What is the Student Complaints Procedure for?
These regulations provide a means for you to raise a complaint about any service the University provides and to get that issue resolved.
Complaints can be about:
- Concerns relating to academic programmes or services; or
- your student experience, including relationships with administrators or support services.
Please note you cannot use the complaints procedure to appeal against the termination of a tenancy agreement with the University.
If you wish to complain about the standard of lectures, or a similar issue about the delivery of a programme, you must make the complaint before the Board of Examiners has decided your result – you cannot use the complaints procedure to appeal against a Board of Examiners’ decision.
Who can use this process?
You can pursue a complaint if you are a current student or if you attended your graduation ceremony or withdrew from your programme less than three months ago.
If you are enrolled on a University Award delivered at a Partner College you should use the College’s own procedures. Once these are exhausted you have a right to pursue the complaint with the University.
How do you make a complaint?
If you have a complaint it is in everyone’s interest that you make it as soon as possible.
Before you begin formal proceedings we would encourage you firstly to try and resolve the issue informally, either by speaking directly with those concerned or with your personal tutor, programme leader or the Students’ Union. If an informal approach cannot settle the issue, only then should you begin formal proceedings.
To make a formal complaint you must contact a Student Complaints Officer in the Secretariat who will send you a form (SCP1), for you to complete, which will guide you on how to set out the details of your case. On the form you must:
- Outline how you’ve tried to resolve it informally
- Set out what your complaint is about and the negative impact it has had
- Set out what your preferred outcome should be from your complaint
- Provide evidence for your complaint and all other relevant material.
Please be aware: issues and evidence not introduced at this stage won’t normally be accepted for consideration at subsequent stages.
Once your complaint has been received your Head of School (or nominated senior member of staff) will carry out an investigation into your case and conclude it within 20 working days. When they have completed their investigation you will receive a report of their findings.
If your complaint is upheld in whole or in part then they will set out how the issue will be resolved and you will receive an apology and/or other appropriate remedies.
If, upon receipt of this letter, you are not satisfied with the outcome (because you feel material elements of your complaint have not been addressed, or that you haven’t been offered a fair resolution) then you have 10 working days to request an Independent Review – you can do this by filling out the Complaint Review proforma, stating the reason for your dissatisfaction with the first stage’s outcome and providing evidence to support that claim. This should be submitted to the Student Complaints Officer handling your case.
There are two possible further steps to the complaints procedure after the Head of School investigation:
- Independent Review
- Complaint Hearing
Further details of these latter stages are set out in Part E of the University General Regulations. If you have exhausted the University’s internal processes and you remain dissatisfied, you have the opportunity to take your complaint further by approaching the national Office for the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) who will consider reviewing your case.
What if your complaint is about your Head of School, and is very serious?
In some cases it may be necessary to deviate from the set complaints procedure. If your complaint relates to, or contains criticism of your Head of School, then the Student Complaints Officer will arrange for another Head of School to investigate your case.
If the complaint is of a very serious nature it may be referred directly to a more advanced stage. If you need advice on whether your case requires an advanced referral you are welcome to discuss it with the Governance Manager.
How long will each stage take?
Time taken for:
Head of School stage: 20 working days
Independent Reviewer stage: 10 working days
Complaint Hearing, with Panel to meet and deliver its decision: 20 working days
Please note that these timescales are guidelines only: the University reserves the right to extend them in cases where keeping to a tight time-frame might prevent a fair and just resolution.
You are expected to assist the process by responding to requests for information and attend meetings in a prompt manner. If you fail to do so without good reason you will be issued with a letter requesting a response by a set deadline – failure to meet this deadline will result in your complaint being withdrawn.
Student Complaint Officers
Lisa Baker firstname.lastname@example.org 01522 886665
Jocelyn Acquaye email@example.com 01522 886374 / Chloe Bowman firstname.lastname@example.org 01522 886498 / Craig France email@example.com 01522 886354 / Tory Cliffe firstname.lastname@example.org 01522 886325