MAEL aims to maintain excellent relationships with its employees, teaching centres, enrolled learners and the Montessori community at large.  It expects to achieve this through a policy of transparency, fair dealing and the provision of a high quality of services and products.  Should any grievance arise then MAEL has a detailed (and publicly available) set of procedures for investigating issues (see separate policy), dealing with complaints and operating an appeals procedure.  Any reasonable enquiry from a Centre or Candidate will be responded to within 14 days.   If a full response cannot be provided then an estimated time scale for a full response will be indicated.

All communications will be answered courteously and in accordance with the policy on professional ethics.

Confidentiality (or any other legal duty) must be observed.

If a serious issue arises which cannot be dealt with by a simple exchange of communications, then the grievance procedures must be followed.

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Complaints or Grievances

 

Any enquiry from a Centre or learner or any other aggrieved person will be responded to within 14 days.   If a full response cannot be provided then an estimated time scale for a full response will be indicated, with an explanation as to why the information is not immediately available.  The MD will accept responsibility for overseeing that these time scales are adhered to and that the investigations procedures are followed.

All communications will be answered courteously and in accordance with the policy on professional ethics.

Confidentiality (or any other legal duty) must be observed and users must understand that information cannot be released if it would breach any legal duty.

If a serious issue arises which cannot be dealt with by a simple exchange of communications, then the grievance procedures must be followed.

 

Complaints Procedure (for Centres)

If any Centre feels they have a grievance, they should first discuss it informally with MAEL’s managing director.  If this does not solve the problem, the Centre should put the grievance in writing.

The full procedure to be followed is laid out in the Teaching Centre Operating Manual, section 5.6

Please note: There can be no appeal against conditions imposed by regulatory authorities, or against the standards for the assessment of any qualification.   Complaints can only be considered if they relate to maladministration, breach of policy or failure to maintain published standards.

 

Complaints Procedure (for Learners)

All Centres must have a grievance policy in place, and its operation will be monitored by the MD through a requirement to share the results of any complaint, as part of the contract with MAEL.   It is anticipated that most problems with candidates will be handled by the Centre concerned.  All complaints, on receipt, and the outcome, must be reported to MAEL.

 

The full procedure to be followed is laid out in the Teaching Centre Operating Manual, section 5.6

 

 

 Grievance Procedure (for Staff)

If any member of staff feels they have a grievance, they should first discuss it informally with the person involved.

If a satisfactory outcome cannot be negotiated, the conversation should be followed up in writing, and discussed with their immediate supervisor.  Employees should consider obtaining free advice from ACAS (helpline 08457 474747)

If this still does not solve the problem, the staff member should contact the managing director putting the grievance in writing.   If a grievance is raised in the course of a disciplinary process, the employer should consider suspending the disciplinary procedure for a temporary period in order to deal with the grievance.

The managing director will offer a face to face interview within 28 days of the written complaint, to which the staff member is invited to come with an accompanying friend or representative.  A written response will be given to this interview within 21 days of it taking place.

If this still is deemed not to be satisfactory, then an independent arbitrator will be appointed who is approved by both parties.  Costs for the arbitration process will be borne by the party who is deemed to be at fault.

If this still does not solve the problem, then the following steps may be taken:

  • Referral to an employment tribunal
  • Issuance of a court order

 

Nothing in the above policy diminishes the employee’s rights in law.   In the case of ‘whistle-blowing’, if the employee is vindicated in their complaint then the employer will take no recriminatory action in any way, provided the procedure was followed.

 

Allegations against Staff

Any allegation against a member of MAEL’s staff must be reported immediately to the MD who will instigate the investigation procedure.  However, should the allegation relate to any matter of child protection, it will be referred immediately to the Local Area Designated Officer (LADO) and their advice followed.

Confidentiality will be observed in all situations, in accordance with the Data Protection policy.  The MD will follow the same procedure as if a formal complaint had been made if he/she concludes that there is a substantive case.  The procedures of the Whistle-blowing policy will also be observed.  At the end of the process the MD will report to the Board of Directors.

 

 

Appeals Procedure

A panel of not less than three members will be set up.  This will include at least one decision-making member who is not an employee of MAEL, nor an assessor or otherwise connected to the company.  All persons on the panel will have professional competence and no personal interest in the outcome.  The learner will be invited to put their case personally, accompanied by a representative, but will not have the right to sit in on the whole process.  Alternatively the appeal may be based on written evidence only.

 

A proposed date for the hearing will be proposed within 28 days of receiving a formal appeal.  The appellant must respond within seven days and if the date is unacceptable to good cause MAEL will propose another within a further 28 days.  Once the appeal has been heard, MAEL will send a response to the appellant within 28 days.  Provided that closes the matter, the results of the appeal will be published on the company website.

 

Notwithstanding all the preceding, any responder to an enquiry, or author of a report, must ensure that no information is disclosed which would breach data protection laws or be otherwise contrary to any statutory duty.

 

Should the appeal reveal a failure in the MAEL assessment process, the CEO will:

  • Organise the identification of all other learners affected by the issue,
  • Determine whether they have been subject to any adverse effect, and initiate action to mitigate that effect
  • Produce and implement an action plan to prevent recurrence

 

If the appeal finds the company was in any way at fault, MAEL will bear the full costs.  If the appeal fails, and the panel feels that the grounds for making the appeal were insufficiently substantial, MAEL will seek to recover the costs of the appeal from the appellant.  He/she will be notified of this before the appeal hearing is organised.

Date of last review: 16/02/2016