A complaint may be defined as "an expression of dissatisfaction that needs a response". The expression of dissatisfaction may take the form of an informal, verbal complaint or a formal, written complaint.
The Complaints Procedure which is set out in the following pages should be used by anyone to pursue complaints about any service or lack of service provided by the University to which a response is expected.
The following sections explain what this means, and what to do if a complaint is not resolved satisfactorily.
Level 1: Local Level (informal resolution). To make a complaint a student must start at Level 1
Level 2: Head of Unit, or equivalent, review
Level 3: Principal
After the internal University processes have been exhausted, complainants have the opportunity to have their complaint independently reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).
The OIA Good Practice Framework stipulates that the handling of complaints will normally be completed within 90 calendar days of the start of the formal stage (Level 2).
For further information about the complaints procedure please click here.
To download Level 2 Complaint Form please click here.
To download Level 3 Complaint Form please click here.
What issues constitute grounds for complaint under this policy?
The subject of the complaint should relate specifically to one or more of the following, or comparable issues:
- Failure of the University to meet obligations including those outlined in course/student handbooks
- Misleading or incorrect information in prospectuses or promotional material and other information provided by the University
- Concerns about the delivery of a programme, teaching, supervision or administration.
- Poor quality of facilities, learning resources or services provided directly by the University
- Complaints involving other organisations or contractors providing a service on behalf of the University
- Complaints relating to allegations of bullying, harassment or victimisation by members of staff
Complaints about the behaviour of students towards other students are within the scope of the University Code of Discipline for Students.
What issues do not constitute grounds for complaint under this policy?
Challenges to the academic judgement of a member of staff. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator will not interfere with the operation of a University's academic judgement. Dissatisfaction with a mark and/or the academic judgement of the University is not covered by the University's policies. Cases where complaints are upheld and there has been a clear impact on an academic outcome may, however, lead to an academic conclusion e.g. allow a student a further attempt at an assessment.
Cases better suited to consideration under the Academic Appeals Policy including:
- A concern about a decision made by an academic body regarding student progression, academic assessment and award.
- A concern about a decision made under specific regulations, such as fitness to practise
- A concern about a decision relating to an extenuating circumstances claim on the basis of a procedural irregularity
Disagreement with a policy/regulation rather than its application. In this instance, the matter should be raised by the student with the relevant student representative to raise it at the Student Committee or another appropriate committee or group.
A matter of public interest which may be better suited to Whistleblowing Policy (add hyperlink).
Where a student raises issues which do not fall neatly into the category of either complaint or academic appeal, the University will notify the student which specific issues will be considered under which specific procedure and direct the student to the alternative appropriate procedure, for example the academic appeals procedure, for the remaining issues.
For further information about the Complaints Policy please click here.