The university complaints process is a formal procedure that allows students to raise concerns or grievances about various aspects of their university experience and seek a resolution or improvement.
Guide to complaints
I'm not happy with my course or a service I am receiving from the University, or I want to complain about the behaviour of another student or a staff member. What can I do?
You can complain about any aspect of University life; teaching or supervision, a service provided by the University or behaviour of staff or other students. You will need to be specific and provide evidence of the issues you have faced.
The University states that nobody should be disadvantaged as a result of making a complaint.
Contact us if you would like support with drafting your complaint. We are an independant organisation from the University, and therefore able to support and represent you with matters such as complaints.
The University has a three stage complaints process for complaints about teaching-related or service-related provision (this may include a complaint about a member of University staff).
If your complaint is about the behaviour of a student (if you are alleging a possible breach of the student code of conduct by another student), this should be raised by following the guidance in Section 2 of the University's Disciplinary Regulations.
The Student Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedure may also be of help depending on the nature of your complaint.
There is a separate process for submitting an appeal or complaint in relation to Admissions.
Submitting a University complaint 2021-22
Early resolution stage
You should raise your concern or difficulty with the people most directly involved with it, for example your Course Leader if it is a course-related matter or your Student Support Adviser. It's important to be as specific as possible and to think about what might help to put the problem right. You can send them an email or ask to meet in person. You should let them know that what you are discussing is an informal complaint. Once you receive the outcome of this, if you are unhappy with it you can take your complaint to the next stage.
Tips on what to write
You need to be as clear as possible, as the person who reads your complaint may know nothing about your circumstances. Once you have written your statement you need to read it back and consider whether someone with no prior knowledge of your complaint would understand what you have written.
If you are complaining about a specific person, you must include their name otherwise your complaint cannot be followed up. If you know what their job title is, or which course they are studying, you should include this as well.
Writing a chronology of events may be helpful. Be as specific as you can with the dates that the events occurred.
Give examples to support the points you raise, and include evidence where possible.
Only mention witnesses and people who support your complaint by name if they have given you permission to do so.
You do not need to write your statement like an essay. It is fine to write it as a list of bullet points.
Stage 1 Complaint Resolution
If you are not satisfied with the response to the early resolution stage (informal complaint) or the matter is too serious to be dealt with informally, you can submit a Stage 1 complaint using form SC1. If it is a complex complaint, particularly if it is a group complaint, you may be asked to complete an SC1 form straight away to help the University with its investigation.
You need to send the form, with as much evidence as you can, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should receive confirmation of the receipt of your complaint within 3 days. A complaint investigator will be appointed who will then keep you informed about the progress of their investigation. You may be called to a meeting with them. Contact the Advice Service if you would like someone to help you to get ready for the meeting.
If you have raised the issue of an alleged breach of the student code of conduct by another student, and you are not happy with how this has been dealt with, seek advice from us about how best to take this forward. This may depend on what has already happened and who you have contacted.
Stage 2 Complaint Review
If you believe that the outcome of your Stage 1 complaint is unreasonable or unfair, you can put in a further Stage 2 complaint by completing form SC2.
You must do this within 10 working days of receiving the written outcome of the Stage 1 complaint.
You cannot raise new concerns at this stage.
Your Stage 2 complaint will be investigated by two senior staff members trained in handling complaints, who have not previously been involved in dealing with your complaint. You will be asked to attend a meeting; an adviser from our Advice Service can help you prepare for the meeting and may be able to accompany you to the meeting (subject to availability). If you are about to enter this stage of the process, it is a good idea to contact our service as soon as possible for support.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
Once all University processes are completed (and you recieve a 'Completion of Procedures' letter) and you are unsatisfied with the outcome, you can contact the OIA - an independent body that oversees universities. The OIA looks at the handling of the complaint process rather than at the substance of the complaint itself (i.e. it does not look at the issue you actually complained about) and is interested in whether the University has acted fairly, reasonably and within its own procedures. The OIA provides helpful guidance, which you are advised to look at before you submit a complaint to them. We can also advise you on this stage of the complaints process.
We can discuss your concerns with you, help you clarify your issues and pull together your complaint. We can guide you through the process, check your statements and attend meetings with you (subject to availability).