City respects a student's right to complain. At the same time, we ask you to respect the process, to approach the issues professionally, and to give us the chance to put things right if we can.
- We can only respond to something we know about - if something is bothering you, let us know.
- Speak to the most relevant person as soon as possible: it may be that s/he will be able to address the matter simply and quickly.
- If there are good reasons why you feel unable to speak to the person directly concerned, try talking with your personal tutor, or with the Students' Union.
Note: in the interests of fairness, any individual who is the subject of a complaint will be entitled to see that complaint and to respond to it.
Making it formal
We hope that you will not feel the need to make a more formal complaint, but if you do, think carefully about what you want to achieve, and consider the following points:
- Be brief and to the point. A long and unfocussed complaint is unlikely to help an effective investigation.
- Avoid vague accusations. Substantiate your complaint by referring to specific events, and provide documentary evidence where possible.
- Address your complaint to the most appropriate person. If you have exhausted informal options, this will normally be either the Head of Department or Dean of your School. If in doubt, speak to your personal tutor or contact the Appeals, Complaints & Enhancement office.
- Be clear and realistic about what you want. It will be more difficult to answer your complaint if your preferred outcome is unclear, or if you are insisting on something which is not possible.
Before sending a complaint in writing, read it back to yourself, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it clear what you are complaining about?
- Have you done all you can to resolve the matter informally?
- Have you provided all necessary details and supporting documents?
- Is what you are asking for clear and realistic?
- Finally, ask yourself if the tone of what you have written is fair and reasonable. It is rarely a good idea to write a complaint in the heat of the moment. Consider asking someone else read it for you before you send it, for example, a friend, or someone in the Students' Union.
If you are not satisfied after receiving a formal response from a senior person within your School, you may request a review of the complaint by contacting the ACE office. In this case, you should send a copy of the last formal response you received, and explain exactly why it is unsatisfactory for you.
A University-level review will initially focus upon the reasonableness of the previous investigation and decision. When acknowledging your complaint, we will let you know how we plan to deal with it, and how long we think it will take.
City aims to respond to complaints as quickly and efficiently as possible. Nevertheless, if there are complex issues involved, it will take time to carry out a full investigation. It may be necessary to ask for more detail from you, or to seek comments from a number of different staff.