Summary

This document is one of a series of Student Guidance notes which aim to help students make a complaint under the University’s Student Complaints Procedure.  It provides general guidance on matters which apply to all stages of the Student Complaints Procedure.

Other documents in the series provide specific guidance on Early Resolution, Requesting a Formal Investigation, and Requesting a Review.

Purpose

Student Guidance notes are provided to help you make your complaint.  They provide explanatory information about our Student Complaints Procedure and how it operates.

Reading Student Guidance is not a substitute for reading the Student Complaints Procedure; the Procedure itself takes precedence over Student Guidance.

Accessibility

If you require a copy of these Student Guidance notes, or any other document, in hard copy or other format, please contact the Student Cases Team.

Help, guidance, and support

Edge Hill University Inclusion Team

If you have a disability and need support to access or navigate the complaints process, or to discuss reasonable adjustments, the Inclusion Team can help you. You can contact them:

We will consider making reasonable adjustments for a disabled student if we are asked to.   For example, your disability might impair your ability to meet deadlines. In that case, a reasonable adjustment might be to extend the time limits in the Complaints Procedure. We will consider the relevant recommendations in your needs assessment when making reasonable adjustments.

If you have a disability which you have not previously declared to the University, we encourage you to do so by arranging to see the Inclusion Team.

Edge Hill Students’ Union

When you enrol as a student at Edge Hill University you automatically become a member of Edge Hill Students’ Union (EHSU).

EHSU provides free, independent, advice, support, and representation.  We strongly advise you to contact EHSU before making a complaint. EHSU advisers are best placed to assist you as they are familiar with the University’s policies and procedures.

You can contact EHSU:

Student Cases Team

If you have any queries about any of the guidance notes or any aspect of the complaints process please contact the Student Cases Team:

  • in person by visiting the Student Administration Helpdesk, Student Administration Building
  • by email at Complaints@edgehill.ac.uk
  • by telephone on 01695 657248
  • by post at:

Student Cases Team
Academic Registry
Student Administration Building
Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
Ormskirk
L39 4QP

1. What is Early Resolution?

Early Resolution is the informal first stage in the Student Complaints Procedure.

Most complaints are resolved through informal Early Resolution.

We want to talk to you to find out about your complaint and to try to resolve it as quickly and informally as possible.

Our staff will usually be able to deal with your complaint at departmental level.

2. Is there a time limit?

Yes.

You must make your complaint within three months of the date the subject matter first affected you.

If you have recently left the University, you must make your complaint within one month of leaving.

3. How do I complain?

You do not have to fill in a form to ask for your complaint to be dealt with by Early Resolution unless you are making a complaint on behalf of a group of students.

Before you make your complaint read:

  • the Student Complaints Procedure
  • Student Guidance Notes – General (general guidance which applies to all stages of the complaints process)

There is further Student Guidance to help you at other stages in the complaints process:

  • Requesting a Formal Investigation
  • Requesting a Review

If your complaint is one made by a group of students, please use the Group Complaint Form to ask for your complaint to be dealt with by Early Resolution and see further guidance below at paragraph 5.

4. Who do I complain to?

If you are making a complaint on your own behalf, contact the academic department or support service concerned. If you are making a Group Complaint read the guidance at paragraph 5.

If your complaint is about any aspect of your course direct your complaint to one of the following:

  • Course Tutor
  • Module Leader
  • Programme Leader
  • Faculty Administration Manager

If you do not know who the above staff members are, check your Module Handbook or Course Handbook where you will find their details.

If your complaint is about one of our support services contact the Helpdesk of the service involved.

It is helpful to make your first contact by email and to include the following words in the subject line of your email:

Complaint – Early Resolution

It is also helpful to copy in the Student Cases Team using the CC box    (complaints@edgehill.ac.uk).

In your email include:

  • a brief overview of your complaint; and
  • a contact telephone number.

In the body of your email give a brief explanation of your complaint and how you would like it to be resolved.  You might find using bullet points is helpful.

If you are unsure who to contact to raise your complaint, ask the Student Cases Team:

  • in person by visiting the Student Administration Helpdesk
  • by email at complaints@edgehill.ac.uk
  • by telephone on 01695 657248

5. Group Complaints

If you are making a complaint on behalf of yourself and at least one other student, we treat this as a Group Complaint.

We ask you to complete a Complaint Form at the informal Early Resolution stage because it is essential that we know who is involved in the complaint.

