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 a Review?

A Review is the final stage in the Student Complaints Procedure.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a Formal Investigation into your complaint, you can ask for it to be reviewed, but only on certain grounds.

The Review is not a fresh investigation into your complaint, it is a review of how your complaint was investigated.  You cannot add new complaints to the one being reviewed. The Review will focus on whether appropriate procedures were followed and whether the decision was reasonable.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) and University Secretary is responsible for conducting the Review, and may nominate another senior manager to conduct it on their behalf.

2. What are the grounds for Review?

You request for a Review must be on one or more of the following grounds:

  • the investigation was not conducted fairly;
  • the investigation failed to take account of all relevant material;
  • new evidence has since come to light that was not available at the Formal Investigation stage and, if considered, would have materially affected the decision made at that Stage; and/or
  • the decision reached by the Investigator was wholly unreasonable.

3. Is there a time limit?

Yes.

You must make sure your Review Request Form reaches us within 14 days        of the date we informed you of the outcome of the Formal Investigation.

4. How do I request a Review?

You need to fill in the Review Request Form.  If your request relates to a    Group Complaint, use the Group Complaint Review Request Form .

Before you request a Review read:

The Form will ask you to specify the grounds you are relying on. Think carefully about which of the four grounds might apply to your request as this will dictate the focus of the Review.

You will not usually send any supporting evidence as the Reviewer will have access to all of the documentation which formed part of the previous stage of your complaint.

If you are requesting a Review because you have new evidence, which was not available to the Formal Investigation, send the new evidence to us with your Form.  Include in your Form:

  • how and when the evidence came to light; and
  • why you think it would have materially affected the outcome of the Formal Investigation into your complaint.

The Form asks you to state the resolution you are seeking. We will consider          reasonable resolutions put forward by students, but you need to be realistic        about what you are seeking.  Our aim is to help resolve your concerns, not to            punish others.

5. Group Complaints

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

We ask you to complete a Group Complaint Review Request Form so we can be clear about which members of the Group are requesting a Review.  Membership of the Group may be different at the Review Stage.  It is possible that not all members of the Group want to request a Review of the Formal Investigation of the Group Complaint.

The Group needs to appoint a Lead Student to act as the Group’s representative and single point of contact during the Review.  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 any new supporting evidence from the Group, if appropriate to the grounds for Review being relied upon;
  • complete the Group Complaints Review Request Form on behalf of the Group;
  • submit the Form and supporting evidence to the Student Cases Team within the time limit;
  • provide regular feedback to the Group on the progress of the Review;
  • act as the University’s single point of contact about the Review, 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 at the Review stage.

6. Where do I send the Review Request Form?

Send your completed Review Request Form and new evidence (if any) to the Student Cases Team.  We prefer you to send it by email to:

Complaints@edgehill.ac.uk

Alternatively, you can hand deliver or post it to:

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

If you are delivering your documents by hand, please put them in a sealed envelope marked ‘Student Cases Team’.

If you are sending your documents by post we advise sending them by recorded delivery so you can check they have been delivered.

We will send any queries or responses to your University email account.  We do this to be sure that we are reaching the right person. All staff dealing with your complaint can easily find the correct email address for students using the University’s email system.

If you have left the University, and no longer have access to your University email account, we will use the email address you provide to us on the Review Request Form.  Please check carefully that you have provided the right address.

7. What happens next?

The Reviewer may ask to meet with you, but the Review is usually conducted       using the case papers alone.  The Reviewer may contact you for clarification of your request or the resolution you are seeking.

Once the Reviewer has reached a decision they will write to you to inform you of the Review outcome and the reasons for their decision.

Usually the Review is conducted by the Reviewer alone, but they have the             discretion to convene a Review Panel to conduct the Review instead.    This is very uncommon.

If your case is referred to a Review Panel, read the Review Panel Procedure        and Student Guidance on Review Panel Hearings.

8. Possible outcomes

The Review outcome will usually be described as:

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

If your complaint is held to be Justified or Partly Justified, the Reviewer may     offer you a resolution.  Alternatively, the Reviewer might:

  • refer your complaint back to the person who dealt with the Formal Investigation with directions on how to deal with the ground(s) for Review which have been established;
  • initiate a new Formal Investigation by a different Investigator; or
  • refer the matter for informal resolution.

9. How long will it take?

We are usually able to notify you of the Review outcome within 28 calendar        days of receiving your request.

Sometimes it can take longer, for example, if there is a lot of information to review, or the case is highly complex.  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 where possible.

10. Next steps

The Review is the final stage in the Student Complaints Procedure.

When we send you the Review outcome we will inform you that our internal procedures are complete, this is called the Completion of Procedures Letter.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Review you can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator to review the University’s decision.  The OIA has its own rules on which cases are eligible for review.  The Completion of Procedures letter informs you of your right to complain to the OIA.

We advise you to contact the Edge Hill Students’ Union (EHSU) for help and         advice on complaining to the OIA.

To ask the OIA to review your case, you must fill in the OIA’s Complaint Form. Your Complaint Form must reach the OIA within 12 months of the date of the Completion of Procedures letter.

You can find out more about the OIA, and how to complain, on its website:

http://www.oiahe.org.uk/

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