Frequently Asked Questions: Complaints
Answers to frequently asked questions about the complaints procedures.
- What should I do if I have a concern that I would like the University/College to address?
- How do I make a formal complaint?
- Where can I find the form?
- Is there a deadline?
- Can we make a group complaint?
- Can someone make a complaint on my behalf?
- Can I make a complaint about harassment and discrimination?
- What is not covered by the Student Complaints Procedure?
- Is there anyone who can help me put my complaint together?
- Can someone act as a mediator between me and the university?
- What help is available if I have a disability or medical condition?
- Will I be asked to attend any meetings?
- Can I withdraw my complaint?
- When will I receive a response to my complaint?
- I'm not satisfied with the response to my complaint. What can I do now?
- Why has my complaint been rejected?
- I would like to take my complaint further, how do I do this?
We would encourage you to raise a concern by contacting your College Student Complaints Officer (SCO). The SCO will make reasonable attempts to address your concern wherever possible. If you are not satisfied with the outcome or they are unable to address your concern you may then submit a Formal Complaint if you wish.
If you would like to make a formal complaint we encourage you to contact the Students’ Union Advice Service. The advice workers can help guide you through the process and assist you in submitting your complaint. You can contact them on 020 7514 6270 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting their website.
It is important to remember that a complaint will only be treated as a formal complaint if you submit a Student Complaint Form, available on the Making a Student Complaint page. The form should be submitted to the Student Complaints Officer (SCO) for your college, or the named person for the central service department (e.g. Retail Operations, Accommodation Services or Library and Learning Services). You can find the contact details for the relevant department on the Contacts page.
You can raise a complaint at any time during your time at University. However once you leave or withdraw you must submit a complaint within three months of the leaving date. Complaints submitted more than three months after the end of the course, or the date of withdrawal, will normally be rejected.
If you submit a complaint as a group, all members of the group must sign the complaint form. The group must elect representatives (maximum 2) to speak and meet on behalf of the group.
The University does not accept complaints made by third parties unless the student concerned has provided explicit agreement for them to do so, and the reasons for doing so are justifiable, for example, if your case is particularly sensitive and you don’t feel comfortable raising issues yourself.
The University regards all forms of harassment as unacceptable and we treat incidents seriously and with sensitivity. We encourage students who feel they are being subjected to harassment or discrimination by a member of staff to raise this under the complaints procedure. However if you do not feel comfortable doing so you may wish to enquire about taking part in mediation. To find out more about the University’s approach to dealing with harassment and discrimination please visit the Diversity section.
There are some circumstances when you cannot use the Student Complaints Procedure. Usually, this is when the University has no control over the services or facilities in question, or where there is another way of raising an issue. This includes:
- Disagreement over the decision of an exam board (go to Appealing an Exam Board Decision)
- Disagreement with the outcome or process associated with the disciplinary procedure: contact the University Secretary and Registrar
- Complaints relating to any aspect of student admission to the University (check the Admissions Procedures)
- Complaints about the services provided by another institution which is part of a franchised or other partnership with the University e.g. Fashion Retail Academy: Raise your concern with the other institution. At the end of their procedure, the University Secretary and Registrar may allow the complaint to be heard under the UAL procedure.
- Complaints against the Students’ Union or its role as a licensee: Use the Students’ Union complaints procedure (visit www.suarts.org and search for 'complaints')
- Complaints against the operation of the Students’ Union election process: Use the Students’ Union complaints procedure (visit www.suarts.org and search for 'complaints')
- Complaints against other students (use the Disciplinary Code for Students)
- Complaints raised three months after the final notification of your award: unless there is good reason, we will not accept your complaint beyond this time.
If you would like to make a complaint we encourage you to contact the Students’ Union Advice Service. The advice workers can help guide you through the process and assist you in submitting your complaint. You can contact them on 020 7514 6270 or at email@example.com or by visiting their website at www.suarts.org/help/advice.
