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Appeals and Complaints

The following resources support understanding and application of the Regulations

The Student Complaints Procedure sets out the mechanisms by which a complaint can be made, and the procedures for investigating and responding to such a complaint.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Student Complaints procedure?

If you have a complaint about your course or teaching or about the services and facilities provided by the University, you can submit a complaint to the University through the Student Complaints Procedure.

The majority of complaints can usually be resolved quickly and simply by speaking informally to a relevant member of staff, such as your tutor. If you are unsure who to speak to, or want some advice or support in raising your complaint, you can speak to the Students' Union Advice Centre.


What type of complaints are covered?

A complaint may include, but not be limited to:

  • Perceived failure by Manchester Met to follow an appropriate administrative process or satisfactorily apply an institutional policy;
  • Perceived failure of Manchester Met to meet obligations outlined in Programme Handbooks or the Student Commitment Statement;
  • Concerns about the quality of facilities, learning resources or services provided by Manchester Met;
  • Concerns about organisations or contractors providing a service on behalf of Manchester Met (including placement providers);
  • Perceived deficiencies in academic provision (e.g. scheduling of classes; amended submission dates; submission procedures for assessed work; inconsistent advice; provision of feedback; quality or frequency of supervision);
  • Perceived deficiencies in standards of service, for example, support facilities or administrative services;
  • Perceived misinformation about an academic programme;
  • Dissatisfaction with the level and availability of pastoral support;
  • Inappropriate behaviour of a member of staff or contractor;
  • Allegations of harassment, bullying, or victimisation.

Where a student submits multiple complaints relating to the same issue, the University reserves the right to treat the matter as a single complaint.


Who can use this procedure?

This Procedure can be used by existing undergraduate students or taught postgraduate students, including those undertaking Placement or Work-Based Learning, students on approved periods of suspension, or recent graduates.

If you are studying a Manchester Met programme at another institution, you should seek to resolve any complaint directly with the institution at which you are studying. If issues remain unresolved, you may refer the matter to Manchester Met for Review at Stage 3 of the Student Complaints Procedure, but please note that Manchester Met will not always have the authority to determine matters at other institutions.


How does the Student Complaints Procedure work?

Stage 1 of the Student Complaints Process focusses on informal resolution. You can make your informal complaint by phone, in writing, by email or face-to-face. You should direct this to the member of staff who is best placed to understand the issues that you have raised. For example, if your complaint relates to an aspect of study or teaching, you could first discuss the matter with your Personal Tutor, Unit Leader or Programme Leader.

Stage 2 will be applied if:

  • You choose not to engage with any sort of informal resolution
  • You are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Informal Stage
  • Early resolution is not possible due to the nature of your complaint

In order to progress your complaint to Stage 2, you must complete a Complaint Form. This should detail the grounds for your complaint, and explain what you have already done to attempt to reach a resolution. You must raise all matters of complaint and put forward all supporting evidence at this stage – you will not be able to raise a new complaint or evidence at Stage 3.

Examples of evidence that you may wish to include with your complaint include:

  • Independent medical evidence
  • Correspondence (e.g. emails)
  • Witness statements

Your Complaint Form must be submitted only to the Student Case Management Team:

complaintsappeals@mmu.ac.uk

Student Case Management Team, Manchester Metropolitan University, Room 2.01, Business School, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BH.

The Student Case Management Team will acknowledge receipt of your Complaint Form, normally within 5 working days.

Your complaint will be considered by an Investigating Officer – this will be your Head of Department or the equivalent person from the service area in question. You will be invited to a meeting with the Investigating Officer – it is up to you whether you attend or not.

At any point during the Stage 2 investigation, if both you and the Department/service area in question both agree to engage in ‘mediation’, a meeting will be arranged with both present to try to reach a solution.

When the Investigating Officer has completed their investigation, they will provide a report to the Dean of your Faculty or appropriate Head of Service, who will ultimately be responsible for deciding the outcome of Stage 2.

If your complaint is upheld, you will be provided with an outcome letter, which will detail the action to be taken by the University and the timescales for this.

If your complaint is not upheld, your written outcome will detail the reasons for this decision, and the next steps that you can take if you wish to take your complaint further.


What is not covered under the Student Complaints Procedure?

The Student Complaints Procedure cannot be used to appeal against your results. For this, you should use the Academic Appeals Procedure.

There is a separate complaints procedure for those applying to study at Manchester Met.

There is a separate complaints procedure for Postgraduate Research Students.

There is a separate complaints procedure for Accommodation complaints.

Complaints relating to the Student Loans Company should be made via the SLC’s internal complaints procedure.

Personal (e.g. financial or domestic) issues should not be handled through the Student Complaints Procedure. In cases where such difficulties have had an adverse impact on assessments students should refere to the Procedure for Consideration of Exceptional Factors.

Support and guidance in relation to all above criteria is available from the University’s Counselling Service, a Faculty Student Support Officer or the Students’ Union Advice Centre.


When should I make my complaint?

If you wish to make a complaint, you must begin the Informal Stage within one calendar month of the incident that has caused you to complain.

If you are a Student who has left the University or a recent graduate, you may make a complaint within three calendar months of your registration ending.


How long will it take for my complaint to be
resolved?

Your complaint will be dealt with within 90 days of your Formal Stage (Stage 2) complaint being received by the Student Case Management Team. If for any reason the University can't deal with it in this timescale, you will be told why this is.


Can I be represented in making a complaint?

