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Student Conduct and Appeals Office

Student Complaints

The G31 Student Complaint Regulation defines a complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction that warrants a response; however, it cannot provide an academic related outcome, such as a change in progression decision, and should, therefore, be distinguished from academic appeals. We are committed to considering and investigating genuine complaints from students, which we see as an invaluable source of feedback, and undertake that any student submitting a complaint will not be treated less favourably in their university life or subsequent academic career.

Any complaints which are deemed to be frivolous or vexatious may be terminated. 

The university does not accept anonymous complaints.

Strike action related complaints:

Scope of Complaints - Impact on Academic Performance

If you make a complaint we will ask you what outcome you are seeking. Please note that we are not able to consider outcomes which are academic related. For instance, we are not able to consider a request that the outcome of a complaint be that the student has the opportunity to resit an assessment uncapped.

If you believe that your academic performance has been impacted by the industrial action you should apply for mitigating circumstances through your department in the usual way, or consider an academic appeal to the College. 

Support Available

You may also wish to contact KCLSU for additional support and guidance. They provide free, confidential and impartial academic advice to students with issues affecting their studies. Caseworkers can be contacted via an online form at kclsu.org/adviceform/ and for urgent queries on 020 7848 4588.

Stage One - Local information resolution

In the first instance, you should contact your Department or module leaders directly to discuss measures put in place to mitigate for the strike action. If you take this step, we will not view you as having made a “complaint”.

If, having contacted your Department or module leaders directly, you wish to make a complaint, Stage Two of this procedure should be followed.

Stage Two - Formal investigation

We have created a webform which you will need to complete to raise a formal complaint. If you are unable to complete the webform please contact Student Conduct & Appeals to discuss.

This webform should be completed by individuals wishing to raise a complaint; we will not accept group complaints about strike action. This is because any impact on students is likely to be particular to the circumstances of each student, so we will need to assess complaints on an individual basis. 

A complaint under Stage Two realating to industrial action must be submitted by 30 September 2020. Any complaints received after this time will only be accepted at the discretion of the Head of Student Conduct & Appeals (or nominee). We will not accept complaints submitted prior to the strike taking place, as we will be unable to assess whether there has been any impact from the strike action.

The outcome of a Stage Two complaint will normally be communicated to the student within 25 working days of receipt. If, for any reason, it is not possible for us to communicate the outcome in this 25 working day period, we will let you know in advance and confirm when we expect to able to communicate your complaint outcome. 

Resolutions

If a strike action related complaint is upheld, the College will offer an appropriate resolution according to the circumstances of the case. This would usually be in the form of a tuition fee rebate and would be paid to the source of your tuition fee payments. For example, if you are funded by the Student Loan Company, the rebate would be paid to the Student Loan Company and applied to your student loan.

Stage Three - Appeal

If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of a Stage Two Complaint, they may submit an Appeal under this Stage Three. To submit a Stage Three Appeal, a Complaint Appeal Form must be completed and submitted to Student Conduct & Appeals within 10 working days of the date of the Stage Two Complaint outcome letter.

In accordance with the College’s G31 Regulation, the Vice-Principal (Education) will allow an appeal to be heard, if they are satisfied that one or both of the following grounds are met:

  • (a) Where there is new evidence that could not have been, or for good reason was not, made available at the time of the investigation by the Director of Students & Education, and that sufficient evidence remains that the complaint warrants further investigation;
  • (b) Where evidence can be produced of a significant procedural error on the part of the College in investigating the complaint, and that sufficient evidence remains that the complaint warrants further consideration.

The Vice-Principal (Education) also has the discretion to take into account grounds other than those stated above, including grounds of compassion, in deciding whether to allow an appeal to be heard.

The Vice-Principal (Education) will determine whether the criteria for an appeal have been met. Where they have, an Appeal Committee will be convened; otherwise, the appeal will be dismissed. This decision will normally be communicated within 20 working days of receipt of the Stage Three Complaint.