We encourage students to report incidents and concerns through the University’s Complaints procedure so that the University can investigate them appropriately. However, we also recognise that some students may be reluctant to make a formal complaint against a member of staff. Therefore, the University invites any student who feels they have experienced discrimination or cultural conflict to enquire about taking part in mediation. The University has commissioned CMP Resolutions to carry out mediation in order to ensure impartiality.
If you consider yourself to be disabled or require reasonable adjustments to access the complaints procedure you should contact the University Complaints Unit directly, who will discuss your needs with you. It may help to have your needs assessment report to help show what adjustments you require e.g. BSL interpreter, physically accessible venue, support with completing the form.
The complaints form asks you to tell the University about any help and support that you might need throughout the complaints process. You do not need to disclose the nature of your disability, but it will help us to make adjustments to the process if you tell us about the type of support you usually need. If you do complete this section of the form the Student Complaints Officer will contact you to discuss your requirements.
You can also contact the Central or College Disability & Dyslexia Teams or the Students' Union, who can help you fill in your form and make sure that you have all the evidence that you need - visit the Contact Us page for details of how to contact these services.
I have a medical condition but I'm not sure if it is a 'disability'. Should I tell the University about it?
By 'disability' we mean: sensory or physical difficulties, long-term health conditions, mental health difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders (including Asperger syndrome) or specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD).
We ask you to tell us if you have a disability so that we can put in place any support or adjustments that you need to help you access the complaints process. If you have any questions about your disability, you can contact the Central Disability Team or Students' Union for advice and support.
Do I have to disclose my disability?
Any information you provide will be treated as confidential and handled sensitively. We will always ask for your consent before passing on any disability-related information to third parties. If you have concerns about disclosing disability information on the form, please contact the Central Disability Team for advice. If you choose not to disclose this information on your form, you can contact the Student Complaints Officer or the University Complaints Unit at any point in the process to talk about any specific needs that you have - the Contact Us page includes details.
It may be necessary for you to meet with members of staff who are investigating your complaint. If there are factors that may affect when you can attend meetings, such as caring responsibilities or religious festivals please inform the person who is arranging the meeting so that this can be taken into account.
You can withdraw your complaint at any stage of the procedure. This must be in writing to the Student Complaints Officer or the University Complaints Unit.
The Student Complaints Officer will usually give a response to your complaint within 28 working days of receiving the official complaint form (COMP1). The University will make every effort to keep to the timescales outlined in the procedures and asks that students making the complaint also endeavour to do the same. However, sometimes it may be necessary to seek an extension, in which case the University will contact you.
Final Complaint Review
If you are still unhappy with the response that you received to your Formal Complaint, you can request a Final Complaint Review by writing to the University Secretary & Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to explain why you are unhappy with the outcome of the Formal Complaint; why you are unhappy with the remedy proposed and what you think would be a reasonable resolution.
If the University Secretary & Registrar considers that you have reasonable grounds for a Final Complaint Review your letter will be forwarded to the University Complaints Review Panel (CRP). The CRP is an independent body which meets to consider and agree a resolution for all Final Complaints. You will receive a response from the CRP within 30 working days.
There are some circumstances when you cannot use the Student Complaints Procedure. Usually, this is when the University has no control over the services or facilities in question, or where there is another way of raising an issue: What is not covered by the Student Complaints Procedure?
Your complaint may also be turned down if there appear to be no reasonable grounds for the complaint. If your complaint is rejected, you can progress to Final Complaint Review.
The University may turn down your Formal Complaint or your request for Final Complaint Review if there has been an unreasonable delay in submitting it. All Formal Complaints must be received within 28 working days of any Informal Complaint outcome, and all requests for Final Complaint Review, within 28 working days of the Formal Complaint decision.
Once the University’s complaints procedure is completed you may be able to submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator
If your complaint is related to advice received from Student Services regarding a debt you may be able to submit a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman following completion of the University’s internal complaints procedure.