During all stages of the process, you may be accompanied to meetings by a member of the University – usually a fellow student, or an adviser from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

If appropriate, you may also be accompanied by a Disability Adviser for support or representation. The University will ensure that all students who are protected because they are disabled or have mental health issues are offered the support of the Disability Service.

To avoid a conflict of interest, you may not be accompanied by an academic or administrative staff member from your Department.


Can a friend or family member make a complaint
on my behalf?

If you have a complaint, you should always aim to raise this directly with the University. Where, exceptionally, you wish to raise a complaint through a third party, the University will require a signed written statement explaining why you are unable to raise the complaint yourself. The University will not consider any complaints made by those not acting as the approved adviser of an eligible student or graduate.

Where permission has been granted for a third party to make a complaint, the University may refuse to accept that representation if the case is pursued in a way which can be construed as being aggressive, disruptive or otherwise improper. In such situations, you will retain the right to assume responsibility for pursuit of the case.


Can a group of students make a collective
complaint?

Where appropriate, groups of students can make a collective complaint. In such instances each member of the group must be able to demonstrate that they have been personally affected by the matter. Where a group complaint is made, a designated officer from the Student Case Management Team will liaise with the group to identify a single student spokesperson to act as liaison between the University and the group.

The Complaint Form must be signed by the nominated spokesperson and all complainants. In signing the Complaint Form, you agree for to the spokesperson to act on behalf of the group. All evidence submitted to support the complaint must be agreed with the group.

Due to their complexity, group complaints will progress directly to Stage 2 of the Student Complaints procedure.


Can I make a complaint anonymously?

The University will accept anonymous complaints only where there is a compelling case – supported by appropriate evidence – for the matter to be considered and/or why you wish to protect your anonymity. In such cases, there will inevitably be restrictions on the scope of the investigation and reporting of the outcomes. The decision to proceed with any anonymous complaint will take into account the likelihood of successfully completing an investigation.


What is mediation?

The University has a pool of trained mediators that can help resolve complaints or problems at an early stage. Students may request mediation at any point within the complaints process. Mediation can often successfully resolve any issues you may have quickly and effectively without you having to submit a complaint through the formal procedure.

If all parties agree to mediation, you will have an initial meeting with one of the University’s trained mediators on an individual basis. If both parties agree, you may then meet together, with the mediator, or you may continue to have separate discussions with the mediator. The mediator will aim to help resolve the complaint in a way that everyone is happy with.

If you want to request mediation for a problem or complaint you have, or you’d like to find out more about it, please contact the Student Case Management Team:

complaintsappeals@mmu.ac.uk

0161 247 1095


What happens if my complaint relates to an
individual member of staff?

Complaints about specific members of staff will always be handled by an individual independent of the situation. Any member of staff about whom a complaint has been made will be informed of the nature of the complaint.

Should a complaint made against a member of staff under this procedure be of a disciplinary nature, the complaints procedure will be suspended immediately and the matter referred to the University’s disciplinary procedures.


Is my complaint confidential?

All information submitted in relation to complaints will be dealt with confidentially and will only be disclosed to those parties involved in the investigation as is necessary to progress the complaint, or as required by law. All parties (including students) are expected to honour confidentiality of complaints. Breaches will be dealt with under the relevant disciplinary procedures. The University will process all personal information in accordance with its Data Protection Policy.


If my formal complaint is not upheld, how do I seek
a review?

You may request for your complaint to be progressed to the Review Stage if you think that:

  • Procedures have not been followed correctly at a previous stage of your complaint
  • The outcome of Stage 2 is not reasonable
  • There is new material evidence available that has not previously been considered. You will have to explain why this evidence could not be disclosed at an earlier stage.

The Review Stage is not a re-hearing of the original complaint and your case will not be completely reconsidered as if for the first time. You cannot raise new or additional complaint points at this stage.

To request consideration at Stage 3, you must submit a written request to the Student Case Management Team within 10 working days of the date of your Stage 2 Formal outcome letter.

If it is determined that you have valid grounds for a review, your case will be allocated to a Reviewing Officer – this will be a Dean of Faculty, Pro-Vice Chancellor, or Director (or equivalent) of a professional service area. The Reviewing Officer will have no prior involvement in your case. You are entitled to request a meeting with the Reviewing Officer.

The Reviewing Officer may overturn the outcome of Stage 2, if they decide that at least one of the grounds for Review have been met and would have changed the outcome of Stage 2. You will be provided with an outcome letter, which will detail the action to be taken by the University and the timescales for this.

If the Reviewer decides that the Stage 2 decision stands, your complaint cannot be returned to Stages 1 or 2 of the process for further consideration. The Reviewer’s decision represents the University’s final decision regarding the complaint.


What if remain dissatisfied with the outcome?

When the internal procedures of the University in relation to your complaint have been completed, you will be issued with a Completion of Procedures notification (COP). This will instruct you as to how you can apply to take your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) for a review. You may only go to the OIA once your COP has been issued, and must do so within 12 months of the date of your COP letter.

For guidance on making an application to the OIA, please visit their website.


Further Support

Students having difficulty understanding any aspect of the Assessment Regulations should contact their Faculty Student Support Officer, or the Students' Union Advice Centre - which offers support and guidance in relation to Assessment. Additional support is also available from Student Hubs, or from your Programme/Unit Leader.

Staff should direct queries about the Assessment Regulations to the Centre for Academic Standards & Quality Enhancement (CASQE).