Where an Appeal Committee is convened, the student shall normally receive at least 7 days' notice of the hearing, and will be invited to present their case to the Panel.  Relevant staff from the Department(s) complained about will also be invited to present evidence.  The Committee will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to challenge the decision arrived at during Stage Two; where it concludes such evidence is present, it will make a judgment on the complaint, and make appropriate proposals or recommendations to resolve the complaint.  The decision of the Committee will be normally communicated to the student and appropriate staff within 14 days of the decision.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator 

If all internal procedures are complete (i.e. when stages One, Two and Three above have been completed) and a student remains dissatisfied with the College’s final outcome, that student may request an independent review of their case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education ('OIA').


All other complaints:

Stage One – Local informal resolution

In the first instance, students should attempt to resolve any issues informally and locally with the relevant person, at the earliest opportunity. This individual will not conduct a formal investigation, but will attempt to resolve the matter quickly and informally. If no satisfactory resolution can be reached, the student may escalate their complaint to Stage Two. Although not obliged, students are expected to wait for the outcome of a Stage One Complaint before escalating their case.

Students are encouraged to seek advice both prior to and during the use of the procedure from any of the following sources:

  • their Personal Tutor or Graduate Tutor;
  • a Student Advisor;
  • Disability Support;
  • the Diversity and Inclusion Team;
  • KCLSU Advice;
  • Student Conduct & Appeals;
  • a programme or student representative;
  • their PhD or project supervisor;
  • the Centre for Doctoral Studies;
  • a nominated person in the relevant service area, eg in Students & Education, Estates & Facilities, Library Services and Information Technology Services as appropriate;
  • Residences Services Manager;
  • Assigned mentors. 
Stage Two - Formal investigation

A Stage Two Complaint should be made no later than 3 months from the student being aware of the incident/sequence of events giving rise to the complaint. A complaint received after this deadline will only be accepted at the discretion of the Head of Student Conduct & Appeals (or nominee).

Student Complaint Form should be submitted to Student Conduct & Appeals for a formal investigation to be undertaken. The outcome of the investigation will normally be communicated to the student within 25 working days of receipt.

Stage Three - Appeal

Following completion of a Stage Two Complaint, students may submit a Stage Three Appeal in the instance that they are dissatisfied with the previous outcome. Stage Three Appeals must be submitted on a Complaint Appeal Form to Student Conduct & Appeals within 14 days of the date of the Stage Two Complaint outcome letter.

In accordance with the G31 Regulation, the Vice-Principal (Education) will allow an appeal to be heard, if s/he is satisfied that one or both of the following grounds are met: 

(a) Where there is new evidence that could not have been, or for good reason was not, made available at the time of the investigation by the Director of Students & Education, and that sufficient evidence remains that the complaint warrants further investigation;

(b) Where evidence can be produced of a significant procedural error on the part of the College in investigating the complaint, and that sufficient evidence remains that the complaint warrants further consideration.

The Vice-Principal (Education) also has the discretion to take into account grounds other than those stated above, including grounds of compassion, in deciding whether to allow an appeal to be heard.

The Vice-Principal (Education) will determine whether the criteria for an appeal have been met. Where they have, an Appeal Committee will be convened; otherwise, the appeal will be dismissed. This decision will normally be communicated within 20 working days of receipt of the Stage Three Complaint.

Where an Appeal Committee is convened, the student shall normally receive at least 7 days' notice of the hearing, and will be invited to present their case to the Panel.  Relevant staff from the Department(s) complained about will also be invited to present evidence.  The Committee will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to challenge the decision arrived at during Stage Two; where it concludes such evidence is present, it will make a judgment on the complaint, and make appropriate proposals or recommendations to resolve the complaint.  The decision of the Committee will be normally communicated to the student and appropriate staff within 14 days of the decision.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator

When all internal procedures are complete, students may request an independent review of their case by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education ('OIA'), if they remain dissatisfied with the university’s final outcome.

 

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