Academic Services Division
   
   
  

The Student Complaint Procedure

The information below regarding the Student Complaint Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Student Complaints Policy.

This procedure is applicable to UK students as well as students at UNMC (Malaysia) and UNNC (Ningbo).

Making a Complaint

The following sections explain what this means, and what to do if a complaint is not resolved satisfactorily.

Level 1: Local Level

Level 2: Head of School/Service review

Level 3: Faculty Dean/Registrar review

After the internal University processes have been exhausted, complainants have the opportunity to have their complaint independently reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).

To make a complaint a student must start at Level 1.

Expected Time Limits

Where possible, these deadlines should be adhered to and appropriate reasons should be given promptly to the student when the time deadlines are not feasible. 

 

Student

Academic Services

Investigation

Level 1

Complaint should be raised within 1 month of cause for complaint

No involvement

Response will be communicated within 6 weeks of notification of complaint. If this is not possible, an alternative timescale will be issued to the complainant within the 6 weeks.

Level 2

Complaint should be raised within 1 month of outcome of Local Level

Will acknowledge receipt of complaint within 5 working days of receipt

Response will be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of complaint form in Academic Services.  If this is not possible, an alternative timescale will be issued to the complainant within the 6 weeks.

Level 3

Complaint should be raised within 1 month of outcome of Level 2 complaint

Will acknowledge receipt of complaint within 5 working days of receipt

Response will be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of complaint form in Academic Services. If this is not possible, an alternative timescale will be issued to the complainant within the 6 weeks.

OIA

Complaint should be raised within 3 months of the date of the Completion of Procedures letter

No direct involvement with complainant

Variable

 

If a student fails to proceed within the given deadlines of the complaints procedure they may not be able to progress through the internal complaints mechanisms of the University. 

Level 1: Local Level

Students are expected to try to resolve a complaint directly, informally and quickly with the person concerned. In some circumstances, in the first instance, the student may prefer to approach a different member of staff e.g. Personal Tutor, Course or Module Convener or School Manager. 

The complaint should be made within 1 month of the unsatisfactory circumstances occurring, at the latest.  The sooner the matter is raised, the better.

The student is expected to explain clearly what the problem is and what outcome they are seeking, and the member of staff is expected to listen to the complaint and to try to resolve it in a straightforward, reasonable and prompt manner. Staff dealing with complaints are encouraged, whenever practical, to meet with the student to establish the precise cause of dissatisfaction, to explore the remedy sought by the student and to foster a mutual understanding of the issues involved.

Although informal, the member of staff should make notes of any meetings and keep a record of the agreed outcome.  Notes should be shared with the student.  The student should be notified that the matter is deemed to be resolved and advised of the availability of Level 2 of the complaints procedure, if the complaint is not upheld.

We expect most complaints to be resolved in this way.

Level 2: Head of School/Service formal review

If Level 1 does not provide a satisfactory outcome for the student, they can ask the Head of School/Service to deal formally with the complaint.

The student should complete Complaint Form A to set out;

  • what their complaint is;
  • what the supporting evidence is;
  • why informal resolution was unsuccessful;
  • what outcome they want.

Upon completion, the form should be sent to the Governance Team via the following email address; studentcomplaints@nottingham.ac.uk.  The Governance Team will only deal with complaints presented on Complaint Form A where all of these points are covered. A hard copy is available to students who, for reasons of disability, are unable to access the electronic form.  Please contact studentcomplaints@nottingham.ac.ukfor further information.

Complaint Form A should be submitted within 1 month of notification of the outcome of Level 1.

If the form does not set out clearly and with reasonable brevity the points indicated above, the student will be asked to resubmit the form in a manner that enables proper consideration of the complaint to take place.

The Governance Team will administer the complaint and will be accessible to complainants and staff at all stages of the process.  The Governance Team will acknowledge receipt of Complaint Form A within 5 working days. The complaint will be logged and referred to the appropriate person in the school, usually the Head of School/Service.  If the subject of the original complaint is the Head of School, then another Head of School will conduct the review. If the subject of the original complaint is the Head of Service, then another Head of Service or their line manager will conduct the review.  If the subject of the complaint is a member of the University’s Executive Board, another member of University Executive Board will conduct the review.

The Head of School/Service will ensure that an investigation is carried out before a written response is provided to the complainant.  The investigation and its outcome must be fair and reasonable.

The written reply from the Head of School/Service will follow a standard template which will be provided by The Governance Team.  The Head of School/Service will populate the template and return it to The Governance Team, who will send the response to the complainant.

If the Head of School/Service finds in favour of the student, they may decide on whatever redress they think appropriate, bearing in mind the outcome sought by the student. This may, in appropriate circumstances, include monetary compensation if the student can demonstrate that financial loss has been incurred.

