What can you complain about?
A complaint can be made about a student’s learning experience or an aspect of a University’ service or facility which is provided to students.
You can find the full Student Complaints policy here.
This means that a complaint can be made if a student is dissatisfied with or concerned about any aspect of their experience at the University.
Complaints are different to Academic Appeals. If you wish to appeal against an assessment decision you can read more here.
How can we help with complaints?
Our Union Advice service is independent from the University and we can:
- Explain the complaints process.
- Advise on how to put together a complaint.
- Provide feedback on a draft of your complaint.
- Accompany you to meetings with the University.
- Provide ongoing advice throughout the complaint process.
To seek email advice or book an appointment with an Advisor, please complete our Case Form here.
Complaints Procedure Stages
There are 3 stages of the complaints procedure:
- Early resolution
- Local-level resolution; submitting a Complaints Form
- Requesting a review of your complaint
Stage 1: Early Resolution
Students are expected raise any complaints at the early opportunity and in the simplest way. This would be at the level at which the event leading to the complaint occurred. This could be either at programme-level, School-level or within the relevant service department.
A student who is, or was recently a registered student, or a group of students wishing to complain should normally do so within three months of the event which has given rise to the complaint or, if a series of events has given rise to a complaint, within three months of the final event in the series.
At this stage you do not have to fill in a form, you can simply send an email to the member of staff most directly involved in the event leading to the complaint. This gives that person the opportunity to address your concerns.
You can expect to receive a written response within six weeks.
Stage 2: Local-level resolution; submitting a Complaints Form
If it has not been possible to reach an acceptable informal resolution, it is possible to begin a more formal process to allow for further and more structured investigation.
We would strongly recommend you book an appointment with us to discuss your case before proceeding with a Stage 2 complaint.
In order for a complaint to be considered at Stage 2, you would need to complete the Student Complaints Form (SCF). The form will help focus on the key areas of the complaint and on what you would like to happen. It also gives the University a clear, formal record of the complaint.
The complaint form should usually be submitted within 21 calendar days of the Stage 1 written response or last correspondence which has left you dissatisfied.
It should be sent to the designated complaints officer in your School (your Course officer can tell you who this is) or to the Head of Department/Service.
You should receive an outcome after no more than three months.
Stage 3: Institutional level review
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of local-level resolution, you are able to request a University level review of the complaint investigation if you consider that:
- there has been a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the Stage 2 investigation, or
- new information has come to light, which the student was unable to disclose previously and which would have had a material impact upon the investigation previously undertaken,
The form to request a University level review of a complaint is available here and you must submit it within 21 calendar days. You should send your request to Student & Academic Services by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again we would strongly recommend you book an appointment with us before proceeding with a Stage 3 complaint.
On the form you will need to explain on which ground(s) you wish your complaint to be considered. If you feel the University have made any mistakes in the way they investigated and considered your complaint and/or you now have new information to support your complaint that you could not have previously provided, you will need to explain why and provide any evidence to support your complaint.
The review will be carried out by a designated City Officer. The review will consider whether the outcome of Stage 2 was reasonable rather than reconsider the original case and its evidence.
You should receive an outcome after no more than three months after your Stage 3 complaint is acknowledged. This will represent the completion of the University’s internal complaint procedures and their final decision.
When City’s internal procedures have been concluded a student will be issued with a Completion of Procedures (CoP) letter.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education
Following receipt of a COP, a student may be able to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education: www.oiahe.org.uk.