Quality Manual
   
   
  

Applicant Complaint Procedure

 

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

This procedure is applicable to UK applicants as well as applicants to 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 (informal resolution). To make a complaint an applicant must start at Level 1

Level 2: Head of School/Service, or equivalent, review 

Level 3: Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor/Registrar (UK) / Faculty Dean / Director of Academic Services (UNMC) / equivalent (UNNC)

Expected Time Limits

 

  ApplicantAdmissions  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 issues to the complainant within the 6 weeks 
Level 2  Complaint should be raised within 1 month of outcome of Level 1  Will acknowledge receipt of complaint within 5 working days of receipt  * Indicative timescales for this stage are that a response will be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of complaint form in Admissions.  If this is not possible, an alternative timescale will be issued to the complainant.
Level 3  Complaint should be raised within 10 working days of outcome of Level 2 complaint  Will acknowledge receipt of complaint within 5 working days of receipt  *Indicative timescales for this stage are that a response will be sent within 4 weeks of receipt of complaint form in Admissions.  If this is not possible, an alternative timescale will be issued to the complainant.

 

The email address for level 2 and 3 complaints is admissions-complaints@nottingham.ac.uk

If an applicant 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. 

The procedure has been separated into Responsibilities of Applicants and Responsibilities of those involved in the handling of the complaint on behalf of the University.

Responsibilities of Applicants

Level 1: Local Level (informal resolution)

You are expected to try to resolve a complaint directly, informally and quickly with the person/department concerned. 

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

You are expected to explain clearly what the problem is and what outcome you are seeking.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can escalate your complaint to level 2.

Level 2: Head of School/Service, or equivalent, formal review

You should complete the Level 2 Complaint Form within 1 month of notification of the outcome of Level 1.  

You must provide a clear explanation of how you attempted to resolve your complaint informally at Level 1. As a minimum, your explanation should include a specific date, a named member of staff to whom the complaint was reported and why the complaint was not resolved to your satisfaction at Level 1.

Your complaint must be substantiated by evidence.  This may comprise one, or a series of the following types of evidence: a timeline of events, reference to relevant policies, procedures and/or regulations, letters, emails, independent medical evidence, reports by professionals, witness statements, screenshots etc.  Any evidence or appendices relevant to the complaint must be submitted at the same time as the complaint form and clearly referenced and labelled.

If you are making a Subject Access request as part of your complaint, you are expected to submit this as soon as practicably possible after the outcome of your level 1 complaint and to provide evidence of submission as part of your level 2 complaint.

It is your responsibility to make your case. Complaints will not be accepted for further investigation if:

  • your rationale for complaint is unclear
  • you don’t provide evidence
  • you fail to include important dates, times and other details necessary for determining the eligibility of the complaint.  

You are required to ensure that any evidence not written in English is translated and provided at the same time as the complaint paperwork.

If your submission is unclear or unnecessarily long, you will be asked to resubmit the form in a manner that enables proper consideration of the complaint to take place.

You should send the completed form to the Admissions via the following email address; admissions-complaints@nottingham.ac.uk 

You will normally receive an outcome letter within 6 weeks of receipt of your level 2 complaint form by the Admissions Team.  If the investigation will take longer than 6 weeks, you will be informed of the reason and an expected date of response.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can escalate your complaint to level 3 on the following grounds:

  • you believe that a procedural irregularity has occurred in the handling and/or the investigation of the Level 2 complaint and/or;
  • you are in possession of additional evidence which may have affected the outcome at Level 2 but was unavailable at the time of the original Level 2 investigation and/or;
  • you have a compelling argument to demonstrate that the outcome at Level 2 was unreasonable.  Claims of this nature must be supported by evidence and a clear rationale for the unreasonable nature of the decision.  Claims that amount simply to an expression of dissatisfaction with the decision will not be considered.

Level 3: Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor/Registrar (or equivalent at UNNC/UNMC) review

You should submit the Level 3 Complaint Form within 10 working days of notification of the outcome of the Level 2 complaint.

