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5: Your Feedback and Concerns

Your feedback to us

We place great value on feedback from students and we have a number of mechanisms in place to ensure we receive and act on feedback on all aspects of your experience within the Department and the University.

You can provide feedback to us through a number of mechanisms such as:

The Head of Department, Professor Ben Lockwood, is also happy to hear thoughts from you regarding all operations within the Department. You may reach Ben via email: or via the PA to the Head of Department/Executive Officer Gill Gudger:

The Department strives to offer every student the best possible experience and it is your feedback that will enable us to continually improve.

What is a complaint?

There may be occasions during your time in the Department when things may not work out quite as you would wish or something may go wrong. We are very receptive to resolving any issues you may experience. The difference between providing the Department with feedback and making a complaint is sometimes misunderstood. We define a complaint as "an expression of significant or sustained dissatisfaction where a student seeks action to resolve the problem."

A complaint may relate to:

  1. the quality and standard of service we provide, including teaching and learning provision
  2. failure to provide a service
  3. unsuitable facilities or learning resources
  4. inappropriate behaviour by a staff member, student or individual associated with the University
  5. failure of the University to follow an appropriate administrative or academic process.

Under the University's procedure, a complaint is not classed as:

  1. a routine, first-time request for a service
  2. a matter purely relating to academic judgement
  3. an academic appeal against a decision made by an exam board
  4. a request under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, Subject Access Requests
  5. a request for information on University policy or practice
  6. a response to an invitation to provide feedback
  7. an insurance claim
  8. an attempt to have a complaint reconsidered when the University has already given its final decision
  9. an accusation of research misconduct
  10. a challenge to an admissions decision
  11. a complaint about the Students' Union
  12. a complaint about matters which have already or are under consideration by the Office or the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), a court or tribunal.

The University has a three-stage complaints resolution procedure. The information below outlines in brief how to make a complaint, but you are asked to consult the Student Complaints Resolution ProcedureLink opens in a new window for more comprehensive information.

Informal channels (Stage 1)

The first stage of the complaints procedure is the stage where straightforward concerns should be resolved swiftly and effectively at a point at which a complaint is made. You are asked, unless the complaint is of a very complex or serious nature, to start the process at Stage 1. All Stage 1 complaints are investigated and responded to within 20 University working days.

You may wish to contact the member of staff in the Department whose actions have caused the issue to occur. You may also want to talk to your Personal Tutor or Year Tutor for advice. If you believe the issue is of a general nature relating to the teaching and learning provision in the Department, you may alternatively contact your SSLC representative, who can raise the matter on your behalf. Should you feel unable to raise your issue with the member of staff directly concerned, you should email Claudia Rei, Deputy Head of Department (Teaching and Learning).

Complaints submitted anonymously are difficult to investigate and resolve, and as such, we do not encourage them. Such complaints will only be taken forward if sufficient information is provided to enable investigation. However, informal feedback about a service we provide may be submitted anonymously.

Occasionally there are disputes of a personal nature. These are rare, but cannot be ruled out in a large organisation like a university. Personal difficulties may arise if you believe that another student or a member of staff is discriminating against your or harassing you on the grounds of personal dislike or broader prejudice. In such circumstances you may take the matter up with your Year Tutor, who will help you refer the issue to the appropriate authority. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, you may contact the Students' Union Education Officer Link opens in a new windowor the Student Advice Centre Link opens in a new windowfor support.

In the event of a personal dispute involving your Personal Tutor, we recommend that you contact the Senior Tutor (who will assign you a new Personal Tutor at your request and without requiring you to give reasons if you do not wish to do so).

Formal channels (Stage 2)

In cases where you have raised an issue in Stage 1 of the complaints process with a member of the Department and have not received a response with which you are satisfied, or in cases which are significantly serious or complex to be dealt with informally, you should then put your complaint in writing (within 10 University working days of receiving the Stage 1 response) to the Deputy Head of Department (Teaching and Learning) by emailing opens in a new window. You will then receive an initial response to inform you that your complaint has been received, and your complaint will be investigated. You can expect to receive a response within 30 University working days.

If, having received the response from the Deputy Head of Department, you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of consideration of your complaint, then, if you meet the published criteria, you can apply for a review of the Stage 2 process to include previously unavailable evidence or determine that appropriate processes were followed and that the Stage 2 decision was reasonable. For further details, please see the Student Complaints Resolution ProcedureLink opens in a new window.

Formal channels (Stage 3)

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage 2 complaint, you may escalate it to Stage 3 of the complaints procedure. This stage is the Formal Institutional Review and Final Resolution, which is where you may appeal to a higher body within the University for a review of the process to ensure that appropriate procedures were followed and that the decision was reasonable. This stage of the complaints resolution procedure is concluded within 30 days.

All students should feel free to contact any member of staff with issues.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

If your complaint reaches the point where it has exhausted the three stages of the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)Link opens in a new window. The OIA must receive the complaint within three months of the conclusion of the complaints procedure at the University, and complainants are subject to eligibility criteria.