on behalf of MCIE. Decisions which may be appealed, may relate to assessment, student progress or a student’s COE status, these are just some of the decisions a student may appeal.

Appellant an individual who submits a request for an appeal.

Complaint is when an individual has an issue with another individual, a process, the facilities, equipment or services provided by MCIE or a third party working on behalf of MCIE.

Complainant an individual who submits a complaint.

Respondent an individual who a complainant has made a complaint against.

Victimisation the action of singling someone out for cruel or unjust treatment. “we should be able to speak up without fear of victimization”


This policy applies to the management of complaints and appeals in relation to matters concerning the delivery of training and assessment services as well as those employed by or contracted to the Institute for the delivery of training, conduct of assessments, administrative duties and/or provision of support services. Complaints and appeals addressed by this policy and procedure may relate to MCIE processes or between parties including:

  1. student – student
  2. student – staff member (including academic disputes)
  3. student – external agency, such as those stakeholders cooperating with the institution in its professional experience or community engagement placements, for example, workplace-based training or work placement (Commercial Cookery or Early Childhood Education and Care)
  4. prospective student – staff member

This policy applies to all staff.

Out of scope

This policy and procedure do not apply to any matter dealt with under the:

  • Student Code of Conduct
  • Student Discipline Policy
  • Critical Incident Policy and Procedure – urgent complaints those complaints which have potentially detrimental health or wellbeing impacts are not addressed in this policy and procedure – refer to the Critical Incident policy and process
  • Domestic Student Complaints or Appeals



Student complaints are managed by:

  • Heads of Department
  • Director Quality and Governance
  • Managing Director

Specific responsibilities are described in detail in the procedure.


MCIE provides a complaints and appeals process that is transparent, fair and equitable for academic and non-academic matters for current students and/or those seeking to enrol.
Recognising that situations may arise in which a student feels aggrieved, MCIE has put in place this policy and procedure to ensure it responds to and resolves student issues efficiently and effectively, with an appropriate level of concern.
This policy supports the (ESOS Legislative Framework) National Code 2018 – Standard 10.


All parties to a complaint (complainant, respondent or MCIE) have the right to be:

  • heard
  • respected (all complaints should be treated seriously)
  • treated with courtesy, without bias, pre-judgement, discrimination or victimisation
  • informed of any complaint made which relates to them
  • provided with an opportunity to respond to any complaint pertaining to them
  • informed about the status of any complaint which has been formally raised and to which they are a party or in which they are named

An appellant has the right to be:

  • heard
  • respected (appeals are treated seriously)
  • treated without bias or pre-judgement
  • informed about the status of any appeal which they have formally raised

MCIE will encourage the parties to approach a complaint/appeal with an open view and attempt to resolve issues through discussion and conciliation. Where a complaint/appeal cannot be resolved through discussion and conciliation, MCIE acknowledges there may be a need to establish an appropriate appeals committee to mediate between the parties.
MCIE will take all reasonable steps to prevent complainants/appellants suffering any disadvantage (including through victimisation) as a result of lodging a complaint.
A student’s enrolment with MCIE will not be suspended, cancelled or affected in any manner during the complaints/appeals process.
A student may withdraw a complaint at any point in the process.

Access to the international student complaints and appeals process

All employees, trainers, assessors and prospective students will be provided access to a copy of the International Student Complaints and Appeals Process which is also available online at the following link:
All parties will familiarise themselves with and have a clear understanding of the steps involved in the complaints and appeals procedure. Through-out the process they will adhere to all relevant MCIE policies, associated written procedures and standards of conduct.
There is no charge to the student for accessing the internal complaints and appeals process at MCIE.

Privacy and confidentiality

An MCIE staff member handling a complaint or an appeal will maintain appropriate confidentiality throughout the process.


Complaints and appeals will be dealt with as expeditiously as possible, consistent with the need to act fairly. To ensure the fair, consistent and appropriate management of important but not urgent complaints and appeals, students are asked to submit them online through the MCIE Ticketing System at or to
Urgent complaints, those complaints which have potentially detrimental health or wellbeing impacts should follow the Critical Incident process.

