What can I complain about?
Section 1.3.3 of the Student Complaints Procedure sets out what you can complain about.
You should make it clear to the member of staff to whom you report your concern that you wish to make a complaint under the Student Complaints Procedure
What can’t I complain about?
- Academic judgement
- Board of Examiners’ decisions i.e. progression, assessment and awards.
- Degree classifications
- Examination or assignment marks
- University Committee decisions i.e. academic offences, student conduct, academic appeals.
How do I make a complaint?
Most complaints raised by students can be dealt with at Stage 1, an informal process involving discussions with staff in the School or Service where the difficulty has arisen. You can use the Student Complaint (Stage 1) Pro-Forma to submit your stage 1 complaint if you wish, however it is not mandatory.
If you have an issue with the content of a lecture, or with a lecturer, you should speak to them about it. If you feel uncomfortable about this, then you should discuss the issue with your Personal Tutor or another member of staff in your School.
If you are unable to discuss the issues with the staff in the School or University Service, you may submit a formal Student Complaint (Stage 2) Form to the Head of Academic Affairs.
If the concern arises during a work or study placement, you should raise the matter in the first instance with the member of staff at the workplace or institution in question who is responsible for the placement. You should note that the University’s Student Complaints Procedure cannot be used to pursue a complaint against an external body.
When should I raise an issue or concern?
You should always try to resolve a problem or issue as soon as it occurs and should approach the appropriate persons within 10 working days of the incident occurring. Usually, the sooner you raise the concern, the easier it is to resolve.
What if my circumstances are confidential or sensitive?
All information provided will be treated by the University within the normal bounds of confidentiality and in accordance with Data Protection requirements. However, any information or documentation submitted by you as part of a complaint will normally be shared with anyone against whom the complaint has been made or from whom a response is required. Please be aware that if you do not want to share all the details of your concerns with the University within the Student Complaints Procedure, this may result in the details of your situation not being taken into account during the investigation of your complaint.
Will the person against whom I have raised a complaint be told about my complaint?
Yes, normally the person against whom a complaint has been made will be made aware of the allegations being made against them, and will normally be provided with a copy of the complaint against them. However, they won't be given information or documentation about any other elements of the complaint that do not relate to them.
You have the right to be accompanied to any meetings by a registered student of the University (including a Sabbatical Officer from the Students’ Union) or by a member of staff of the University (including a member of staff from Advice SU) or University Chaplaincy at any stage in the procedure. The role of the person accompanying you is one of support, not representation, and you will normally be expected to present your own case.
Can I make an anonymous complaint?
Complaints made anonymously will not normally be investigated. You may wish to consider speaking to your class representative or Students’ Union Officers, who may be willing to raise general issues on your behalf.
However, the university reserves the right to investigate anonymous complaints, if i deems it appropriate to do so.
Can someone else complain on my behalf?
Each student making a complaint shall normally be expected to present their own case.
Complaints from third parties shall only be considered for investigation if it is accepted that there is a valid reason for you not being able to submit or deal with the complaint yourself.
A complaint submitted by one student (the Lead Student) as representative of a group of named students, where the issue/s raised is the same or substantially the same in each case, will be accepted and investigated in accordance with the Student Complaints Procedure. The Lead Student must provide evidence that they are acting on behalf of and with the consent of the other named students. All communication from the University will be with the Lead Student, who will be responsible for disseminating information to other members of the group.
I accept that things go wrong and sometimes can’t be fixed but I still want to complain – is this ok?
Yes. Sometimes things can go wrong and may not be resolved or there may be no suitable redress. It is useful, however, for such matters to be brought to the attention of the University so that it can investigate and, if appropriate, take steps to ensure that there is no recurrence. This can provide useful feedback for the University. Complaints of this nature can therefore act as useful feedback for the University. You can seek advice on whether or not to pursue such a complaint or simply inform the Students’ Union or your class representative who may raise the issue on your behalf.
What if I want the process to stop?
You can stop the process at any time by speaking to the person dealing with your Stage 1 complaint or by writing to the Investigating Officer or Academic Affairs explaining the reasons for requesting an end to a Stage 2 investigation.
Frivolous, vexatious or mischievous complaints
Make sure you seek advice about making a complaint. The onus is on you to present sufficient evidence to warrant investigation under the procedure.
A student who makes a complaint against a member of staff which, following an investigation, is found to be frivolous (i.e. a complaint which has no reasonable chance of success) or vexatious (i.e. where there can be no additional remedy beyond that which the student has already been offered) or where the complaint is found to be mischievous (where the motive for making a complaint is malicious, spiteful or vindictive), shall be deemed to be in breach of the Conduct Regulations.
Unsubstantiated allegations / defamatory comments
You should be careful not to make unsubstantiated or defamatory allegations or comments about other students, members of University staff or any other person. If the University considers that an allegation or comment may be deemed to be defamatory, it may require you to retract the allegation or delete the comment before commencing an investigation.
What should I do if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1?
The University expects that many issues can be dealt with successfully through the Stage 1 process. However, if you feel dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1, or with the way your complaint was dealt with during Stage 1, you may submit a formal Student Complaint (Stage 2) Form to the Head of Academic Affairs.