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Standards: Clause 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

6.1 The RTO has a complaints policy to manage and respond to allegations involving the conduct of a) the RTO, its trainers, assessors or other staff b) a third party providing services on the RTO’s behalf, its trainers, assessors or other staff; or c) a learner of the RTO.

6.2. The RTO has an appeals policy to manage requests for a review of decisions, including assessment decisions, made by the RTO or a third party providing services on the RTO’s behalf.

6.3. The RTO’s complaints policy and appeals policy a) ensure the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness are adopted at every stage of the complaint and appeal process b) are publicly available c) set out the procedure for making a complaint or requesting an appeal d) ensure complaints and requests for an appeal are acknowledged in writing and finalised as soon as practicable; and e) provide for review by an appropriate party independent of the RTO and the complainant or appellant, at the request of the individual making the complaint or appeal, if the processes fail to resolve the complaint or appeal.

6.4. Where the RTO considers more than 60 calendar days are required to process and finalise the complaint or appeal, the RTO a) informs the complainant or appellant in writing, including reasons why more than 60 calendar days are required; and b) regularly updates the complainant or appellant on the progress of the matter.

6.5. The RTO a) securely maintains records of all complaints and appeals and their outcomes; and b) identifies potential causes of complaints and appeals and takes appropriate corrective action to eliminate or mitigate the likelihood of reoccurrence.

6.6. Where the RTO is an employer or a volunteer organisation whose learners solely consist of its employees or members, does not charge fees for the training and/or assessment, and does not have in place a specific complaints and appeals policy in accordance with Clauses 6.1 & 6.2, the organisation has a complaints and appeals policy which is sufficiently broad to cover the services provided by the RTO.

Related documents/links

ASQA website: Managing complaints and appeals

Contents of a complaints policy

Written in easily understood language:

  1. Define ‘complaint’
  2. Option of making a complaint informally
  3. Process for making a formal complaint
  4. Information to include in a formal complaint
  5. Who investigates the complaint
  6. What happens once the complaint is received
  7. Timeframe for response, including any extension
  8. What to do if not satisfied with the outcome
Contents of a complaints register

This can be a spreadsheet with these headings:


  • Date of complaint
  • Summary of complaint
  • Name of investigator
  • Comments
  • Finding
  • Action to be taken


  • Date of appeal
  • Summary of appeal
  • Name of investigator
  • Comments
  • Finding
  • Action to be taken

QCI considerations


  • Is your RTO’s complaints policy publicly available on the website?
  • Is your RTO’s complaints policy publicly available in the Learner Handbook?
  • How are employer clients (if any) informed of the complaints policy?


  • Does your RTO have a documented process for staff once they receive a complaint?
  • How does your RTO maintain confidentiality about the complaint (procedural fairness)?
  • Does the process ensure that the investigator contacts anyone else who was mentioned by the complainant (natural justice)?
  • Who develops the written response and ensures the complainant receives it in under 60 calendar days?
  • What option for a review of the decision ( appeal the decision) is available to the complainant?
  • Who is to ensure that any corrective action is carried out?
  • Does your RTO have a register for complaints and appeals?
  • Who makes entries in a register for complaints and appeals?
  • How is the confidentiality of this register maintained?
  • Who has responsibility for this register?

Scenario 1

One of XYZ RTO’s trainers is approached by a learner who complains that another learner has been making sexually inappropriate comments that are unwelcome and becoming quite a worry. The trainer says that this behaviour is unacceptable but the training organisation is unable to do anything about it. They suggest the learner go to the police immediately.

Is the trainer correct in their response?

No. Clause 6.1 states that the RTO must manage and respond to allegations involving the conduct of a learner of the RTO.

Scenario 2

XYZ RTO receives a complaint about the behaviour of one of its learners. The HR manager put a notice up on the company Intranet fully outlining the complaint and people involved, then asked if anyone had anything to add that related to the situation, they were to email their own manager who was to pass it on to the HR Department.

What is wrong with this process?

This process does not keep the complaint confidential, so it is not procedurally fair. It is not about any decision that is made about the complaint. It is about the fairness, or otherwise, of the process.