Sometimes things go wrong and you may feel that you have not received the education or service that you can reasonably expect. In these cases it is important you understand your rights and options to get these concerns addressed.
What is a complaint?
The University define this broadly as “an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more students about a university’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the university.”
Who can make a complaint?
- Undergraduate, postgraduate taught, postgraduate research and apprenticeship students currently registered on a University of Greenwich programme.
- Students on an approved leave of absence (for instance, interruption of studies).
- Graduates or former students (only if you make your complaint within three months of completing or ending your studies).
If you are studying for an award at a partner institution, you should initially follow your college’s complaints procedure.
You can also make a group complaint if that is applicable to your situation, i.e. it affects other students who are also unhappy. If the concerns do affect a range of other students another option is to speak to your academic rep for them to be the collective voice of your concerns.
Who can’t make a complaint?
- Graduates or former students that did not make a complaint within three months of completing or ending their studies.
- You have applied for admission to the university but have not yet been accepted and registered (a different procedure applies for admissions complaints)
- Postgraduate research students complaining about a role as an employee of the University (these are dealt with by Human Resources).
- Anonymous complaints (it's not usually practical for the university to investigate anonymous complaints, however if you are concerned about making a complaint talk to us for guidance and options).
What can I complain about?
- Failure to meet obligations including those outlined in module/student handbooks
- Misleading or incorrect information in prospectuses or promotional material and other information provided by the University
- Concerns about the delivery of a programme, teaching, supervision or administration
- Poor quality of facilities, learning resources or services provided by the University
- Complaints involving other organisations or contractors providing a service on the University behalf
- Complaints about behaviour by members of staff that come under the remit of the Student Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy
The above is not an exhaustive list but an indicator of the types of concerns when it would be appropriate to use the complaints policy.
What can’t I complaint about?
How long does a complaint take?
The University guidance is that they aim to resolve complaints within 90 calendar days from the date of submission of the Formal Complaint form to the formal complaint outcome.
Timelines for individual stages can be found in the Student Complaint Policy & Procedure under the relevant sections. If your complaint is resolved at an early stage we would expect this to be much quicker than the full 90 calendar days.
You will not be disadvantaged because of raising a concern or making a complaint, provided your intention is honest.
How do I raise a complaint?
There are 3 Stages to the complaints procedure;
- Stage 0: Informal Resolution (local level) - you normally must start your complaint at Level 0
- Stage 1: Formal consideration at Faculty/Directorate level
- Stage 2: Formal review by the Stage 2 Review Panel
The University provide Guidance Notes on the complaint process which is a handy guide to read through.
This is the informal procedure where you make the staff member/department aware of the concerns you have so they can consider any resolutions. You can do this with any relevant member of staff who works in the area the issue arose. If your complaint is about academic-related issues, this may be the Module Tutor or Programme Leader, or your Research Supervisor. If your complaint is about a University service, then you should talk to an appropriate member of staff from that service.
We recommend, where possible, that these complaints are put in writing. If that isn’t feasible, make sure you at least take notes of the discussion you had, who this was with, and when it occurred as if the matter isn’t resolved this information will be needed if you escalate it to Stage 1.
This is a formal written procedure by you completing the Complaint Form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Formal Complaint must be lodged within 3 months of the date of the incident about which you are complaining. If you need help with the form or an independent assessment of your case let us know.
An Investigating Officer will review the formal complaint and investigate, you will be invited to respond in writing to the outcome they propose. You can see these procedures in the Student Complaints Policy & Procedure via paragraphs 7.1 – 7.13.
If you are unhappy with the Stage 1 outcome, you can request a review of the complaint, if you meet certain grounds, via a Stage 1 Review Form.
You can see the grounds you need to meet and the process this review will take in the Student Complaints Policy & Procedure via paragraphs 8.1 – 9.12.
If after following the above procedure you do not feel the outcome is acceptable then you could consider raising a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
We can provide advice and guidance on this process.
What can the GSU Advice Service do for me during the process?
- Advise you on the process
- Help you structure your form and the reasons for your complaint and advise on evidence
- Read over your claim and suggest any changes
- Guide you through the process if you don’t agree with the outcome
Get in touch
If you need any further help and support please get in touch with the advice service here
Correct as of October 2023