We ask you to submit the completed Complaint Form to the Student Cases Team to help us manage the administration of a Group Complaint. We will ensure your complain is dealt with informally by the appropriate member of staff.

The Group needs to appoint a Lead Student to act as the Group’s representative and single point of contact about the complaint.  The Lead Student can still have the benefit of representation or support from Edge Hill Students’ Union.

The Lead Student has the following responsibilities:

  • liaise with all other students in the Group;
  • collate supporting evidence from the Group;
  • complete the Group Complaints Form on behalf of the Group;
  • submit the Group Complaint Form and supporting evidence to the Student Cases Team within the time limit;
  • provide regular feedback to the Group on the progress of the complaint;
  • act as the University’s single point of contact about the complaint, all correspondence and queries will be sent to the Lead Student; and
  • attend meetings with the University on behalf of the Group.

We do not usually allow additional students to join the Group Complaint once the Complaint Form has been submitted.

6. What happens next?

The University welcomes complaints, we want to know if things are not working as well as they should or if standards have fallen below those we expect.

The person investigating your complaint will arrange to discuss it with you, this will usually be a face to face meeting.

Please do not worry about the meeting.

The meeting is informal, a chance to get together to discuss the detail of your complaint and how you would like to resolve it.

You can take someone with you to the meeting, usually another member of the Edge Hill community, but you do not have to take anyone, it is an informal meeting.

If you have any documents you would like the Investigator to consider, either send them by email to the Investigator or take them to the meeting.  It is    helpful to read the documents again before the meeting so that you can refer the Investigator to any particular documents or parts of documents.

Some examples of the kinds of documents that might help us deal with your complaint are:

  • email;
  • course documents; and/or
  • transcripts

After meeting you, the Investigator may need to speak to other people or read any documents you have provided.

The Investigator may need to meet you again or may contact you by telephone or email with further queries or to request additional information.

7. Possible outcomes

The Investigator may arrange to meet you to inform you of the outcome of your complaint, or they may inform you by email.  The date we notify you of the outcome is important, as there is a time limit for taking your complaint to the next stage.

Your complaint outcome will usually be described as:

  • Justified: This means we have upheld your complaint.
  • Partly Justified: This means we have upheld some parts of your complaint but not others.
  • Not Justified: This means we have rejected your complaint.

If your complaint is held to be Justified or Partly Justified, the Investigator will offer you a resolution to your complaint.  The aim is find a practical solution to help resolve your complaint. We might also issue an apology, recommend changes to current practice and procedures, or staff training.

8. How long will it take?

We aim to notify you of the outcome within 28 calendar days of receiving your complaint.

Sometimes it can take longer, for example if people we need to speak to are absent, or if there is more to consider than anticipated.  If it is going to take longer than 28 days we will inform you and explain the reasons for the delay.  We will give you an indication of revised timescales.

Check your University email account regularly as there is a time limit if you wish to take your complaint further.

9. Next steps

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of Early Resolution, you can request a    Formal Investigation into your complaint.

There is a time limit to request a Formal Investigation.

You must complete a Formal Investigation Complaint Form and ensure it reaches us within 14 calendar days of the date we told you of the outcome    of the Early Resolution Stage.

You will need to fill in a Formal Investigation Complaint Form.

We advise you to read our Student Guidance Requesting a Formal Investigation before completing your Complaint Form.

We advise you to contact the Edge Hill Students’ Union (EHSU) for help and advice in taking your complaint to the next stage.

Key to Relevant Documents

Constitution:

Articles of Government

Procedures:

Student Complaints Procedure

Student Guidance:

Early Resolution – where to start?

Requesting a Formal Investigation

Requesting a Review

Forms:

Formal Investigation Complaint Form

Group Complaint Form – Early Resolution or Formal Investigation

Review Request Form

Group Complaint Review Request Form

Other documents:

Staff Guidance – A guide for Investigators

Staff Guidance –  A guide for Reviewers

Student Charter

OIA Good Practice Framework: handling student complaints and academic appeals

OIA Good Practice Framework: handling student complaints and academic appeals – delivering learning opportunities with others

OIA Good Practice Framework: supporting disabled students

UK Association for Accessible Formats – Creating clear print and large print documents

OIA Policy on Frivolous or Vexatious Complaints

OIA Behaviour Policy

OIA Guidance on Completion of Procedures Letter