Staff complaints

UNSW expects its staff, students and affiliates to behave lawfully and in accordance with the applicable codes of conduct. Staff are encouraged to raise any concerns they have at the workplace.

If you have seen or have reasonable grounds to suspect Serious Wrongdoing is occurring at UNSW, report it.

Resolving your complaint 

In most cases, concerns can be simply and quickly resolved by raising them at a local level when they arise with the person or area responsible. In instances where issues cannot be resolved by Steps 1, a complaint can be made in Step 3.

What is (not) a complaint?

How do I make a complaint?

Step 1. Talk to someone

Your supervisor is the primary point of contact for staff wishing to make a complaint about another staff member. If the complaint is about your supervisor, you should contact the next most senior staff member, who will handle the complaint or refer it to another supervisor / manager at an appropriate level. Alternatively, you can speak to someone in your HR Business Partnering Team.

  • The supervisor's role is to handle the complaint and may be able offer to help you resolve the matter through a broad range of options, suited to the particular issue (e.g. facilitating discussion, approaching the other person on your behalf, mediation). You are encouraged to contact your supervisor early, as this creates the best prospect of resolving the issue.

  • You can speak to a member of your HR Business Partnering Team to discuss your concerns, assist you with the options available to resolve them, and explain how the policy and processes work. Members of the HR Business Partnering Team are sometimes also involved in assisting complaint handlers in resolving disputes.

  • The Employee Assistance Program is a confidential counselling, coaching and wellbeing service free for all for UNSW staff and their immediate family members. The service can help you achieve lifestyle, work, personal and family goals and assist you with managing work and life experiences, issues or concerns that arise from time to time. 

    For more information, visit the Wellbeing website.

How will my complaint be resolved?

Step 2. Speak to a Complaint Officer

If you are a complainant or responding to a complaint and would like advice on the process and options under the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure, or you are unsure whether to make a complaint, you can contact a Complaint Officer. For complaints and reports submitted prior to 12 February 2024, please refer to the relevant complaint and misconduct procedures.

Complaint Officers are external to the University and are there to provide information and a better understanding of how the procedure operates. They can assist in identifying how the processes and action in the procedure might apply to a situation, subject to any conflict of interest.

The Complaint Officers do not manage or investigate complaints and are not able to assist staff beyond advice on using the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure.

Communications with the Complaint Officer are confidential. However, if the Complaint Officer is concerned for a person’s health, safety or wellbeing, they may be obliged to refer the matter to the relevant University contact person or an external authority. If they become aware of any potential criminal conduct, they may need to refer the matter to the Police. The Complaint Officer may seek advice from internal experts prior to taking these steps.

  • Diane Utatao

    Complaint Officer
    (external to UNSW)
    Ph: +61 477 739 247

    Ed Davis

    Complaint Officer
    (external to UNSW)
    Ph: +61 438 166 986

Step 3. Make a complaint

If you have tried Steps 1 and 2 and your concerns have not been resolved, you can lodge a complaint here.

Below are some tips when making your complaint.

  • Be timely. The Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure requires that you must lodge a complaint within 12 months of becoming aware of the issue. The sooner you lodge a complaint, the quicker the issue can be considered and hopefully resolved.
  • Provide evidence. To better support your claim, include as much evidence as possible. This might include copies of email exchanges, notes of discussions you had, assessment pieces or marking schemes. The university will assess your complaint and may request more detail from you to assist in deciding how to handle the issues you raise
  • Be respectful. You might be dissatisfied about something, but please be mindful in communicating your concerns with courtesy and respect to the case managers assigned to your case. They are available to respond to any questions you have about the complaint process.

The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. However, please keep in mind the University’s ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited and you will also not be provided the outcome of your complaint.

What happens to my information?

Need more details?

Access our SharePoint site for more information, learning resources, and instructions on how to use Case IQ.

What happens now?

Once you make a complaint, staff within Human Resources will endeavour to progress your complaint as efficiently as possible. 

You will receive acknowledgement within 5 working days. A staff member from HR assigned to your case will then assess the complaint and advise you of the next steps. The staff member may contact you to gather additional information or request clarification. 

The next steps may include assigning a case manager to conduct a Preliminary Enquiry in accordance with the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure.

  • If you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you may request an Internal Review. An Internal Review may only be requested on the grounds of a lack of procedural fairness in the investigation process, or where there is new and compelling information not available at the time of the investigation.

    You can only request an internal review at the conclusion of the complaints process, and the request must be received within 20 working days of receiving the determination outcome. In exceptional circumstances, the Independent Review Officer (IRO) may extend the deadline of 20 working days following a request for an extension from the student or staff member in writing.

    It is NOT possible to request an Internal Review on the merits of a decision.

    Will I be treated fairly ?

    Procedural fairness is about ensuring that:

    • People are provided with all necessary details of the complaint that has been made against them
    • People are given a proper opportunity to respond to the complaint against them before a decision is made (including as to any mitigating circumstances)
    • Persons involved in deciding an outcome do not have any bias or conflict of interest
    • A decision is based only on relevant evidence.

    Once a determination has been made by the appropriate decision maker, you may request an Internal Review.

    For more detailed information, please see the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure.

  • You can lodge a complaint to an external agency at any time.

    External agencies include:

    Please keep in mind that some external agencies may require you to have lodged an internal complaint first.

  • You may withdraw your complaint at any time by notifying the University in writing. In most instances the University will take no further action. However, in some circumstances the University may act on matters raised in or related to the complaint or refer the matter to an external agency, where authorised or required to do so by law. In these situations, the University may notify the complainant.

  • UNSW will maintain a record of all complaints on Case IQ, at all stages of the complaints handling process. Records may also be kept of local level complaints. The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. Please keep in mind, however, UNSW's ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited. 

    Learn more about UNSW's Privacy Statement

The new UNSW Code of Conduct & Values takes effect from Friday 17th May 2024
Learn more