The students complaints procedure

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All feedback is welcomed from internal and external sources. Please email your comments to

The next scheduled review of this impact assessment is on Saturday 19 July 2014.

Faculty or Service Area: Registrar and Secretary's Office
Name of policy owner: Kathryn Giddings
Original policy document: None.
Creation date: 2010/07/19
Purpose of the policy being assessed:
The procedure sets out how students can raise complaints and how they will be addressed.
Customer groups affected by the policy: Staff, Students
Relevant protected characteristics affected by the policy: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religious belief, Sexual orientation, Socio-economic group (students only), Mode of attendance (part-time or full-time)
Examples of how these protected characteristics are affected by policy with evidence, justification and course of action:
The format of the procedure may not be appropriate for a student with a particular disability. Where an alternative was required, we would seek to provide this.

The deadlines may put part-time students at a disadvantage as they will not have access to staff as easily as full-time students should they wish to flag up an issue. Evening attendees may have particular difficulties in raising an issue when there are likely to be fewer staff available. There may also be less understanding of the procedure amongst part-time students and those studying remotely.

There is no evidence that the groups identified in 3a will be affected more than others. However, each case will be considered on its merits and where, for example, deadlines have not been adhered to, the reasons for that will be taken into account by the Complaints Manager.

Supporting evidence: None.
Feedback from Equality Forums and other interested parties:
There may be an indirect impact in relation to age dependent on what proportion of part-time students are also mature students.

There is currently a lack of equality data available both in relation to formal complaints and to those which are dealt with at the early resolution stage.

2.3.1 A suggestion to clarify “in writing”. This could pose a barrier to someone for whom English is not a first language but is also unclear in terms of the format. Alternatives include submissions made as a hardcopy or typed letter and by email.

2.4.3 & 2.6.2 which discuss face-to-face meetings at each stage. The timescales are very short, at least 2 days, particularly for those who may have caring responsibilities. Suggested this be at least 5 days.

Suggestion to remove gender references where possible e.g. 2.5.1, 3.4 and replace with ‘the student’, ‘the complainant’ etc.

3.4 Indemnity against reprisal could be rewritten to be accessible more immediately using plainer English.

There is currently no means of assessing how the policy operates in relation to equality and diversity owing to a lack of records. All formal complaints should be recorded by a central source in order that this analysis can be completed and any trends identified. The review date for this policy is set for 2012 to allow for collection of this information.

In addition there is no central record kept of complaints which are dealt with at the early resolution stage with each Faculty responsible for what to record and in what format.

Ideally basic records for both stages should be available for review annually to ensure that the equality impact for all groups can be assessed and, if necessary, follow up action can be taken to investigate these further. If central records are likely to be onerous to maintain – a consistent approach to this at faculty level would help with any future analysis.

Consultation open: Feedback on this impact assessment is welcome, but it is not officially under consultation at this time.
Review date: 2014/07/19
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