Submitting a complaint

The complaints procedure has been designed to be flexible and there may be some instances where the Complaints and Appeals Team determine that it is appropriate to bypass one of the three stages (for example, a complaint may go straight from Stage One to Stage Three).

Complaint stages

The University has developed a three stage complaint procedure to provide a clear route for making a complaint.

The Complaint Procedure Flowchart outlines the three stages and the anticipated timescales involved. Each stage of complaint is detailed below:

Submitting a Stage One complaint

Stage One of the Complaint procedure involves raising awareness of the problem, either by e-mail or verbally, and discussing it with the relevant staff in the faculty or service.

Submitting a Stage Two complaint

Stage Two of the Complaint procedure involves raising a formal complaint with a Complaints Manager and should normally only take place once an individual has attempted to resolve matters informally under Stage One.

Submitting a Stage Three complaint

Stage Three of the Complaint procedure involves a final consideration of the case by the Head of Complaints and Appeals. Stage Three should normally only take place following the completion of Stage Two.

Before submitting your complaint

  • A complaint will not normally be accepted if submitted more than 3 months after the issue arose unless there was good reason why the issue could not have been raised sooner.
  • When submitting a complaint it is important to include all relevant points in chronological order, unnecessary detail or unclear. information could prolong the time taken to consider the complaint.
  • Be clear and realistic about the outcome you are seeking. It will be more difficult to address your complaint if your goal is unclear, or if you are asking for something that is not possible. 
  • Details of a complaint may need to be shared with relevant colleagues in order for a full investigation to take place, and individuals named in a complaint will be made aware of the allegations and have the opportunity to give their version of events.
  • Frivolous, malicious, or unreasonably persistent complaints will not be accepted. The University reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action against anyone considered to have made such a complaint.


Where a complaint is found to be justified or partly justified, the outcome will depend heavily upon the accepted grounds of complaint. Where the University is found to have made a mistake or fallen short of reasonable expectations, an apology will be given, the mistake rectified where appropriate, and actions taken to prevent the same mistake happening again.

There will be some instances in which it would be counter-productive to instigate a long drawn-out investigation, and instead energy will be put into finding a way forward which is acceptable to all concerned.

It is important to note that a complaint may not be accepted if the remedy sought is beyond the power of the University to deliver.

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