This Theme sets out the guiding principles which underpin concerns, complaints and appeals handling, offering practical advice and useful resources to help providers operate effective systems. It explains how the processes for someone to raise their dissatisfaction, promotes equality of opportunity and the rights of all students to benefit from a high-quality academic experience, and to access the support they need to succeed.
Expectations and Practices for Concerns, Complaints and Appeals
Expectations for quality
Courses are well-designed, provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed.
From admission through to completion, all students are provided with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
Core practice for quality
The provider has fair and transparent procedures for handling complaints and appeals which are accessible to all students.
Common practice for quality
The provider reviews its core practices for quality regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
- Concerns, complaints and appeals are used to improve the student experience.
- Concerns, complaints and appeals procedures are accessible and inclusive.
- Information is clear and transparent.
- People raising concerns or making complaints or appeals are treated with dignity and respect, and their well-being is properly considered.
- Concerns, complaints and appeals processes are proportionate and allow for cases to be resolved as early as possible.
- Concerns, complaints and appeals procedures are fair and impartial.
- Confidentiality and anonymity are appropriately assured.
- Concerns, complaints and appeals are resolved in as timely a way as possible.
- Good Practice Framework for handing complaints and academic appeals, Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
- OIA case studies
- OIA guidelines on remedies and redress
- OIA Completion of Procedures (COP) letter
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guide
- Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) advice
- The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO)
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission's guide for Education Providers
- Human Rights Act 1998 Article 8
- Investigatory Powers Act 2016
- Standards of proof in fitness to practise proceedings
- Information about Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Complaints
- OFS regulatory notifications and complaints scheme (England-only)
- Welsh language standard
- UUK and Papyrus guidance for universities on preventing student suicides
- UKGov guidance on whistleblowing
- Equality Challenge Unit
- Equality and Human Rights Commission
- Delivering Learning Opportunities with Others (PDF, 1.15MB), OIA
- Information Commissioner's Office
- Restorative justice and approaches
- Wales Restorative justice and approaches
- Civil mediation advice
- Guidance on a Model Complaints Handling Procedure (PDF, 0.18MB), Scottish Public Services Ombudsman