Complaints about the University
If you feel that the University has treated you unfairly, not been supportive of you, has discriminated against you or not provided services which you would expect, you are entitled to make a complaint. The complaints procedure is separate from academic appeals and bullying & harassment procedure but if you’re unsure which process to follow the Advice Hub will discuss your case with you and make sure you’re following the right route.
Depending on your complaint there may be other people who can help you. For example, if it is an issue with something on your course, your class representatives might be able to bring it up at the departmental staff/student meetings. Alternatively you can bring your complaint to the attention of one of The Union’s Forums and they may be able to bring it to the attention of various University committees.
The Complaint Procedure has two parts which are explained briefly below or you can read the full policy.
This is for issues which are straightforward and can easily be resolved without or with very little investigation needing to take place. They include the kind of thing that would result in an apology, an reasonable explanation of why something has or hasn't happened or another fairly easy solution. You can make a complaint of this kind to any member of staff but it is normally best to approach the person involved or the person above them. The details of your complaint will be logged and you will normally have an outcome within 5 days.
If your complaint is more complicated it will be handled through an investigation. To trigger this stage of the process you can speak to a member of staff or complete a complaint form. The Advice Hub would recommend that you fill in the form as it allows you make sure you've said everything you want to say and supplied evidence that supports your case. We can help you with your complaint if you would like advice on what to include and how to present it. Once you submit your complaint the University will put someone in charge of investigating what you have raised. The investigator will often ask you to come to a meeting to discuss it (one of us can go with you if you'd like), they will also speak to relevant staff and other students. Once they have completed their investigation they will write a report and get back to you within 20 days (this can be extended if the relevant people are not available within the 20 days limit but they will tell you this).
We would strongly advise that you speak to someone at the Advice Hub before making your complaint and so that you have some support while it is being investigated as it can be a difficult and stressful experience for some people.
What if I'm still not happy?
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can ask for it to be externally reviewed by the SPSO but please be aware that they will only look at whether the University has followed the correct procedure and investigated your complaint properly. They won't change outcomes but if they find faults they can ask the University to revisit complaints.
If you are unhappy because you feel the procedure has been mishandled than you can address this through the university first but your complaint has to be about a failure in procedure not simply a request that they look at your original complaint again.
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