academic advice

Making a complaint about the University

If students are unhappy with any service or lack of service by the University, you can submit a complaint via the university complaints procedure. We understand that at times things can be frustrating for students and there is a need to communicate your concerns. It is always better to raise an issue that is bothering you earlier, informally, than leaving it until later.

A complaint may be about the conduct of a member of staff at the University, or the delivery of a course or a service provided by the University. There are multiple stages to the complaints procedure, but it is often not necessary for a complaint to go through all of them.


Stage 1 – The ‘Informal’ Stage

The University prefers and highly recommends that students try resolving issues informally (Stage 1 or “local resolution”) so that an earlier resolution can be found without the need to go through a longer and more formal process. Normally, each stage of the complaints procedure must be exhausted before moving on to the next. In most cases, an informal/local resolution should be pursued, except when the complaint is of a very serious or sensitive nature.

Your complaint should be made within one calendar month of the event which has prompted your complaint. If there are a series of events, the complaint should be made within one calendar month of the final event in the series.

You should submit your complaint by completing the Stage 1 complaint form and sending it to the member of staff most directly involved in the event leading to the complaint. If you are uncomfortable doing this (for example, because your complaint is about the behaviour of one of your academics) you should send the complaint to a member of staff within the same School or department who can respond to it. This might be your course leader if your complaint is about one of your module leaders; or the head of department if your complaint is about your course leader.

You should be invited to a meeting to discuss your complaint and, hopefully, a resolution to it will be proposed. The member of staff will then return the Stage 1 form to you with the resolution outlined in it. If no resolution is proposed, they should also explain why. The member of staff should try and respond or resolve the issue as soon as possible, but generally within one calendar month of receiving it.

If no resolution was found, or you are unhappy with the proposed resolution, you can move to Stage 2.


Stage 2 – The Formal Stage

In most instances, a student must have completed Stage 1 of the complaints procedure before they can move to Stage 2. You must submit your fully completed Stage 1 complaint form as part of your Stage 2 complaint. 

The Stage 2 complaint is done via an online form found here. It must be submitted within one calendar month of the date the Stage 1 form is returned to you. As part of your Stage 2 complaint you must explain why the resolution or action taken by the University in response to your complaint has been inadequate. 

The University will appoint an Investigating Officer who will look into the complaint. They will likely request a meeting with you to discuss the matters. A Students’ Union adviser can attend the meeting with you if enough notice is given, usually 48 hours or more, and there are advisers available. The Investigating Officer will also likely meet with others involved in the complaint as part of their investigation. They will then produce a report that will propose a resolution.


When do I need to submit my complaint by?

A Stage 1 complaint needs to be made within one calendar month of the event which has given rise to the complaint. If there are a series of events the complaint should be made within one calendar month of the final event in the series. 

For Stage 2, this needs to be submitted to the Complaints Team within one calendar month of the date the completed Stage 1 complaint form was returned to you by the University staff member it was submitted to.


Can a group complaint be made?

Yes, a group of students can make a complaint together about an issue that has affected them as a group. The process and timeframe are the same as an individual complaint, but the details of each student involved in the complaint should be included on the form and all members of the group should approve what is included in the complaint form and the evidence submitted in support of it. 

In a group complaint, one person should be nominated to be the spokesperson for the group. They will communicate with the University on the group’s behalf, attend meetings and receive communication from the University regarding the complaint.