While at University we hope that you will have an enjoyable experience and come away with a degree in your chosen subject. However sometimes you may encounter an issue with your course or experience at the University. If for any reason you are unhappy, and would like to highlight your concerns to the University, you have the right to use the University's Complaints procedure.
Our Advice team can provide support on this process, attending meetings with you and helping you to complete the complaints form.
There are two main stages to the complaints process; an informal stage, and a formal stage. A complaint should normally be raised within 2 months of the events/actions/lack of action complained about.
Where possible, it is advisable to try to resolve the complaint informally. If your complaint relates to an academic matter, your first point of contact should normally be the member of academic staff concerned. You could also raise it with a member of staff who is responsible for dealing on a day to day basis with the matter being complained about e.g. your PAT, Programme leader or Head of Department.
Where your complaint is specifically about a module or programme, you can raise concerns through your relevant staff/student liaison committee.
If you have taken measures to try to resolve the complaint informally, ideally via email or by a meeting in person, and are still unhappy, then you may wish to progress this to a formal complaint.
A formal complaint should be done in writing using the Complaints form which can be found [here].
When completing the form consider what specifically you are unhappy with or would want changed. Your complaint should include where possible:
- A description of events
- Dates of incidents
- Witnesses if appropriate
- Any relevant documentation
You should detail what reasonable steps you have taken to try and resolve the complaint informally previously, and why these were unsuccessful.
It should also state what reasonable steps you believe should be taken to resolve the complaint, and any outcomes you would like from the complaint.
The completed form should be submitted in a sealed envelope addressed to Student Complaints, Office of the Dean of Students. If you return the form to either the Students' Union or Student Futures, a receipt can be given.
Once a complaint has been received, the University will send confirmation that it has been received. They may also invite you to a meeting with the Proctors' Office on behalf of the Investigating Officer.
The complaint will be investigated by an Investigating Officer who is appointed by the Office of the Dean of Students. The investigation will involve looking at your initial complaint, plus any additional information sent either by yourself or requested by the department/other parties involved.
Once all information has been examined, the investigating officer will compile a report to be sent to the complainant (you), the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Head of the department involved in the complaint. The report should detail the circumstances of the complaint, the method of and findings of the investigation, any proposed recommendations for redress and any proposed recommendations for future or amended working practices designed to prevent the issues raised in the complaint from recurring. The Office of the Dean of Students will then monitor the department to ensure the implementation of proposed actions. Any outcomes which directly affect the student will be communicated directly.
You can request a review of the complaints outcome within 10 working days of receiving the report if:
- The Investigating Officer has not responded to all the substantive areas of the complaint
- There was procedural irregularity in connection with the determination by the Investigating Officer; or
- New evidence has come to light which was not, with reasonable diligence, obtainable by the Complainant(s) at Stage 2.
To request a review you should resubmit the complaint within the 10 working days, from the date of receiving the report, to the Office of the Dean of Students. The resubmission should set out the grounds for a review and, if previously unavailable new evidence is relied on, explain why it was not previously obtainable. Appropriate written evidence, which would include a copy of the University’s initial response and any additional evidence, should also be provided by the Complainant.
This review will be considered, and may result in re-examination of the complaint by a new individual apponited to review to original complaint and additional evidence if relevant.
If you exhaust all internal procedures, a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued by the University, and you may be able to take the complaint externally to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). Our advice team can support with the initial complaint, review and OIA complaint if you need around this.