Important but not urgent complaints and appeals

All complaints and appeals addressed to or which are submitted through the MCIE Ticketing system online at are addressed in the following manner:

  • the complaint/appeal is acknowledged automatically by email within half an hour of submission, to the email address provided as part of the submission process.
  • Note: If the complainant/appellant does not receive the advice from MCIE Teamwork Desk they should resubmit their request or advise a member of the MCIE team that they have attempted and been unsuccessful.
  • within one working day of the submission of the complaint/appeal, a relevant member of MCIE’s team will contact the complainant/appellant. Concern for the complainant/appellant is expressed.
  • as is reasonable, all complaints should be resolved within 5 working days, if a resolution is not possible this is communicated to the complainant, and where relevant, the respondent.
  • where MCIE considers more than 60 calendar days are required to process and finalise the complaint or appeal, MCIE will:
  • inform the complainant/appellant in writing, including reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required
  • regularly update the complainant/appellant on the progress of the matter


Response timelines

MCIE complaint resolution process should not exceed 5 working days

Support during the complaint process

A student may seek confidential, independent professional advice from the Student Welfare Officer or to be referred to an external service at any stage during the complaint process.
For any discussion or interview in which a student participates during a complaint process under this policy, the student may, at their discretion, be accompanied by one other person who they have designated as their support person. A support person may be a family member, counsellor or other professional support person. However; a support person is not two or more persons acting at the same time. An advocate may also be referred to as a support person.
A support person may not be a person who was involved in, associated with, or alleged to have been involved in or associated with the subject matter of the complaint.
A support person may only make submissions on behalf of a complainant if invited to do so by the complainant or the committee dealing with the matter.

Documented discussions

All discussions relating to complaints and appeals are to be recorded in writing and the complainant/appellant provided with a written statement of the outcomes, including reasons for decisions.

Continuous improvement

The MCIE Complaints and Appeals Process includes a requirement for a determination to refer the issue at the core of a complaint to the Continuous Improvement Process. When an issue is to be referred to the continuous improvement process the manager responsible for the complaint or appeals outcome will forward details of the issue and items to be addressed for continuous improvement to The item will also be added to the agenda for the next scheduled Management Meeting. The Director of Quality and Governance will manage the processes of review and implementation.

Process for complaint or appeal management

Resolution through informal dialogue

A student or prospective student who has any concern that falls within the scope of this policy is encouraged to attempt to resolve that concern informally and as close to the source of the concern as possible.

Step 1. Receiving the complaint

A student may approach a staff member directly with a complaint or lodge a complaint via the MCIE’s Student Complaints form on our website. Completing this form raises a ticket which is registered in a complaints file in Teamwork Desk. The ticket created is unique to the complainant and it may only be accessed by the complainant and MCIE’s senior managers.

Direct: the staff member receiving the complaint is encouraged to address minor complaints, in the first instance.

For more serious complaints (e.g. about a trainer or other staff member, academic load, etc), if the staff member receiving the complaint is unable, or is not confident they are able to adequately manage the complaint, or has received the same complaint from multiple students or from the same student multiple times, they:

  1. should encourage the student(s) to lodge the complaint online (MCIE Student Complaints Form accessed through the MCIE website). To lodge a complaint on-line, students should enter the details of their complaint online. The complaint form will prompt them about what important information to include in their report. The form is available at
  2. they may also email their complaint to, both approaches will register their complaint in Teamwork Desk and ensure it is managed according to MCIE processes. Students should be advised that:
    • their complaint is confidential and only MCIE’s management team have access to the inbox for complaints
    • they will receive an automated email from Teamwork Desk to confirm that their complaint has been submitted
    • this complaint will then be assigned to the appropriate Head of Department or their proxy
    • they will be informed of the progress of their complaint by email, may also login to their profile in Teamwork Desk to check the progress of their complaint or to comment on the progress at any time they choose
    • the Head of Department will contact them within five working days of receiving their complaint, to clarify their concern, make a time to meet them or to recommend a resolution
  3. submit a complaint on behalf the student by submitting a complaint form:
    1. via MCIE’s website or
    2. emailing details to or
    3. submitting it directly through Teamwork Desk, and advise the complainant that:
      • they will receive an automated email from Teamwork Desk to confirm that their complaint has been submitted
      •  this complaint will be assigned to the appropriate Head of Department or their proxy
      • that they will be informed of the progress of their complaint by email and may also login to their profile to check the progress of their complaint or to comment on the progress at any time they choose
      • the Head of Department will contact them within five working days of receiving their complaint, to clarify their concern, make a time to meet them or to recommend a resolution
  4. refer the complaint directly to the respective Head of Department or to the Director of Quality and Governance
    Note: Step c. should only be taken when the utmost urgency is required or a student refuses to follow or allow someone else to follow options a. or b. on their behalf. After referral and when initial discussion about the matter has concluded, the process for recording through Teamwork Desk in point b. should be followed.
    Indirect: students may lodge an online complaint at any time through the MCIE website, Students Complaints Form at or email their complaint to

