Complaints and appeals procedure
The University of London is committed to providing a high quality student experience.
However, it is recognised that students will sometimes become dissatisfied with a service we have provided or failed to provide. We know that there may be disagreement regarding progression decisions, the outcome of a refund request or how the regulations have been applied. There may also be occasions where students have grounds to appeal a decision made by the Board of Examiners.
The Procedure for Student Complaints and Academic Appeals gives more detail on how the University considers complaints and academic appeals, from early consideration through to formal resolution and review, and information on how to make a submission under each stage.
Please also take some time to read the Frequently Asked Questions below.
What is a complaint?
We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf. Appeals against applications of the regulations, or decisions regarding progression and refund requests are also treated as complaints.
What is an appeal?
An academic appeal is a representation against a decision of the Board of Examiners.
You many not challenge the academic judgements of the examiners. Academic appeals will only be considered on the following grounds, supported by evidence:
- Serious circumstances the Board were not previously aware of
- Procedural irregularities in the conduct of assessment
- Evidence of prejudice or bias.
What can I complain about?
You can make a complaint about:
- The quality and standard of any service we provide
- Our failure to provide a service
- Our failure to follow appropriate administrative process
- An application of the regulations
- The quality of your learning experience
- Unfair treatment
- Inappropriate behaviour by a student or staff member
- Harassment, in line with the University of London guidance for students on responding to harassment
- Dissatisfaction with University policy.
What can’t I complain about?
There are some things we cannot deal with through this procedure. These include:
- A routine, first-time request for a service. You should submit a query through the 'Ask a Question' tab on the Student Portal.
- A request for information or an explanation of policy or practice. You should submit a query through the 'Ask a Question' tab on the Student Portal.
- A request under Freedom of Information or Data Protection legislation. Please visit the relevant pages on the University website.
- An appeal against your examination results. The University will not consider appeals against academic judgement.
- Complaints against the outcomes of disciplinary procedures, including assessment offence penalties. Please refer to the embedded appeals process within the procedure.
- Complaints against Recognised Teaching Centres. You must follow the centre’s internal complaints procedure. In the event that a complaint remains unresolved and you have grounds to believe that the centre has acted outside its stated policies, the University may consider a submission from you under the Procedure for handling student complaints against Recognised Teaching Centres. If your complaint meets the above criteria you should contact A&C@london.ac.uk in the first instance.
- Appeals against admissions decisions. Please refer to the separate Admissions Appeals Procedure
- Information received through routine feedback mechanisms (e.g. questionnaires or surveys) and other open communication channels (discussion forums, social media, etc.) will not normally be considered as complaints
- Complaints from anonymous individuals or un-attributable sources
- An issue which is being, or has been, considered by a court or tribunal.
Who can complain?
Any current student, groups of students, or recent alumni can make a complaint under this Procedure.
How do I complain?
In most cases you should first raise your complaint through the Student Advice Centre via the Student Portal, or in direct response to the member of University staff handling your query. It is easier for us to resolve complaints if you raise them as soon as you become aware of the issue.
If you are reporting an incident of harassment, or have reason to believe your complaint is of such a nature that it cannot be handled informally, please follow the instructions for submitting a formal Stage Two complaint.
When complaining please tell us:
- as much as you can about the complaint
- what has gone wrong
- how you would like us to resolve the matter
- what evidence you have to support your complaint.
Is there a time limit for making a complaint?
You must make your complaint within four weeks of:
- the issues arising, or
- finding out you have a reason to complain.
- In exceptional circumstances we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit has expired. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
What will happen if I complain?
The Procedure for Student Complaints and Academic Appeals has three stages. The process will be different depending on which stage your complaint is being considered under.
Stage One – Informal Resolution
We aim to resolve complaints quickly and locally by encouraging early resolution within the department that provides the service. This could mean an apology, an explanation if something has gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve a problem. Sometimes a matter will have to be referred to more than one member of staff to find the right answer, or receive approval for an outcome, but we will aim to keep you informed as we go along.
If you are not satisfied with the response we give at this stage, we will tell you what you can do next. The matter may need be escalated within the same department. If you choose to, you can take your complaint to Stage Two of the procedure.
Stage Two – Formal Investigation
Stage Two deals with complaints that have not been resolved at Stage One and those that are complex and require detailed investigation. Submissions should be made via email to A&C@london.ac.uk along with any supporting evidence. All submissions made to this inbox are treated confidentially.
- Acknowledge receipt within three working days and tell you who is dealing with your complaint
- Provide you with an outcome as soon as possible and normally within twenty working days.
If our investigation will take longer than twenty working days, we will tell you.
Stage Three – Complaints Resolution Panel
Stage Three is the review stage and looks at complaints that have not been resolved at Stage Two. Criteria for making a submission at Stage Three include that there is additional evidence which could not have reasonably been made available at Stage Two and/or because our policies and procedures were not followed in the handling of your original complaint.
Complaints under Stage Three should be submitted via email to email@example.com. We will:
- Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
- Refer to the Chair to determine whether the Panel should be convened in accordance with the criteria
- If appropriate, convene a meeting of the Complaints Resolution panel, consisting of a Chair, a Secretary, a staff member from the University of London unrelated to the complaint (but with experience and knowledge of the complaint area) and a student member
- Meet within twenty working days (excluding University holiday periods) of acceptance of the complaint at Stage Three
- Give you a full response of the decision within ten working days of the meeting of the Complaints Resolution Panel.
If the Panel will take longer than the agreed timescales, we will tell you.
What if I’m still dissatisfied?
If your complaint has completed Stage Three you will be provided with a Completion of Procedures letter. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) in accordance with their rules.