You may be unhappy with your course or certain elements of the University and therefore wish to make a complaint. There is a clear, defined procedure in place to ensure students can express concern or dissatisfaction with aspects of the University or the quality of services provided.
Should you feel that you wish to make a complaint you should consult the Academic Regulations which will details what steps you need to take.
Please note: Prior to a formal complaint being made the procedure advises the student to raise the matter in an informal way, seeking advice from university staff as appropriate regarding how they might best do this. If this stage does not resolve the issue, the complaint can proceed to the formal stages. The aim is to resolve the complaint in as timely a fashion as possible.
HOW DO I RAISE AN INFORMAL COMPLAINT?
It is expected that you will have tried to resolve your issue on an informal basis and your complaint may not be considered if there is no evidence that you have tried to do so. When you raise an informal complaint, you need to find the relevant person to explain your issue to, ideally within six weeks of the cause of your complaint.
If you have a complaint about an academic issue, it is best to approach your academic adviser or another trusted person in your department to raise the issue. If you have a general complaint about the way you are being taught on certain modules, or with your teaching and assessment, you could also consider approaching your student/course representative.
If your complaint is about another service within the University, you should first ask them who you should contact your complaint.
It is best to keep records of any informal process that you follow. If you have meetings or telephone conversations regarding the issue, follow them up with an email confirming what was said and agreed. This will be your evidence if you decide to take the matter further. If you are worried about approaching your department or a service on an informal basis, we (the Students’ Union) would be happy to talk the issues over with you first, and may be able to also attend any meetings with you.
HOW DO I MAKE A FORMAL COMPLAINT?
To make a formal complaint, you will need to write, outlining the complaint and any evidence you have, to a designated Complaint Handler who should be identified by your Academic Adviser/Personal Tutor or Course Administrator. This will be acknowledged within five working days, identifying who will investigate the issue.
Things to remember:
- You should give specific examples of what happened (e.g. instead of just saying a staff member was rude to you, explain exactly what they said or did).
- Be concise – producing a timeline can be a useful way of providing clear information.
- Be as specific as possible about the dates and people involved, and if possible, include supporting evidence such as witness statements.
- Explain how you believe the issue has affected you
- Include the outcome or solution you are seeking. This needs to be realistic and proportionate to the complaint.
The investigating officer will investigate the complaint, gathering evidence and witness statements. They will respond with their findings within 14 calendar days.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If you are unhappy with the outcome f the investigation and the response, appeal to the appropriate Deputy Vice-Chancellor within 14 calendar days of the Investigating Officer's response. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor dealing with your appeal will acknowledge receipt of it within five working days.
A member of the University's Senior Management Team who has had no association with the complaint so far will be nominated to convene a complaints panel and act as chair. The Panel Chair will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five working days. They will notify you if the complaint will be heard or not. If not, they will explain why.
The Panel will meet within 21 calendar days of receiving the appeal. The appeal will be heard, complaint addressed, and formal completion of procedures letter issued.
If you are still unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE) is an external body which will hear appeals not resolved within the University. Complaints should be addressed to them within three months of the University's completion of procedures letter.
What is my complaint is about UCSU?
Please contact the Students' Union directly, this will be dealt with by the appropriate manager and escalated accordingly.
WHO CAN HELP ME?