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Complaints by other stakeholders

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Anyone with concerns about a higher education provider’s  compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework (HES Framework), the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act) or the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (National Code) can make a complaint to TEQSA. We use information received through complaints to ensure that registered higher education providers offer quality programs.

‘Other stakeholders’ can include prospective and ex-students, current and ex-staff, parents/guardians of current and ex-students, other higher education providers, professional associations, agents, other government agencies and members of the public.

This section will help you to understand:

  • how to make a complaint about a higher education provider
  • our roles and responsibilities once a complaint is submitted.

Before proceeding, it should be noted that we can only accept certain types of complaints about registered higher education providers.

What TEQSA can accept complaints about

We can only accept complaints about a higher education provider’s compliance with the:

  • Higher Education Standards Framework (HES Framework)
  • Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act)
  • National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (National Code).

Anonymous Complaints

While complaints made anonymously will be accepted, the ability to investigate a complaint relies on the quantity and quality of the information received. Often when investigating complaints, further information will need to be requested, and with complaints made anonymously this is not possible.

Anonymous complainants are protected by our privacy provisions, consistent with the Australian Privacy Principle 1 under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). More information on our approach to privacy is included in our Privacy policy.

Whistle-blowers

Complaints made by whistle-blowers are received and handled in confidence, consistent with our Privacy policy.

Complainants who are currently employed by a public higher education provider may request protection as a whistle-blower. In this circumstance complaints are treated according to the applicable law and the subject matter of the disclosure.

Staff at private higher education providers should note that they are not protected by public sector whistle-blower legislation.

Submit a complaint to TEQSA

You can submit your complaint to us by completing our online complaints form.

What TEQSA will need in order to consider your complaint

In order for us to consider your complaint, you will need to:

Provide as much information as possible

You should include all detail relevant to your complaint – dates, times, names of those involved etc. Only include details that relate to your complaint.

Provide evidence to support your complaint

This should include copies of all communications from the provider, particularly the outcome of its investigations into your complaint and other relevant documents.

Understand our role

We accept complaints from stakeholders as a source of information about registered higher education providers. The information provided through complaints assists us to identify areas of risk to the provision of quality higher education in Australia and thereby protect the interests of students.

We do not advocate on behalf of complainants or request that a provider take action on your complaint.

After you submit a complaint

After submitting a complaint you will receive an email acknowledging it has been received.

An initial assessment of your complaint will be conducted to determine whether it is able to be accepted. In light of this assessment, we may decide not to accept your complaint or refer your complaint to another agency.

If TEQSA accepts your complaint

If your complaint is accepted, the information provided will be reviewed. The outcome of this review will determine how the complaint will proceed. Depending on the type of complaint, we may:

  • use the information to inform future regulatory assessment of a provider
  • broaden the scope of future regulatory assessment of a provider
  • commence an assessment of the compliance of a provider against the HES Framework.

Will TEQSA communicate with you after you submit your complaint?

Any future communication will be guided by the type of complaint. In some cases, we may contact you for more information to determine the best course of action.

Will we advise you about the progress of any investigation of your complaint?

We have specific confidentiality obligations, which mean we are not able to advise you of any regulatory action taken in relation to your complaint.

However, the outcomes of any regulatory action taken by us can be found on our National Register.