In all instances:

A written record of a complaint should be maintained. This is best achieved through Teamwork Desk, the ticketing system which provides:

  • a ticket ensuring
    • MCIE management has overview of the complaint
    • the complainant has access to view the progress of their complaint at any time
    • all communications about the issue are recorded in one place and are accessible to all parties of the complaint
  • the date of submission
  • student identity details
  • student contact details
  • full and specific details of the complaint
  • sufficient information to enable an appropriate response
  • the opportunity to include supporting information
  • the opportunity to present his or her case at each stage of the process
  • the opportunity to provide feedback as to the satisfactory (or unsatisfactory) resolution of the complaint


Step 2. Actioning the complaint

It is the responsibility of the complainant to state the grounds for their complaint fully and to provide all relevant evidence from the first stage of the complaint.

If the complaint has been made with a member of MCIE staff, or has been assigned to a member of staff through Teamwork Desk, that staff member should seek to:

  • resolve the complaint immediately (as is reasonable)
    • express concern
    • apologise (if appropriate)
    • resolve the issue (or escalate – arrange for the matter to be addressed by another staff member)
    • follow-up
  • manage the complaint as described in Step 1, and/or
  • refer the complainant to the Student Welfare Officer (as is appropriate)


Step 3. Resolve the complaint


  1. any person lodging a complaint wants to be taken seriously, irrespective of the nature of the complaint
  2. not all complaints can be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, but must be confident MCIE has done everything in its power to resolve the complaint
  3. keep the complainant informed of the complaint progress
  4. be informed on the resolution outcome in a timely manner.

Some complaints may necessitate time to research, interview other parties, investigate. In these instances:

  1. do so expeditiously
  2. keep detailed notes (records of interview) about conversations
  3. keep an open mind

Any lower level of complaint management must be exhausted before proceeding to the next higher level.

A complaint that relates to:

  1. an academic matter, including a matter arising in connection with a professional experience or workplace engagement placement; or
  2. a non-academic matter
  3. should be referred to the relevant Head of Department, or Director of Quality and Governance

A complaint that relates to another student may seek support from staff of the relevant Department, or from the Student Welfare Officer. The complaint should be addressed to the Head of Department in the first instance.
A complaint against the conduct of a member of staff that might be in contravention of the Staff Code of Conduct will be referred to the Managing Director or the Director of Quality and Governance who will determine whether the complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant Human Resources policy (Staff Code of Conduct) or Staff Disciplinary policy.

Step 4. Notify outcomes

The complainant will be notified, in writing (as appropriate via the Teamwork Desk), of the outcome of the investigation and/or the proposal for resolution of their complaint under this policy within 5 working days of the lodgement of the complaint.
A further time period may be required in cases where additional investigation is required, or a counter-complaint lodged, or where the matter is referred for resolution under a different institution policy.
The complainant will be notified of:

  1. the process undertaken to consider the complaint
  2. the outcome of any investigation, including any recommendation(s) for administrative action that MCIE will consider
  3. the process of escalation of the complaint if the student is not satisfied with the proposed resolution/s


Step 5. Will the outcome impact an international student’s COE?

If the complaint process has not been fully tracked in Teamwork Desk the Head of Department must ensure that a 01-3004 Complaint and Appeals Report is completed and submitted to the Student Administration Manager or the International Student Admissions Officer.

If the end date of the student’s COE is impacted as a result of the agreed resolution, the International Student Admissions Officer must inform the Department of Home Affairs of the change.

Step 6. Feed the issue into the continuous improvement process

The circumstances leading to all complaints are analysed to identify if underlying issues should be referred to the Continuous Improvement Process. In this instance, details should be sent to and be added to the Management Meeting Agenda.

Process for escalation

In the first instance, the complainant should try to resolve the issue. This may mean discussing the issue with others who are part of the issue, the issue should be discussed, a resolution agreed to and details recorded. If the complainant is not satisfied with the agreed resolution, the standard procedure is to refer the complaint to the next management level up.

For example: where a Trainer has attempted to resolve a student issue, but was not able to gain the student’s agreement to the resolution, the issue would be referred to a Head of Department, the next level of escalation if unresolved at HOD level, is to the Director Quality and Governance, followed by the Managing Director and finally if MCIE is unable to resolve the issue, the student’s complaint would be referred to the Overseas Student’s Ombudsman.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A student may skip to any level of escalation to have their complaint heard without moving through each of the levels.

Escalation to an external party

The complainant may, at any time escalate their concern to the Overseas Student’s Ombudsman, phone 1300 362 072.

Updated 21 January 2020