RMIT Ombuds policy process

Purpose

To strengthen RMIT’s systems for ensuring fairness and academic integrity in all areas of operations and provide an independent and confidential review of RMIT decisions, outcomes, and findings.

Scope

This process applies to:

  • Staff currently employed by RMIT or ex-staff who ceased employment with the University within 12 months of seeking review, or
  • Students currently enrolled within the University (including those RMIT students studying with partners or on campuses outside Australia) or who have graduated or discontinued enrolment within 12 months of seeking review
  • Decisions/outcomes or findings made by RMIT which result in an outcome to the prejudice of the member of staff/student and where the member of staff/student reasonably claims that he/she was not afforded procedural fairness and/or due process was not followed

The member of staff/student must have exhausted all other relevant internal avenues of redress

Anonymous requests for review will not be accepted.

Exclusions

This process does not apply to:

  • Decisions/outcomes or findings made by:
    • RMIT Council
    • Academic Board
    • Appeals against assessment decisions (except where a breach or failure of process is alleged)
    • External agencies
    • Misconduct Investigation Committees/Investigators (as per cl 49.6 of the RMIT Academic and Professional Staff Union Collective Agreement 2010).
  • Staff employed by RMIT partners or controlled entities.

Process steps

1. Receipt of request for interview

1.1. Request for review of a decision, outcome or finding made by RMIT is received by e-mail or phone or in person by appointment with the Ombuds

1.2. The Ombuds Office is required to acknowledge receipt of the request for review within 24 hours of receiving the request.

1.3. Checks are conducted to ascertain whether the request for review may be investigated by the Ombuds in accordance with the scope and exclusions set out within the Ombuds policy.

1.4. The person making the request for review will be:

1.4.1. A currently employed staff member of RMIT or formerly employed within the previous 12 months; or

1.4.2. A currently enrolled student (onshore or offshore) at RMIT or has graduated or discontinued enrolment within the past 12 months.

1.5. The person making the request for review will not be a member of staff employed by RMIT partners or controlled entities.

1.6. The request for review will not relate to decisions, outcomes or findings by RMIT Council, Academic Board, appeals against assessment decisions, external agencies, or misconduct investigation committees/investigations.

1.7. All other relevant internal avenues will have been exhausted.

1.7.1. If all other relevant internal avenues have not been exhausted, the person making the request for review is referred to the relevant policy and responsible area. The responsible area is also advised of the request for review and provided with a copy of the advice that has been given.

1.8. The person making the request for review will be identifiable. Anonymous requests for review will not be accepted.

1.9. All parties involved in the resolution of the review are required to ensure the identities of the parties involved and the substance of the review remain confidential. Disclosure of information will be limited to those reasonably required for the review or investigation and resolution of the matter.

2. Information gathering

2.1. On completion of Step 1, an investigation will commence immediately.

2.1.1. The Ombuds will develop a written action plan that will be placed on file. The key steps of the plan will be conveyed to the person making the request for review and will include timeframes for action which may be negotiated with the person requesting review where appropriate or necessary. The action plan may include review of documents and interviews with parties involved. The plan will also be updated regularly as required.

2.1.2. The action plan will be implemented, including analysis of information gathered and identifying options for resolution.

3. Where there is resolution

3.1. Options for resolution will be discussed with the relevant parties and if possible the matter will be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

3.2. The Ombuds will provide a report and may make recommendations regarding procedural fairness and process improvement to the relevant senior manager (copied to the relevant member of the Senior Executive). If relevant, the Ombuds may recommend that the original decision/finding/outcome be set aside and that the process be reinitiated or that a decision be reviewed and remedial action considered

3.3. The Ombuds may request through the University Secretary a report on actions taken as a result of his or her recommendations.

4. Where there is no resolution

4.1. Where there is no resolution and the Ombuds deems a matter to be critical in terms of the need for urgent resolution, and/or where there are significant implications for individuals and/or RMIT, the Ombuds will prepare a report for the Vice-Chancellor, or in cases involving the Vice-Chancellor, to the Chancellor outlining:

4.1.1. the nature of the review,

4.1.2. the steps taken to conclude the review,

4.1.3. reasons the review is critical,

4.1.4. recommended action for resolution of the review, and

4.1.5. recommended action to avoid further like instances.

5. Record keeping

5.1. Records of requests for review will be kept in accordance with legislative requirements.

5.2. Confidentiality of records will be maintained.

6. Reports

6.1. An Annual Report based on requests for review received throughout the reporting period will be prepared and submitted to University Council, through the Chancellor. A copy is also provided to the Vice-Chancellor for information.

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