AUCY is committed to offering all our students an outstanding and valuable University experience and to providing excellent academic and support services
We are committed to investigating and resolving concerns and complaints concerning quality assurance professionally, fairly, quickly and courteously using this procedure, which is based on the Complaints Policy of CYQAA Advice.
Areas covered by this procedure
For the purposes of this procedure a complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more persons about a certain action or lack of action taken by the University or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the University.
Examples of matters that would be considered under this procedure include:
• the quality and standards of a service provided by the University, including learning and teaching provision, advice, resources and facilities
• the applications process or its outcome
• failure to apply an administrative or academic process
• unfair treatment or inappropriate behavior by a member of staff (where misconduct, as defined by the Staff Disciplinary Procedure, is alleged that identifies an existing University employee, this will be considered under the Procedure for investigating complaints of University staff misconduct)
• concerns about the impact of a University policy, even if it has been correctly applied.
Academic judgment is a judgment that is made about a matter where only the opinion of an academic expert is sufficient. A decision about assessment, a degree classification, fitness to practice, research methodology or course content/outcomes will normally involve academic judgment. The following areas do not involve academic judgment: decisions about the fairness of procedures, whether they have been correctly interpreted, what the facts are, how a provider has communicated with the concerned person, whether an opinion has been expressed outside the area of an academic’s competence, the way the evidence has been considered, whether there is evidence of bias or maladministration.
If you are a student and you want to complain about another student, you should follow our student misconduct procedure.
If you are a member of the public and you want to complain about anything related to quality assurance, you should send it in writing to our quality assurance department as well as our HR and Legal Department.
If you are employed by the University and you want to submit a grievance about a matter relating to your employment, you should follow the HR procedure.
If you have concerns about an actual or potential risk, fraud or other illegal or unethical conduct, you should contact our Legal Department.
If your complaint is about teaching provision or quality of services offered by a Faculty, you should send all the details with evidence to the Head of the Academic Council.
Who can submit a complaint
A complaint can be submitted by applicants whose complaint relates to the current recruitment cycle, current students (including those on Leave of Absence), students who have left the University within the last three months.
A complaint may be submitted by a group of people acting collectively, provided that all named individuals have signed up to it, and it is clear that all signatories to the complaint are facing similar circumstances. In order to manage the process effectively, you will be asked to nominate one person to act as representative and main contact, who will be expected to liaise with the others and keep them informed.
We may refuse to look at a complaint where the party to the complaint (whether student or applicant) has not been able to demonstrate that they were directly affected.
Anonymous complaints will not normally be considered as this can impede investigation and prevent a resolution, as well as potentially creating unfairness in relation to any allegations made in the complaint against other individuals, such as members of staff. Exceptionally such a complaint may be considered if we accept there is a compelling reason, supported by sufficient evidence, for it to be brought anonymously.
4. General principles for investigating complaints
• in the first instance, complaints will be considered as close to the source and as informally as possible
• complaints will be dealt with in a fair, transparent and timely manner and in line with our Rules and Regulations
• the investigation, and evidence required, will be proportionate to the issues raised
• Candidates will not be victimized or disadvantaged for bringing a complaint
• complaints will be monitored and reported on to understand, where possible, the root causes
where an investigation identifies problems in our services, we will take steps to prevent any recurrence
* Staff who investigate complaints must not have been involved in the matters leading to the complaint and must be free from actual or perceived conflicts of interest.
We reserve the right to refuse to investigate or to suspend any investigation underway where it becomes aware that police, legal, court or tribunal proceedings have been initiated in relation to the issues raised in the complaint. Similarly, if there are allegations of a criminal offence, we may refer the matter to the police and suspend our own proceedings until the outcome of any police investigation or criminal proceedings are known, other than where we deem it appropriate to act in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and third parties, including visitors.
We may also suspend an investigation on health grounds. Suspending an investigation will ‘stop the clock’ on all timescales outlined in this procedure.
The investigation will deal with the substance of the core concerns identified. However, in complex cases the investigator may not be able to provide a detailed response to all the matters raised.
Record-keeping and confidentiality
We will keep detailed records of the formal complaint submission, investigation and outcome, as well as of any review, for a minimum of 12 months after the complaint is closed.
Information received during the investigation will normally only be used for addressing the complaint. However, if information is shared with us which we are obliged to share due to the University’s safeguarding, fitness to practice or other legal or professional obligations, we will do so.
Information received during the investigation will remain confidential to those involved in the process and those who may need to be consulted in order to reach an outcome. No third party should be told any more than is reasonably necessary to obtain the information required from them. Where a complaint is about a member of staff, details will need to be shared with them to give the staff member the right to respond. If a complaint against a member of staff is upheld, you will be advised of this but we will not share specific personal details affecting individual members of staff, particularly when disciplinary action has been taken.
All complaints will be reported and discussed with CYQAA in order to have full transparency and abide by all rules and regulations set.