If the complaint is not upheld, the student will be notified of the availability of Level 3 of the complaints procedure.

The reply will normally be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of Complaint Form A by The Governance Team.  If the investigation will take longer than 6 weeks, the student will be informed of the reason and an expected date of response.

Complainants, and individuals named in complaints, will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint at all stages.

Level 3: Faculty Dean/Registrar review

Where the Level 2 complaint was heard by a Head of Service, the Level 3 complaint will be heard by the Registrar, rather than a Faculty Dean.

A Faculty Dean may be asked to review the way a Head of School/Service handled a complaint.  The Faculty Dean will review the complaint and exercise discretion and judgement as to whether further investigation is necessary.

The student should complete Complaint Form B to set out;

  • why they believe the decision made at Level 2 was not fair or reasonable;
  • how the procedure for the Level 2 complaint was procedurally incorrect and how this made a significant difference to the outcome of their complaint

The student must set out the grounds of the complaint by making reference to those standards, and must provide evidence to support their claim. If the student provides evidence to support one or both of the points above, the Faculty Dean will arrange for further investigation to take place.  In reaching a decision, the reviewer is expected to be fair and reasonable. A complaint without adequate grounds and evidence will be dismissed.

Complaint Form B should be submitted within 1 month of notification of the outcome of the Level 2 complaint.

Upon completion, the form should be sent to the Governance Team via the following email address; studentcomplaints@nottingham.ac.uk.  The Governance Team will only deal with complaints presented on Complaint Form B and where one or both of the points above has been addressed. A hard copy is available to students who, for reasons of disability, are unable to access the electronic form.  Please contact studentcomplaints@nottingham.ac.ukfor further information.

The Governance Team will acknowledge receipt of Complaint Form B within 5 working days. The complaint will be logged and referred to the Faculty Dean.  If the Level 2 complaint was reviewed by the Faculty Dean, it will be referred to the Dean of a different Faculty.

Complainants, and individuals named in complaints, will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint at all stages.

Once a decision has been made, the Faculty Dean will provide the response to The Governance Team, who will send the response to the complainant.

If the complaint is upheld, both the student and the Head of School/Service will receive a written explanation of their decision.  

If the Faculty Dean does not uphold the complaint, the student will receive a written response giving reasons, and a "Completion of Procedures" letter (see below) will be issued.

The Faculty Dean may decide to uphold part, but not all, of the complaint and will respond to the student accordingly.

The reply will normally be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of Complaint Form B by The Governance Team.  If the investigation will take longer than 6 weeks, the student will be informed of the reason and an expected date of response.

Decisions regarding liability for fees

Where a School deems the refund or waiver of a student's tuition fees to be the appropriate redress following a complaint made by a student, the liability for the fees will transfer to the School (where the complaint was made against the School).  Details of the relevant circumstances and any associated documentation should be forwarded in the first instance to studentcomplaints@nottingham.ac.uk.  Where a refund or waiver is imposed on a School as a result of a Level 3 complaint outcome, the School will be notified by email prior to the outcome of the complaint being communicated to the student.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator

Once the internal complaints procedure has been completed, if the student is still not happy with the outcome, they may take their complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).  The OIA operates externally to the University. It will not normally look at a complaint unless and until all relevant internal complaints procedures have been exhausted. Further information is available from the OIA website http://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

Completion of Procedures

As required by the OIA, if we are unable to resolve a complaint to the student's satisfaction, and there are no further steps available to the student, we will issue a formal "Completion of Procedures" letter. This provides a formal confirmation that the student has exhausted the internal complaints procedure, and is required before a complaint may be considered by the OIA.

Complaints made direct to the Vice-Chancellor

Complaints are handled most effectively by following the guidance in this procedure. If a complaint is made direct to the Vice-Chancellor, rather than by following this procedure, his office will pass it to the Academic Services Division who will ensure the complaint is referred to the most appropriate person, in line with the published procedure.

Publicising our procedures  

Complaints and appeals form part of the University's process of quality review and improvement and are considered as providing valuable feedback rather than criticism. We will widely publicise information about procedures to students and staff, and all Schools and Central Services are required to provide a link to them via their websites. 

Flow Chart

A summary of the complaint procedure is also available to view as a flow chart.

Contacts

Governance Team

Academic Services Division

E Floor

Portland Building

studentcomplaints@nottingham.ac.uk

Help

Students are encouraged to contact their local student advisory body for assistance at any stage of the procedure.

For the UK campus, students may contact the Student Advice Centre, Tel: 0115 8468730, Email student-advice-centre@nottingham.ac.uk

studentsoncampus
 

Academic Services Division

Portland Building, University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Please see our departmental organisation pages for contact numbers
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5540