#Student Complaints Procedure

Introduction

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more students about action or lack of action by the Foundation, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the Foundation. The Foundation aims to operate a fair and transparent student complaints procedure and students will not suffer any detriment by making a complaint.

Wherever possible, concerns raised by students should be resolved informally without recourse to formal procedures. If a student has a complaint about any aspect of Foundation life, it should be raised with an appropriate person at the earliest opportunity.

If the student is unable to resolve the complaint informally, or is dissatisfied with the outcome, this complaints procedure shall be followed. Complaints by students with a registered disability about the provision of reasonable adjustments for teaching and assessment shall be given priority and dealt with urgently, in order to prevent prejudice to the student that might be caused by any delay.

The complaints procedure involves two stages:

(1) The Local Stage

(2) The Foundation board of trustees or if an Academic Appeal, UWTSD procedure will be followed.

Students may raise complaints jointly.

Complaints must be brought promptly. The Foundation will not accept complaints that are made longer than 90 days after the matters complained about, unless there is a good reason for the delay.

Any registered student may bring a complaint under this procedure. A former student may also bring a complaint under this procedure within 90 days after the matters complained about, but only if the complaint could not reasonable have been brought while he or she was a registered student.

Anonymous complaints may only be accepted at the discretion of the Foundation.

Complaints about decisions of an academic body on student progress, assessment and awards may not be brought under this procedure and may only be raised under the UWSD academic appeals procedure set out in the UWTSD regulations. Complaints about teaching and supervision will not be considered in an academic appeal unless they are raised by the student promptly at the time they first arose and pursued under this procedure.

Claims for compensation for personal injury cannot normally be brought under this procedure, but may be accepted at the discretion of the Director of the School.

Early Resolution

It is expected that a person to whom a complaint is brought informally should seek to resolve any concerns that have been raised. If following discussion of the concerns, or where the concerns raised involve interpersonal relationships, he or she considers it appropriate, he or she may recommend that a facilitated discussion takes place or that the matter is referred to mediation. Both of these are voluntary and will only take place if all parties agree. However the Foundation encourages the early resolution of issues through these means where appropriate.

Where appropriate, the person to whom a complaint is brought informally may refer the concerns o be dealt with under appropriate disciplinary procedures.

The Local Stage

Where early resolution of the complaint is not possible, the student may invoke the Local Stage by forwarding a written complaint and submitting it to the Registrar. The Registrar will act impartially and will be able to give advice to students about any procedural matters. Students may also obtain advice from their student representatives.

The written complaint should set out details of the complaint and state the remedy sought. Any evidence on which the complaint is based should be submitted with the complaint letter.

On receipt of the complaint letter, the Registrar will refer the complaint to an appropriate person for consideration at the Local Stage. This will normally be the Director of the School. In some cases, the Registrar may be able to resolve the student’s complaint without recourse to the Local Stage.

The person considering the complaint at the Local Stage may decide to meet with the student to discuss the complaint. If so, the student may bring an adviser, friend or representative to the meeting.

The outcome of consideration at the Local Stage will be conveyed to the student in writing. The Foundation aims to complete the Local Stage within 30 days of the submission of the complaint.

The Prince’s Foundation Stage – Complaint Review Panel

If it has not been possible to resolve the complaint at the Local Stage or if the student remains dissatisfied with the outcome, he or she may request that the complaint is progressed to the Prince’s Foundation Stage.

The student should make the request in writing to the Registrar within 14 days of receipt of the Local Stage outcome.

Upon receipt of the request, the Registrar shall refer the complaint to the Complaint Review Panel who will discuss the complaint. The Foundation aims to convene the Review Panel within 30 days of the student’s request to the Registrar.

The Complaint Review Panel shall normally consider of 3 senior members of the Foundation staff who have had no prior involvement with the complaint. The proceedings of the Board of Trustees will not involve a hearing.

The Review Panel will consider the complaint and may:

(a) Ask the parties to reconsider any decision not to enter into mediation;

(b) Refer the matter back to Local Stage with an instruction or recommendation for resolution. If the instruction or recommendation is not carried out, the student may refer the matter back to the Review Panel for reconsideration;

(c) Dismiss the complaint, giving reasons, and issue a Completion of Procedures letter;

(d) Recommend that a Committee of the Board of Trustees be appointed to hear the complaint.

The Director of the School will appoint a clerk to the Review Panel. The role of the clerk shall be to prepare the documentation, take a note of the Panel’s deliberations and advise the Panel on the applicable regulations and procedures. The outcome of consideration by the Review Panel will be conveyed to the student in writing.

