Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

Published Date: 01/09/2012

Reviewed Date: 01/09/2017

Next Review Date: 01/09/2018

 

Policy Introduction

The College is committed to delivering a high quality service and encourages its students to tell it where there is cause for concern and a case for improvement.

At the same time it is expected that in raising possible issues of complaint, students themselves will have observed their obligations as members of the College, through meeting their academic commitments and a level of general behaviour that accords with College regulations or reasonable consideration for others.

We aim to handle complaints in a way that:

Ø Encourages informal conciliation.

Ø Is fair and efficient.

Ø Treats complaints with appropriate seriousness, sympathy and confidentiality.

Ø Facilitates early resolution.

Ø Allows the College or a particular section to benefit from the experience.

Every effort will be made to ensure that the procedure operates as closely as possible to its declared timetable, at low cost and with minimal documentation, but always within the spirit of fairness to all sides.

 

HOW TO COMPLAIN

This procedure outlines a number of simple routes to be used by any student depending on the seriousness of the complaint. Types of complaint covered include;

Ø  Misinformation about academic programmes.

Ø  Poor teaching or supervision.

Ø  Insufficient facilities.

Ø  The behaviour of a member of staff.

Ø  The behaviour of another student.

Ø  A failing in a College service, academic or non-academic.

 

 

RESULTS

Do remember that complaints will not always produce the outcome preferred by a complainant. For instance, policy decisions or resourcing beyond the College’s control may affect the level of service provided. However, whatever the decision, we undertake to inform you of the result of your complaint and the reasons for it.

The College will consider meeting reasonable and proportionate incidental expenses necessarily incurred by a successful complainant.

ANONYMITY

In general, those about whom complaints are made have a right to know what is being claimed and who is making a complaint. There are exceptions to this rule, for instance in the initial stages of harassment procedures.

Where a complaint is made in writing, a copy will normally be supplied to the person who is the subject of the grievance.

You will not be discriminated against or suffer recrimination as a result of making a complaint unless it is found to be malicious.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

It is the College’s expectation that the confidentiality of the documentation generated by a complaint will be respected by all parties.

THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

[Students who make use of this procedure should ensure that they inform those with whom they are raising a complaint that they are doing so under the procedure.]

STAGE 1

Complaints of a minor nature should be raised immediately with the Student Welfare Officer with the aim of resolving the problem directly and informally. It is anticipated that the vast majority of complaints will be resolved in this way.

Stage 1 will generally be an oral process and a written record will not be made. It is our aim that most complaints under Stage 1 should be resolved within 5 working days.

If you are still not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you should use stage 2 of the procedure outlined below.

STAGE 2

The College appreciates that there may be occasions where the above process is inappropriate and that a more formal approach is necessary.

Where it has not been possible to resolve matters to your satisfaction under Stage 1, you should write to the Registrar. Your complaint must be specific and comprehensively documented.

You should present full details, including your name and address, any relevant documentation, and dates, locations and witnesses as appropriate. You should also detail any previous unsuccessful attempts at resolution. Finally, you should state what reasonable steps should be taken to resolve the complaint.

You should expect to receive an acknowledgement from the Admin Manager / Registrar within five working days. It is our aim that most complaints under Stage 2 should be resolved within 8 working days. You will be informed if there is likely to be any delay in the process.

A meeting will be arranged between you and the Registrar / Admin Manager or other appropriate authority to discuss the matter. You may, if you wish, be accompanied by a fellow student or member of staff acting as a friend. A written record of the proceedings will be made by the Registrar who will also take responsibility for arranging the meeting.

As part of the process of attempting to establish the facts of the complaint, the Registrar will hold a separate meeting with the person(s) who is the subject of the complaint and may also interview any material witnesses. A written record of the meeting will be made by the Registrar.

The Registrar will notify you in writing of the result of your complaint and the reasons for the decision. Where the result of the complaint includes consequent action or recommendations, the Registrar shall notify the appropriate person(s) or committee, internal or external to the College, without undue delay.

Should your complaint relate to the Registrar to whom it would normally be referred under stage 2, it should be submitted to the Principal who will arrange for it to be heard by an alternative, senior member of the College not previously involved in the case.

STAGE 3

If the complaint remains unresolved under Stage 2 to your satisfaction, you may in turn write to the Principal, explaining why this is so and seeking further enquiry.

The Registrar will be asked to submit to the Principal your original complaint, the supporting evidence considered under stage 2 and the report on the outcome at that stage and the reasons for it.

The Principal will submit all the papers to an External Adjudicator, who has not been previously involved in the case, and together they will investigate further. They may seek further written information from you to clarify matters concerning the complaint. They may also decide, if their opinion of the evidence justifies it, to uphold (or not to do so) a complaint without proceeding further with the complaint process.

The Principal will arrange for a written record to be made of each interview.

It is our aim that Stage 3 of the complaints procedure will be completed within 8 working days. You will be informed if there is likely to be any delay in the process.

The Principal will notify you in writing of the decision reached concerning this stage of your complaint and the reasons for it, together with any recommended consequent action. Recommendations arising from the stage 3 process will be formally dealt with by the Principal who will confer and refer them to appropriate bodies and officers within the College for action and report.

This will exhaust the Complaints and Appeals procedure as far as the college is concerned directly.

If you are still dissatisfied you will have recourse to the awarding body for final decision.

 

 

Procedure Diagram:

STUDENT COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Maximum Stage Timescale

5 Working Days

Stage 1

Student tries to resolve matter by informal discussion with the Student Welfare Officer

Complaint resolved END

Complaint

Still not resolved

8 Working Days

  Stage 2

Meeting with Registrar

Complaint resolved END

Complaint still not resolved

8 Working Days

Stage 3

Meeting with

        Principal

External

adjudicator

 

Complaint resolved END