Complaints Procedure - summary
These notes offer guidance as to what to do if you wish to complain about courses or services provided by the University or about certain other University-related matters. They tell you who to contact and how to seek further advice. Information is available separately about other specific procedures (e.g. on harassment, academic appeals).
To access the detailed description of the Student Complaints Procedure, the formal Student Complaint Record Form and Guidance Notes for Students please use the clickable links on the top right hand side of this page.
Why should I want to make my views known?
As part of its quality assurance processes, the University is keen to ensure that the courses, information, services and facilities which it provides meet the needs of students and other interested parties, e.g. employers and members of the general public. We welcome comments and suggestions about how things can be improved.
How can I make my views known?
If you wish to comment about any aspect of the University's activities, please make contact with the appropriate part of the University:-
By telephone (01204 900600), or Fax (01204 399074)
In person, with the Student Centre, Students' Union or the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Unit.
By letter (Deane Road, Bolton,BL3 5AB) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you do not know the relevant part of the University please ask for Student Services, which is located in the Student Centre, Eagle Mall.
How may I make a complaint?
Whilst we always welcome comments and suggestions about how things might be improved, we also recognise that students and others with a legitimate interest have a right to complain if they feel that something is wrong.
Please remember that circumstances are sometimes determined outside the University by the Government, legal provisions or other regulations – you should receive an explanation if this is the case. Similarly, there can sometimes be a problem because the resources available to the University are restricted – you should be told how these constraints relate to your comment or complaint.
Student Services, the Students' Union and the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Coordinator in the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Unit can help advise you on the procedure for making a formal complaint, including whether other procedures are more appropriate. The Quality Assurance and Enhancement Coordinator will maintain a confidential record of all formal complaints on the University's behalf to monitor their handling and to record the outcomes. The Coordinator's annual report will highlight anonymously any major issues for the University.
What happens if I complain?
When you make a formal complaint this is recorded and you should receive an acknowledgement within five working days and a response or report on progress every ten working days. The Quality Assurance and Enhancement Coordinator will monitor its progress and can advise you on the position.
You may be asked to provide further information in person or in writing. Unless you agree to an informal resolution of your complaint, whatever the outcome you can expect a written explanation and if your complaint is upheld a statement of what will be done to prevent a recurrence and any redress that is available to you.
Suppose that I am dissatisfied with the result?
If you feel that the complaint has not been handled properly or the decision is unreasonable or unfair, you may ask for this to be looked at by the Office of the Vice Chancellor
You can obtain guidance and advice from Student Services, the Students' Union or the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Coordinator.
When you have exhausted the University's internal procedures, you will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter, which will enable you to have your complaint considered by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). Information about the OIA can be obtained from Student Services, the Students' Union or the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Coordinator or directly from the OIA –
OIA, Third Floor, Kings Reach, 38-50 Kings Road, Reading, RG1 3AA
Telephone No. 0118 959 9813
The OIA provides examples of student complaints and outcomes at:
If you wish to refer your complaint to the OIA you should complete the OIA Scheme application form and send it to the OIA within three months of receiving your Completion of Procedures letter.
If your complaint is wholly or partially justified, the OIA Reviewer may recommend that the University does something or refrains from doing something. The University may accept any recommendation or, if it does not, it will inform the OIA Reviewer, giving reasons.
Am I risking my results or services by complaining?
No – absolutely not – if your complaint is genuine and in an acceptable form you will not be disadvantaged in any way. The University welcomes complaints in a positive way so that it may make any corrections, improve services and redress errors.
The main points to bear in mind are:
Informal resolution of the complaint is the preferred option.
Matters can frequently be sorted out quickly and informally by talking directly to the person providing the service. If this is not possible or if you fail to receive a satisfactory response, discuss the issue(s) with the person with overall responsibility for the service concerned (usually a Dean of School or Head of Service or Unit.)
If it is decided to submit a formal complaint it must be submitted in writing and signed either by the person making the complaint or on their behalf by a person recognised as having a legitimate interest.
A frivolous, malicious, libelous or vexatious complaint can jeopardise the effective use of the procedure and may not be considered. Nor may a complaint be considered if it is in, or accompanied by, an unacceptable form of behaviour.
If after reading these notes you are still unsure about how to make your views known, please consult staff in Student Services, the Students' Union or the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Coordinator for further advice.
The Student Complaints Procedure and Student Complaint Record Form are available in paper format from all main offices, plus Student Services and the Students' Union.