What is a complaint?
The University defines a Complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more students about the University’s action or lack of action, or about the standards of service by or on behalf of the University’. This information should be read alongside 11F Student Complaints: Policy and Procedure.
What can I complain about?
- Course related issues
- Services provided by BU/partner institution
- BU/partner institution facilities
- The action or lack of action by the University, Partner or any member of the University community.
How do I complain?
In the first instance we advise you speak directly with the person with whom you have an issue with the aim to find an informal resolution. If this isn’t possible then you may wish to raise a formal complaint. The Complaints Procedure has three stages: Local Stage, Central Review Stage and Complaints Hearing Stage. You should complain within one calendar month after the issue has arisen.
A Local Stage complaint needs to be put in writing (email or letter) and any relevant evidence attached. It is also important that you write what your preferred outcome would be.
Who you submit your complaint to depends upon the nature of your complaint. Course related complaints should be directed to the Academic Administration Manager/Education Service Manager of your faculty. However, you may wish to raise you concerns via your course rep in the first instance. If you are unsure of the best path to take then contact us to discuss your circumstances in more detail.
If you wish to complain about a service, such as askBU or the library then your complaint needs to be sent to the Head of the Professional Service.
If your complaint is against another student, and not related to an accommodation issue in BU/partner accommodation, then the complaint should be sent to the faculty Academic Administration Manager/Education Service Manager. Complaints related to student behaviour, where the student resides in BU/partner accommodation, should be addressed to the Residential Service Manager. However, you may wish to seek to resolve the issue 'in house' before contacting the Residential Services Manager. Each halls has a different contact so check out the BU website for details related to the accommodation you live in.
What if I’m not happy with the outcome?
If you are not happy with the outcome at the Local Stage then you can progress your complaint to the central Review Stage. You have 10 working days from the date of the Local Stage response to do this. If the complaint is an academic issue then you would need to complete and submit the Complaints Form to the Quality Enhancement Officer at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the complaint relates to a Professional Service or student then you will need to complete the Complaints Form and submit it to the Conduct and Discipline Adviser.
If you are not happy with the outcome from the Central Review Stage then you may choose to request a Complaints Hearing. You have 10 working days from the date of the Central Review Stage response to do this If your request for a hearing is not accepted, or you are unhappy with the outcome of the Complaints Hearing then you can request a review from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). If you are issued with a Completion of Procedures letter during any stage of the appeals process then your next step would be to take your appeal to the OIA.
To effectively investigate a complaint, evidence must be submitted which should be as detailed as possible. Evidence will vary according to the nature of the complaint but typically might include:
- Programme, School/Faculty and/or BU documentation sent to the student(s) or made available on myBU or the Student Portal;
- assignment documentation including the original brief, marked assignment and feedback in the form supplied to the student(s);
- e-mails and/or letters from BU staff sent to the student(s);
- audio recordings of meetings conducted;
- statements from witnesses to the situation upon which the complaint is based;
- minutes of relevant meetings and/or committees.
If there is no available evidence then you should explain the nature of the complaint, when exactly the incident happened and who was involved.
If a group of students would like to bring a complaint forward, then one of the group is required to be the ‘spokesperson’ for the group. All the individual group members need to agree in writing that they are happy for the designated student to take the complaint forward on their behalf. Each member of the group must be able to demonstrate that s/he has been personally affected by the matter which is the subject of the complaint.