The Foundation Stage – Committee of the Board of Trustees

If the Review Panel recommends that the Committee be appointed to hear the complaint, the Board of Trustees will appoint a Committee, which shall normally consist of three members and which may include amongst its members trustees, Foundation staff who are not trustees, and persons from outside the Foundation. At the request of the student, the Board of Trustees may appoint a student representative as an additional member. In the event of the Committee being divided in its view, the Chair will have a casting vote.

The Director of the School will appoint a clerk to the Committee. The role of the clerk is to assist the Committee by collating the evidence, preparing the documentation, making arrangements for the hearing, take a note of the proceedings and advising the Committee on the applicable regulations and procedures.

The clerk may on behalf of the Committee ask for written witness statements or documents such as medical certificates to be produced in advance of a hearing. The student will be entitled to see all statements and documents seen by the Committee.

The student is entitled to be present at hearings of the Committee, and to be accompanied by an adviser, friend or representative. If a complaint is being made against a particular person, he or she is also entitled to attend hearings and to be accompanied by an adviser, friend or representative. In the event that either party is without good reason unable to attend, the hearing will either be held in that party’s absence or rescheduled. If the party concerned has good reason for non-attendance the hearing will be rescheduled.

The order of any hearing will be at the discretion of the Committee, which may ask for enquiries to be undertaken and witnesses to attend. The Committee may ask questions of anyone present. The student will be given a full opportunity to state his or her case, and will be able to address the Committee at the conclusion of any evidence that has been presented.

The Committee will report to the Board of Trustees, setting out its finding and any recommendations, and a copy of the report will be sent to the student and to any person against whom the complaint was made.

Confidentiality

If information is to be kept confidential, the student should make this clear to the person to whom a complaint is made. Students should understand that in exceptional circumstances it may be difficult for confidentiality to be respected, for instance where a criminal offence has been disclosed.

Students should also understand that in some circumstances the demand for confidentiality may make it difficult for the Foundation to assist them with their complaint.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)

Research complaints

Students have the right to make a complaint about any specific concern about the provision of their programme of study or academic services, in accordance with the procedures set out in Section 13.7 of Chapter 13 of the AQH. Students have the right to make a complaint about supervision, in accordance with the procedures set out in Section 8.9 of Chapter 8 of the AQH.

Most complaints about supervision can be resolved simply and swiftly in an informal manner, at a local level, by discussing the issue or concern with the student’s Director of Studies, the Director of

Research Degrees, or the Director of the School. The School encourages students to raise matters of concern as soon as they arise. The School will seek, in turn, to find effective remedies to those concerns as quickly as possible and with minimum disruption.

If an issue or concern cannot be resolved through the informal complaints procedure, a student may submit a formal complaint in writing, as per section 8.9.3 of Chapter 8 of the AQH.

On receipt of a Complaint Outcome Letter, if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome or the remedy proposed, the complainant may request that the complaint outcome be reviewed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or nominee. Details of the process are in Section 8.9.4 of Chapter 8 of the AQH.

MA student complaints procedures

Students who are dissatisfied with an aspect of their experience as a student at The Prince’s Foundation have a right to make a complaint about any specific concern about the provision of their programme of study or a related academic service. Students are encouraged, in the first instance, to resolve the matter with the person or persons directly involved. If they wish to make a formal complaint, they should in the first instance pursue it through The Prince’s Foundation’s complaints procedures. If they remain dissatisfied, they may request that their complaint is reviewed by UWTSD, as outlined in Chapter 13 of the AQH.

Please note that disputes about defects or irregularities in the conduct of assessment or examinations should normally be resolved through the procedure for Academic Appeals rather than the Student Complaints procedure.

The Student Complaints procedure does not cover complaints about the behaviour of other students. Complaints of this nature should be dealt with by The Prince’s Foundation.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)

In the event that students are not satisfied with the outcome of a review of a complaint by The Prince’s Foundation or by UWTSD, they are entitled to take the issue to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education, which provides an independent scheme for the review of student complaints. The OIA will consider cases only when the Foundation’s own internal complaints procedure or after UWTSD has reviewed the complaint have been exhausted. It will not intervene on matters which turn purely on academic judgement.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)

The QAA Concerns Scheme was set up to investigate concerns about how higher education providers manage their academic standards, the quality of learning opportunities, and the information that they make available about their provision. It does not resolve individual complaints against providers ad is unable to provide redress or compensation to any individual submitting a complaint. However, the QAA can look at individual complaints for evidence of broader failings in the management of academic quality and standards, and where it considers that these indicate serious systemic or procedural problems, it will investigate them as concerns. The aim of an investigation by the QAA under the Concerns Scheme is to safeguard and improve the overall quality of UK higher education by addressing weaknesses within a particular higher education provider. Students seeking individual redress or compensation should contact the OIA.