Help and Advice

Information, advice and representation on university procedures including appeals, cheating and resits.

What sort of complaints can be considered?

A complaint can be made on any grounds, but common examples include:

  • Dissatisfaction with academic provision, such as teaching, assessment, course information or resources
  • Dissatisfaction with the quality of supervision or tuition
  • Failure to meet obligations set out in the University Prospectus, course handbook or Partnership Agreement
  • Dissatisfaction with a University service, such as accommodation or administrative services
  • Harassment, bullying and victimization

Marks and degree classifications cannot be changed through this procedure. The academic appeals procedure must be used. See our page on Appeals for more information.

How do I make a complaint?

You must make the complaint yourself; however you can get help from the Student Advice Centre or another party.  There are different levels at which a complaint can be made:

  • Locally, to the School or service concerned, by having an informal chat with a staff member or the Head of the School or service
  • Locally, but more formally, by writing to the head of the School or service concerned
  • In writing to the University's Complaints Officer. You will also be given the opportunity to discuss your complaint with the Complaints Officer.
  • In an appeal to the Pro-Vice Chancellor, if the response of the Complaints Officer is unsatisfactory

It is usually most effective to complain locally as a first step. This is often quicker, and gives the School or service concerned a chance to explain or rectify the problem. It may be the first time a particular problem has been brought to the attention of the School or service.

Of course, it may not be appropriate to do this, for example if a complaint concerns the Head of your School.

A local level complaint can be made in person or in writing. If you complain in person, it is a good idea to note the date you complained and keep a written record of what you said and the response. Formal complaints should be made in writing.

The University's Complaints Procedure leaflet is below, you can also download the leaflet here:

 

Are there any time limits?

If you have graduated or left the University, you must make your complaint within 3 months of graduating or leaving.

It is important to complain as soon as you can after the event concerned. This means that the complaint can be investigated promptly and is more likely to be resolved quickly. You are also more likely to remember details.

After you have made a complaint, the following time limits apply:

  • If complaining at local level, you should receive a response within 15 working days
  • The University Complaints Officer should provide a response within 20 working days
  • If you wish to appeal the Complaints Officer’s decision, you must do so within 20 working days

Sometimes these deadlines are exceeded, especially if your complaint is complex. The University should keep you informed of the reasons for any deadlines being missed.

What should I include in a complaint?

Your complaint should explain:

  • The grounds, or reasons, for the complaint. You should include any relevant University rules or guidelines and explain how, in your opinion, these have been breached. 
  • You should also give specific examples of what happened for example, instead of just saying a staff member was rude to you, explain exactly what they said or did. 
  • Be as specific as possible about the dates and people involved, and include supporting evidence such as witness statements, if possible.
  • How it has affected you - this may be academically, emotionally, financially or health-wise.
  • The solution you are seeking.

What if I am not happy with the outcome?

If you are unhappy with the response to a local-level complaint, you can complain to the Complaints Officer. Decisions made by the Complaints Officer can be appealed by asking that a Pro-Vice Chancellor review the case.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor's decision is the final decision of the University.If you are not satisfied at this stage, you can complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). For more information contact the Student Advice Centre.

Where can I get help?

The Student Advice Centre can help by:

  • Explaining the complaints procedure
  • Helping you decide whether you have grounds for complaining, whether University obligations have been breached, and what would be a reasonable outcome to ask for.
  • Helping you decide the most appropriate level at which to complain
  • Helping you approach the School or service in question
  • Helping you to write a formal complaint and decide what supporting evidence to include
  • Helping you decide whether to appeal or challenge a decision issued by the Complaints Officer or Pro-Vice Chancellor.

We make every effort to ensure information on these pages is accurate and up to date, however policies, procedures and regulations are subject to change. We therefore cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience suffered as a result of using our pages. Read the full disclaimer.

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