What is a Stage 2 complaint?
A formal Stage 2 complaint can be submitted if you have used Stage 1 of the Students Complaints Procedure, but remain dissatisfied, or where an informal resolution is not possible or appropriate due to the complexity, seriousness or sensitivity of the case.
How do I submit a Stage 2 complaint?
If an investigation was carried out at Stage 1, you should set out clearly the issues that you consider were not addressed fully at Stage 1 and provide any additional evidence you may have to substantiate your ongoing concerns. However, you cannot introduce new concerns or new elements of your complaint. You should also provide a copy of the Stage 1 outcome letter/email. Failure to provide this documentation with your Stage 2 Complaint form may cause a delay to the process and/or may result in your complaint being referred back to Stage 1.
If you were unable to raise your complaint as a Stage 1 complaint, the reasons why you were unable to do so should be detailed within your Student Complaint (Stage 2) Form.
What evidence should I submit as part of the Stage 2 complaint?
You should submit all relevant evidence that supports your complaint such as emails, details of witnesses and their statements (the Students’ Union can advise you on this). The Investigating Officer will rely on your evidence, so it is important that you include all relevant documentation at this stage of the complaint.
As well as any supporting evidence, you should also provide a copy of the Stage 1 outcome letter/email.
Please be aware that your complaint and supporting documentation will need to be read in detail by the members of staff involved so your complaint should be succinct (ideally no more than 3 A4 pages). Bullet points, rather than blocks of text, will help you to highlight the issues you wish to bring to the University’s attention. Normally, the number of pages of supporting evidence should not exceed 30.
Remember, the onus is on you to present sufficient evidence to support your complaint.
Are there any time limits for making a Stage 2 complaint?
A formal Stage 2 complaint should be submitted to Academic Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) within 10 working days of the outcome of Stage 1 and normally not later than 25 working days after first becoming aware of the incident or issues giving rise to the complaint
The University will consider complaints from students up to one month after graduation or receipt of their final results, whichever is sooner.
Please note that Stage 2 complaints received after the deadline stated in your Stage 1 outcome letter or more than one month after graduation will not normally be considered.
What happens next?
- You will receive an email to confirm receipt of your complaint, normally within five working days.
- Your complaint will be reviewed by the Head of Academic Affairs and, where appropriate, your complaint may be referred to the Head of School or University department in which the complaint arose to attempt to resolve the complaint informally (Stage 1 of the Student Complaints Procedure) before invoking the formal stage of the procedure.
- If it is not clear that you have presented a prima facie case, your complaint will be considered by a Screening Panel under the Prima Facie Screening process (see section 2.1 of the Student Complaints Procedure or the "My complaint has been sent to a Screening Panel - what happens next?" section of the General Principles and Stage 1 Complaint Student Guide).
- If, in the opinion of the Head of Academic Affairs, you have taken all reasonable steps to resolve the complaint and no other University Policy or Procedure is appropriate, your written complaint will be referred to the relevant Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor (FPVC) or Director of the relevant Service, who will appoint an Investigating Officer.
- The Investigating Officer will investigate the complaint (this may involve meeting with you to discuss your complaint) and prepare a report normally within fifteen working days of receipt of the complaint.
- You will be allowed to see a copy of this report and to respond to it before a decision is made. You should check the report for accuracy and ensure that all the issues in your complaint have been addressed fully in the Investigating Officer’s report but you cannot question the findings of the report, or any recommendation, at this stage. Your response should be received by the Investigating Officer within five working days of your receipt of the report. Following receipt of your response, the Investigating Officer may make further enquiries, where necessary.
- The Investigating Officer’s report (which may or may not contain a recommendation), with any further comments from you, or any other parties, shall be forwarded to the relevant Faculty PVC/Director, who shall make a decision
How long will it take to make a decision?
A Stage 2 investigation will normally be completed within 15 working days of receipt by the Investigating Officer. The outcome of the formal (Stage 2) investigation (the decision by the FPVC/Director of Service) will be communicated to you in writing, normally within eight working days of the decision by the FPVC/Director.
However, it may not be possible to meet these deadlines in complex cases or if when key staff or witnesses are unavailable. Where it is not possible for the University to meet the deadlines, for whatever reason and regardless of the time of year, you and anyone against whom a complaint has been made will be informed.
If you want an update on the progress of your complaint, then you should contact Academic Affairs (email@example.com)
What type of finding can be made at Stage 2?
The FPVC/Director of Service will provide you with an outcome to your complaint and may decide to do one of the following:
- Uphold your complaint in full or in part (and take action accordingly); or
- Dismiss your complaint if there is no case to answer; or
- Make any such recommendation(s) or proposed resolution as they deem fit.
What should I do if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 2?
If your complaint is not upheld or you are unhappy with the finding at Stage 2, you may invoke Stage 3 of the Student Complaints Procedure by appealing to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs, using the Student Complaints Appeal (Stage 3) Form.
Please see the Stage 3 Complaint section of the Student Guide for further guidance.