Complaints Management - State Schools

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Students, parents/carers, members of the public


​This procedure provides a framework for the complaints management process for state schools.​​​


​Complaints Management applies to complaints about state schools and related services provided to students through schools.

For complaints relating to alleged staff official misconduct or criminal activity, the complainant may refer their complaint to either:

Complaints Management does not apply to complaints made by employees concerning other employees.

Complaints are responded to as a matter of priority and are used as a mechanism for improving services to students and parents/carers. Complaints procedures​ are available to all students, parents and members of the public.

Parties should attempt to resolve complaints at the point where the problem or issue arose.

If a complaint is made about a person, that person has the right to know the details of the complaint and be given the opportunity to make a statement of reply.

All people involved in the complaint process have the right to be supported by an appropriate third party.

The complaint management process will be unbiased, objective and impartial.

All complaints are managed fairly and with due regard to the rights of employees of the department who are the subject of complaints.

The complaints management process is implemented in a flexible way that is culturally appropriate and responsive to any special needs of the people involved.
Personal information collected as part of the complaints process is not released publicly.

Anonymous complaints are accepted. There are generally two types of anonymous complaints:

  • the first is where the complainant refuses to supply their own identifying information; and
  • the second type is where other identifying information is not supplied, for example, the name of the school.

In either case, complainants are informed, where possible, that refusal to supply certain relevant information may be a significant barrier to the ability to either adequately investigate or resolve a complaint.

Processes for managing complaints comply with the Australian Standard for Customer Satisfaction - Guidelines for Complaints Handling in Organisations.​


​All state school staff have the responsibility to ensure complaints are responded to as a matter of priority and are used as a mechanism for improving services to students and parents/carers.


Regional and Central Office Units:

  • inform students, parents, staff, teachers and the broader community of the process for managing complaints
  • deal with all complaints at the appropriate level in the first instance
  • maintain accurate and up to date records of all complaints
  • acknowledge and respond to complaints in a timely manner
  • monitor and report on the type of complaints received
  • advise complainants of the process for referring unresolved complaints to the appropriate level 
  • widely promote the complaints management process
  • uphold fairness towards both complainants and employees throughout the complaint management process
  • implement local processes to support effective complaint handling
  • integrate complaints data into organisational improvement activities
  • use TRIM as the electronic complaints management system to manage each complaint received.


  • refer to Complaints, enquiries and feedback
  • provide details about a complaint associated with an educational service
  • provide complete and factual information in a timely manner
  • do not include deliberately false or misleading information
  • deliver the complaint in a non-threatening manner 
  • do not make frivolous or vexatious complaints.


  • develop a process for managing complaints from students, parents, staff, teachers and the broader community within the intent of this procedure and the 4-step Making a Complaint document published on the State Schools Division website
  • may adopt the attached Template for developing a school complaints management procedure​ as the basis for local processes or use it as a guide that sets the minimum standard required
  • develop the school process in consultation with the school community and endorsed by the Parents and Citizens' Association or School Council
  • ensure the Making a Complaint​ document and the school's Complaints Management Procedure are provided to the school community
  • principals may refer complaints to the Regional Director, if appropriate, after discussing the matter with the Regional Director or delegate.

Information Privacy:

The department values complainants’ privacy. Information is only used for the purpose of responding to the complaint and will be forwarded to the local Education Regional Office and/or the school that is the subject of the complaint for investigation. Information will not be distributed to any third parties unless authorised or required by law. For more information, visit the Department of Education and Training’s privacy statement.

Online Resources

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Attribution CC BY
For the purpose of this procedure, a complaint does not include an allegation against employees or volunteers involving suspected official misconduct or criminal activity.

Complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with a departmental service where the complainant requires a formal way of having their concern heard and resolved. A complaint may be made verbally or in writing.

A person who lodges a complaint with State Schools Division. A complainant may be a student, parent/carer or a member of the community who is aggrieved about a matter.