The University is committed to providing a high-quality service to our postgraduate scholarship applicants, and actively encourages feedback on all aspects of the scholarship application process.
Applicants have the right to complain if they believe that the level of service provided by the University’s Doctoral College falls short of what might reasonably be expected or if they believe a procedural irregularity has had a detrimental material effect.
Applicants do not have the right of appeal against the academic judgement made on their application and this is not eligible for consideration under this Doctoral College Scholarships Complaints Procedure.
Stages of the Doctoral College Scholarships Complaints Procedure
The Procedure is intended to provide a streamlined process with a focus on early resolution and has three stages:
- Informal Resolution is the stage where straightforward concerns should be resolved swiftly and effectively.
- Formal Resolution is appropriate where an applicant is dissatisfied with the outcome of informal resolution at Stage 1, or where informal resolution is not possible or appropriate due to the complexity or seriousness of the complaint.
- Formal Institutional Review is where the applicant can request that their complaint is considered by a higher body in the University for a review of the process to ensure that appropriate procedures were followed, and that the decision-making was reasonable.
This Procedure details how applicants may seek to have their complaints addressed and it should be recognised that the vast majority of complaints from applicants can be handled fairly, amicably and to the satisfaction of all parties without recourse to the formal stages of the Procedure.While there are three clear stages in the Procedure, seeking resolution may potentially be an iterative process within each stage, with active engagement by the applicant and relevant others prior to the final complaint outcome for that stage being communicated to the applicant.
What are the aims of this Procedure? To resolve complaints relating to postgraduate scholarship applications in a timely, effective and fair manner; and to resolve complaints informally where possible. To undertake a fair and thorough investigation of formal complaints where necessary.
How does this Procedure operate? There are three stages to the Doctoral College Scholarship Applications Complaints Procedure. Early resolution of the complaint should be sought, and it is expected that the vast majority of complaints will be resolved at Stage 1. Applicants must start at Stage 1 unless there are truly exceptional circumstances which make it inappropriate to do so.
What is a complaint? A complaint is defined for this Procedure as an expression of dissatisfaction either about the way in which a scholarship application has been handled, the outcome of a selection process or a perceived mishandling of scholarship administration. It may concern actions or inaction by the University or its staff. A challenge to a scholarship application decision based on academic judgement is not eligible for consideration under this Procedure.
Who can make a complaint? The Doctoral College Scholarship Applications Complaints Procedure may be used by individual applicants, or by groups; it may also be used by a designated representative (as noted via written confirmation). The Doctoral College Scholarship Applications Complaints Procedure is the same for all applicants.
Can complaints be anonymous? Complaints submitted anonymously will only be considered if sufficient information is provided to allow the University to investigate the complaint. Applicants are discouraged from making anonymous complaints as it hinders investigation and there is little prospect of appropriate resolution. Staff who receive anonymous complaints will be expected to use their discretion and judgement in handling such complaints. If sufficient information is not provided the University will be unable to pursue an investigation and the complaint will be closed. Informal feedback about postgraduate scholarships is encouraged and can be submitted anonymously. If a complaint cannot be investigated, the key aspects of the complaint will be recorded, and further investigation may be subsequently undertaken, if deemed possible and appropriate.
Who will see the complaint? In order for a complaint to be investigated, the member of staff will maintain the confidentiality of the complaint and its contents as far as is possible. However, it is likely that the complaint or aspects of it will need to be shared with other staff members involved in resolving the complaint. Should allegations be made within a complaint directly against another individual, these elements of the complaint will typically need to be shared with them so that they have the opportunity of reply in their own defence as required. If an applicant has concerns about retaliation by the individual or individuals against whom a complaint is being made, this should be highlighted when making a complaint. The outcomes and recommendations from complaint investigations may be shared across the University in the spirit of institutional learning, however any personal information will be removed and handled in accordance with the University’s Data Protection Policy.
What is the timescale for making a complaint? Complaints should be raised as soon as possible with the appropriate part of the University to ensure prompt investigation and, wherever possible, swift resolution.
- Complaints must normally be made within 10 University working days of the action (or lack of actions) that prompted the complaint.
- After each response, the applicant or their designated representative has 10 working days to escalate their complaint to the next stage.
- A request by an applicant or their designated representative to the Director of Graduate Studies to consider a complaint beyond the above time limits will not normally be granted unless there is evidence that the applicant was precluded from raising or escalating the complaint within the normal timescales.
How can feedback on this Procedure be given? The University values all feedback and will take it into account when reviewing its policies, processes and services. We are committed to ensuring we deliver the most effective service possible and to that end welcome feedback on the Doctoral College Scholarship Applications Complaints Procedure and the related information and guidance provided. If you would like to assist with improving this Procedure or the service provided, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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