Where a student expresses concerns or dissatisfaction, it is in everyone's interests to address this at the earliest opportunity. A timely meeting or face-to-face discussion may lead to a quick and simple solution in many cases.
Where a local, informal solution has not been possible, it may be necessary to respond to a more formal complaint. This should normally be handled by the Head of Department or Dean, or someone acting with their express authority. Set out below are some guidelines to encourage the consistent and professional handling of complaints at this level:
- Send an acknowledgement immediately, indicating a likely time-scale for a full response.
- If they have not already done so, the student should be asked to explain their desired outcome (nb. guidance for students is also available via these web pages).
- Invite responses from relevant staff members to inform a balanced judgement as to the merits of the complaint.
- In a letter to the student, set out the process followed, conclusions, and any recommendations.
- Where aspects of the complaint have not been upheld, give reasons why.
- Where aspects of the complaint have been upheld, identify appropriate actions to be taken.
- Make clear when the School has reached its final decision on the matter, and then direct the student to the next stage of the Complaints Procedure.
Keep clear records: including a record of all formal complaints, with summary details, how the complaint was processed, the time taken, and the outcome.
If you have any queries about this guidance, or about the complaints procedure in general, then contact the ACE office.