You must set out the grounds of the complaint by making reference to the above standards, and must provide evidence to support your claim, including proof of why new evidence being presented was not available at the time of the submission of your level 2 complaint.

You should send the completed form to the Admissions Team via the following email address; admissions-complaints@nottingham.ac.uk

You will normally receive an outcome letter within 4 weeks of receipt of your level 3 complaint form by the Admissions Team.  If the review will take longer than 4 weeks, you will be informed of the reason and an expected date of response.

Other procedural points

Hard copies of forms are available to applicants who, for reasons of disability, are unable to access the electronic form.  Please contact admissions-complaints@nottingham.ac.uk for further information.

You have the right to bring a friend to meetings arranged during the formal stages of the procedure. Solicitors or other legal representatives will not be permitted to attend.  

Responsibilities of those involved in the handling of the complaint on behalf of the University


Level 1: Local Level (informal resolution)

Staff dealing with complaints are encouraged, whenever practical, to meet with the applicant to establish the precise cause of dissatisfaction, to explore the remedy sought by the applicant and to foster a mutual understanding of the issues involved.

The member of staff is expected to listen to the complaint and to try to resolve it in a straightforward, reasonable and prompt manner.

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 applicant.  The applicant 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 or the applicant is dissatisfied with the attempt at resolution.

Level 2: Head of School/Service, or equivalent, formal review 

On receipt of a level 2 complaint the Admissions Team will undertake an initial evaluation to check that the complaint is submitted under the right procedures, within the appropriate deadlines, and in the required format with supporting evidence.

The Admissions Team will administer the complaint and will be accessible to complainants and staff at all stages of the process.  The complaint will be 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 Executive Board will conduct the review.

The Head of School/Service will ensure that an investigation is carried out.   The investigation may be delegated to an appropriate member of staff.  It will not normally be appropriate to keep the name of the person investigating the complaint confidential.  The investigation and its outcome must be fair and reasonable.  

It may be appropriate for the investigator to meet with the complainant and/or other parties named in the paperwork. Should the investigator wish to meet with the complainant, he/she will contact the applicant to propose this course of action and secure an appropriate date to meet. The complainant will be offered the opportunity to bring a friend to this meeting. Solicitors or other legal representatives will not be permitted to attend. 

If the Head of School/Service finds in favour of the applicant, they may decide on whatever redress they think appropriate, bearing in mind the outcome sought by the applicant. 

A report of the investigation will be prepared before a written response is provided to the complainant.  The report will be provided to the applicant with the outcome letter.

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

All outcome responses to level 2 complaints will be issued by the Admissions Team.

Level 3: Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor/Registrar (or equivalent at UNNC/UNMC) review

On receipt of a level 3 complaint form, the Admissions Team will undertake an initial evaluation to check that the complaint is submitted within the appropriate deadlines, meets the criteria for level 3 review and is in the required format with supporting evidence.  A complaint without adequate grounds and evidence will be dismissed.

If the applicant provides evidence to support the criteria, the complaint will be referred to the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor for review.  If the Level 2 complaint was reviewed by the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor, it will be referred to the Pro Vice Chancellor of a different Faculty.  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 Pro Vice Chancellor.   The Pro Vice Chancellor or Registrar may appoint an appropriate nominee to undertake the review on his or her behalf.

The review stage will not usually consider the issues afresh or involve further investigation.  In reaching a decision, the reviewer is expected to be fair and reasonable.

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

If the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor/Registrar does not uphold the complaint, the applicant will receive a written response giving reasons. 

The Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor may decide to uphold part, but not all, of the complaint and will respond to the applicant accordingly. 

Contacts

Admissions Team

The University of Nottingham

Gatehouse Lodge

Wollaton Hall Drive

Derby Road

Nottingham

NG8 1AF

admissions-complaints@nottingham.ac.uk

 

Edited 21/04/2017

 

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