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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. King's College London is committed to considering and investigating genuine complains from students, which it sees as an invaluable source of feedback, and undertakes that any student submitting a complaint will not be treated less favourably in their College life or subsequent academic career.

Although the College has a three-stage complaints procedure, the case may be referred to the College Senior Tutor or Director of the Graduate School at any point for informal mediation, if requested by the student, or by the College with the agreement of the student and any relevant College staff.  Further consideration of the complaint will be suspended while informal mediation seeks to resolve the issues; however, should matters remain unresolved, consideration of the complaint will be recommenced.

Any complaints which are deemed to be frivolous or vexatious may be terminated by the College and, where appropriate, the matter may be referred under the G27 Misconduct Regulation.

The university does not accept anonymous 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;
  • the Disability Advisory Service;
  • the Diversity and Inclusion Team;
  • the Students’ Union Advice Service;
  • the Student Conduct and Appeals Office;
  • a programme or student representative;
  • their PhD or project supervisor;
  • the Graduate School Office;
  • a nominated person in the relevant service area, eg in Students and Education, Estates and 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 the Student Conduct & Appeals Office for a formal investigation to be undertaken.  The outcome of the investigation will normally be communicated to the student within 21 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 the Student Conduct & Appeals Office 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 42 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 College’s final outcome.

 

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