Student Complaints - Frequently Asked Questions

I am concerned about something, how can I raise the issue to try to get it resolved?

You must speak to the person responsible in the first instance, or if you still have concerns, speak to the Advice Zone. You must raise any issues within 3 months of the last occurrence. You may be referred to another, more appropriate, member of staff depending on the nature of the concern raised. It is anticipated that it will be possible to resolve many concerns at this early resolution stage before it becomes necessary to take a complaint to a formal investigation.

I’ve heard that mediation is an option, how does this work?

Mediation is a confidential and impartial service aimed at assisting you to resolve any concerns you may have with regard to the provision of a course or related academic or administrative services. You are able to request a mediation meeting at the early resolution stage or prior to completion of the formal investigation stage of the process. Whilst mediation is ongoing the early resolution/formal stages will be suspended. Further information on the process of mediation is available from the Advice Zone or you can email:

mediation@southwales.ac.uk.

I raised my concerns with the person responsible but I am dissatisfied with the response I received. What happens next?

If you have completed the early resolution stage and are not satisfied with the response you can submit a formal complaint by submitting a completed Student Complaint Form to the Student Casework Unit.

I haven’t used the early resolution stage but want to submit a formal complaint. Can I do this?

The University appreciates that sometimes it is necessary for a complaint to be progressed directly to the formal stage. Should this be the case the Head of the Student Casework Unit (or nominee) will make a decision on any requests for direct access to the formal investigation stage.

The Student Complaints Regulations state that I need to submit evidence with my Complaint Form, what evidence is required?

It is your responsibility to provide information to support any statement that you make on your complaint form; for example, emails, evidence of conversations with staff, witness statements or reports from professionals. Your complaint will not be considered unless it is supported by appropriate evidence. Please ensure any evidence submitted is organised in an appropriate manner.

Can we submit a group complaint? How do we do this?

Yes, you can submit a group complaint. If you submit a group complaint you need to ensure one of you is nominated as the main contact; this student will act as a spokesperson for the group. Each member of the group must confirm in writing that they wish the nominated individual to act in this capacity and that the complaint reflects their concerns.

The nominated spokesperson will receive updates on the complaint on behalf of the group. All members of the group will be invited by the spokesperson to any meetings arranged to discuss the complaint and receive a copy of the outcome letter. The spokesperson for the complaint must inform the investigating officer 24 hours in advance of who will be accompanying them.

Can I make an anonymous complaint?

Complaints made anonymously will not be considered. The complaint form and any supporting evidence will be provided to those people identified in the Student Complaints Communication Plan, which can be found on the following web link:

http://uso.southwales.ac.uk/studentcasework/scp/.

This will include the subject of your complaint.

If I submit a complaint and an appeal at the same time how will the University manage this?

If the complaint and appeal are unrelated they will be dealt with under the separate relevant regulations.

Where part or all the complaint and appeal are related the University will consider all the information presented. Please note that it might take the University longer than the deadlines set out in the regulations to deal with the issues raised. The University will ensure that you are notified throughout any investigations about the status of the issues you have raised.

I am a student at a partner institution; can I use the University regulations?

If your complaint relates to academic matters then use the University’s regulations. Where matters are the responsibility of the partner institution, for example crèche facilities, you will need to access the partner institution’s complaints procedure.

I am on placement, are these regulations available to me?

If you are on a placement and wish to make a complaint about an aspect of your experience whilst on placement you should, in the first instance, contact your faculty who will advise on the process. Whether the complaint will be dealt with by the University or the placement provider will depend on the circumstances of the complaint. If the complaint is more appropriately dealt with through the placement provider’s own complaints procedure, you will be assisted by an appropriate member of staff in the faculty in taking this forward.

What happens after I submit my formal complaint?

Once the Student Casework Unit has received your complaint it will be sent to the relevant faculty/department. An investigating officer will be appointed to consider your case. The investigating officer will meet with you to discuss the issues you have raised to ensure that they fully understand your complaint. They will then meet with relevant staff and/or witnesses to discuss your complaint from their perspective.

Once the investigating officer has completed all their investigations they will draft a report, which will be presented to the dean/head of department, who will include a formal response from the faculty/department. The final report will then be submitted to the Student Casework Unit.

When can I expect to receive an outcome?

The investigating officer has 40 calendar days to investigate and seek to resolve your complaint. The Student Casework Unit will provide you with a response within 5 calendar days of receipt of the investigating officer’s report. You must respond to the University within 21 calendar days to confirm whether you accept the outcome.

What happens if I am dissatisfied with the outcome?

You can request a review of the formal investigation into your complaint providing you meet the grounds set out in the regulations to the Student Casework Unit. . If we do not receive any communication from you within the specified timescales, the University will close the case and issue a Completion of Procedures letter. The Completion of Procedures letter will confirm that you have not completed the University’s internal procedures.

What support is available to me during my complaint?

You have the right to be supported by a Students’ Union representative or friend throughout the process.