Introduction to the University Complaints and Feedback Procedure
The University is committed to providing its staff with high quality services which will be managed efficiently and which will be publicised with clarity and precision. We strive to deal with all staff in a manner which is fair, efficient and courteous, and within the letter and spirit of the University’s Dignity at Warwick policy.
However, there will be rare occasions where a member of staff feels that their expectations have not been met. In these circumstances you are entitled to give feedback or make a complaint about the department or service in question. The below procedure outlines how to go about doing this.
Please be aware that this procedure outlines the correct process for providing feedback or for making a complaint about a particular service you have received from the University. While we welcome the contribution of staff to wider ideas for improving institutional policies and practices, if you do wish to submit such an idea you are asked to use the appropriate consultative processes for doing so.
1. How to give feedback or make a complaint about a service you have received
The route you take for providing feedback or making a complaint is outlined below but, additionally, it will depend on whether it relates to complaints dealt with under the University's Disciplinary Regulations, the Dignity at Work Policy, the Code of Practice for the Investigation of Research Misconduct or the Whistleblowing Code of Practice.
2. Complaints relating to disciplinary issues, harassment issues, staff grievances, research misconduct or whistleblowing
These complaints each have their own particular policies. Please consult the following links if considering making complaints of this nature:
Disciplinary Regulations - these deal with student misconduct which interferes with the proper functioning or activities of the University, with those who work or study at the University, or which otherwise damages the University.
Dignity at Warwick Policy for Staff and Students - evidence of harassment and bullying is defined as unacceptable behaviour as perceived by the employee, which subjects an individual or group to unwelcome attention, intimidation, humiliation or ridicule, or violating an employee’s dignity. The behaviour or treatment may relate to a person’s gender, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, age or any other reason.
Staff Grievances - The Human Resources Grievance Procedure applies to non-academic staff. Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer.
Code of Practice for the Investigation of Research Misconduct - this includes but is not exclusive to the fabrication or falsification of research data, the use of another person’s ideas, work or research data without appropriate acknowledgement and/or misleading ascription of authorship to a publication. If an individual has a complaint about the way the Research Misconduct process itself is being operated and have tried to resolve it directly with the individual(s) responsible but have not been able to, they should contact the Director, People Group (see below) on behalf of the Registrar.
Whistleblowing Code of Practice - this makes provision for staff contractually connected with the University to raise concerns about serious malpractice within the University and to do so with the knowledge that their action will be viewed positively and that they will be protected from victimization.
If you are uncertain as to whether your particular complaint falls under one of the above you should consult your HR Adviser.
3. Complaints or feedback relating to other matters
If you are a member of staff who wishes to provide feedback/make a complaint about any area of University service that you have received that is not covered above, please take the following steps:
1. If your comment involves a specific feedback or complaint, you should call the general departmental enquiries number or email as listed on the appropriate departmental website. Some University departments specifically provide guidance on their departmental websites about giving feedback or making a complaint. You should your HR Adviser if you are a member of staff.
2. If your feedback is of a general nature and/or you are not aware of a more direct or local route to provide it, please do use the University's General Feedback Form. This form is not to be used for complaints, however, but your views (compliments or concerns) on the University's services or operations for which you are not expecting a response or action in relation to your particular case.
3. If after communicating your concerns to the relevant department you feel that the issue has not been resolved to your satisfaction in a timely way and you wish to complain, you should write to the relevant Head or Director of the department who will provide an initial response typically within twenty University working days of receipt.
4. If after the Head or Director has investigated your complaint it has still not been resolved to your satisfaction, you are advised to submit your formal complaint to:
DIrector of Specialist HR
University of Warwick
All such letters will receive an initial response within twenty University working days of receipt. If possible, to aid in the speed of resolving your complaint, it should be submitted by email (together with any supporting evidence or documentation) to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt. You will then be provided with information as to how your complaint will be taken forward.
5. If you remain dissatisfied with the final outcome (and proposed resolution) of your formal complaint, you will have exhausted the University’s internal complaints procedure.
4. What you need to know about submitting a complaint or providing feedback
- Don’t be afraid to give feedback or make a complaint. We are committed to ensuring we deliver the best service possible and your comments help us to do that.
- Members of staff are advised to contact their HR Advisor before making a formal complaint.
- Please ensure that you follow the route for complaints or feedback outlined above. Occasionally the nature of your complaint may mean that it will require the immediate attention of the Head of Department/Director, and in a smaller number of cases, the Director, People Group on behalf of the Registrar. However, in the large majority of cases your complaint will be dealt with more quickly if it is first directed to the relevant member of staff or local front-line service provider.
- Please be patient. We take seriously all feedback and complaints. You should expect a prompt initial response to any complaint, but where a complaint requires investigation it may take more than a few days.
- Complaints from members of staff, staff grievances, and cases of whistleblowing have separate processes for appeal or independent review and the applicable policy or procedure should be consulted for details.
5. What you can expect from the complaints and feedback process
- Feedback will be used as part of a ongoing process of improvement.
- All complaints will be taken seriously and every effort will be made to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction at an early stage.
- Whoever receives and handles the complaint, you should expect a response within a reasonable time frame and for your contact with the University to be characterised by courtesy and respect at all times.
- Where a formal written complaint is made to a senior manager or the Director of Specialist HR (via email at email@example.com), you should receive an acknowledgment normally within five University working days of receipt.
- Where a complaint is made, you should expect to be kept informed as to the steps taken and progress made in resolving the issue that gave rise to the complaint.
- Where a particularly serious complaint is made, eg harassment, you should expect that the matter will receive the utmost attention and be handled with sensitivity and that your confidentiality will be respected - if at any stage in the complaints process it becomes necessary to reveal your identity to progress the matter further, your permission will be sought.
Guidance for staff who deal with student feedback and complaints