Student Complaints Procedure and Disciplinary Policy

Mr E. Wand made this Freedom of Information request to Working Men's College

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Dear Working Men’s College,

Please can I see your Student Complaints Procedure and your Student Disciplinary Policy? I am requesting these of thee.

Thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Mr E. Wand

Mr E. Wand left an annotation ()

I've received the documents via private email (which is great). However, I've asked WMC to also respond to this request on whatdotheyknow. This is because the NUS recommends that students have easy access to the Student Complaints Procedure. IF WMC respond on here, then other WMC students will be able to get hold of it themselves.

Mr E. Wand left an annotation ()

Transcript of the WMC's Student Complaints Procedures

"Revised on 16/05/2011

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Scope

3 Definition

4 Definition of Roles

5 Informal Complaints Procedure

6 Formal Complaints Procedure

7 Appeal

8 External Redress


A. Student Feedback Form

B. Student Guidance Information

C. Student Complaints Process

D. Student Feedback Form – Informal Complaints

Student Complaints Procedure

1 Introduction

1.1 Working Men’s College seeks to provide a high quality service to all students. However, sometimes students may feel that good service has not been provided or that treatment has been unfair.

1.2 In many cases problems or misunderstandings can be dealt with informally through discussion between staff and students. In other instances it may be appropriate to pursue the matter in a more formal way.

1.3 The complaints procedure seeks to be easily understood and straightforward. It is divided into two parts – an informal procedure and a formal procedure. This is intended to support the College’s commitment to resolving complaints speedily and at the most local level possible. The formal procedure is designed in stages so that if the student is not satisfied with the decision at Stage 1 he/she can take the complaint to the next stage. Both informal and formal complaints are recorded and monitored to improve service.

1.4 The complaints procedure seeks to treat all students fairly and equitably. Students should not suffer a disadvantage through submitting a complaint made in good faith. However, the college expects that students who wish to raise issues and concerns have also met their own obligations in terms of reasonable standards of behaviours. (See Student Code of Conduct)

1.5 In seeking to resolve complaints, the college will at all times have due regard to its equal opportunities schemes, procedures and policies.

1.6 The Complaints Officer will determine whether or not the informal or formal complaint procedures will be used and decide if the complaint is frivolous or vexatious. The Complaints Officer is authorised, after due consultation with all parties involved to advise a complainant that his/her complaint is regarded as frivolous or trivial (clear reasons must be stated) and that unless the complainant wishes to resubmit his/her complaint in a significantly revised form, it cannot be considered further.

1.7 Any information given will be treated in the strictest confidence and in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. Any information relating to third parties will also be treated in confidence and in accordance with the Act. The information provided will only be used for the purposes of dealing with complaints or monitoring.

1.8 Complainants should note that in order to permit appropriate investigation (s) of their complaint, at all stages of this procedure, the person or persons against whom the complaint is being made or who are named in the complaint shall be provided with a full copy of all relevant documentation.

1.9 During the appeal process which is part of this Procedure, a student who is involved is entitled to be accompanied by an enrolled student, member of staff of the college, or any other person who he/she feel can support them.

1.10 This complaint procedure is not a legal process and therefore the person who accompanies the student is not acting in a legal capacity but rather a supportive role.

2 Scope

2.1 The complaints procedure is open to all individuals who are formally enrolled on a WMC course or potential students.

3 Definition

3.1 A student complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction whether justified or not. Complaints may be made by an individual student or group of students.

3.2 This Procedure does not cover

• Academic Appeals
• Assessment Boards
• Disciplinary Procedures

4 Definition of roles

4.1 Complaints Officer
This staff member is the “guardian” of the procedure, ensuring that each complaint is processed in accordance with policy and procedure and is responsible for the management and operation of the Student Complaints Procedure. The Complaints Officer does not investigate complaints, but receives the information for a student and forwards it to the Investigating Officer.

The Complaints Officer is impartial and plays no part in investigating a complaint. The Complaints Officer will also compile, monitor and help evaluate data for annual review and equal opportunities reporting. If the complaint is against the Complaints Officer the Deputy Principal will receive the information.

A student may speak to the Complaints Officer to obtain updates on the progress of a complaint. The Complaints Officer will evaluate the overall data for annual reviews and equal opportunities reporting.

4.2 Complaints Support Officer
The Complaints Support Officer is available if the complainant wishes to make a complaint but needs confidential and impartial advice, guidance and support or would like assistance in completing the Student Feedback Form. The Complaints Support Officer can also refer students with disabilities, learning and/or language difficulties for more specialized support. The type of support the student will receive depends on the problems he/she encounters. This means that every student will be treated as an individual.

4.3 Investigating Officer
These staff members are responsible for deciding legitimacy and investigating a formal complaint. The Investigating Officer will not be the Complaints Officer as defined above, but the first level manager within the Service or Curriculum area concerned. If the complaint is against the Investigating Officer then the next level Senior Manager responsible for that person will act as the Investigating Officer. It is his/her responsibility to investigate the complaint and make an appropriate response according to the time line established in the
complaints procedure.

4.4 Appeals Officer
If the complainant is not satisfied and makes an appeal, an Appeals Officer will be appointed by the Principal and will be responsible for hearing the appeal. The Appeal Officer’s decision is final.

5 Informal Complaints (Part 1)

5.1 Wherever possible and appropriate students with a complaint should in the first instance seek an informal resolution. A student with a complaint should raise it directly with the relevant member of staff in order that it can be resolved immediately. This may take the form of a discussion with the person concerned, or writing an informal letter to that person. It is anticipated that inmost cases this will be sufficient to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the student. Advice on how to proceed can be sought from the Head of Student Support.

5.2 Students can make informal complaints through the Student Reps. In these instances, the Student Rep will report the complaint to the Complaints Officer and the relevant manager who will contact the complainant and try to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

5.3 Students can make informal complaints directly to the Principal or Senior Management. In this case the Principal/ Senior Manager will attempt to resolve the complaint immediately. If this is not possible, they will agree with the complainant whether they want it dealt with as a formal or informal complaint. The complaint will then be passed on either to an agreed member of staff who will deal with it informally or to the Complaints Officer to deal with it formally.

6 Formal Complaints (Part 2, Stage 1)

6.1 Formal complaints must normally be made within 20 working days. However, in exceptional circumstances the college will consider those beyond this time frame.

6.2 Formal complaints must be made in writing: by letter, email ( or completing a Student Feedback Form (Appendix A) which can be obtained from Reception and Student Services. In cases where students need support in completing the form, they can ask for support in Student Services. The form should be sent to the Complaints Officer. Where the complaint is against the relevant named Complaints Officer the complaint should be referred to the Deputy Principal. The College can provide support in a confidential and impartial manner. (See 4.2)

6.3 The complainant may decide to withdraw, his/her complaint at any time. However the College reserves the right to continue the investigation.

6.4 The Complaints Officer will normally send a written acknowledgement to the complainant within 5 working days of its receipt. This will include contacts, guidance information, complaints process and indicate the likely timescale in which the complaint will be investigated and who will undertake the investigation and response i.e. ‘The Investigating Officer.’ If for any reason this timescale cannot be met, the Investigating Officer will write to the complainant explaining the reason why and give a revised timescale.

6.5 The Complaints Officer will simultaneously forward a copy of the complaint to the Investigating Officer and Senior Manager with Institutional responsibility for the staff, programme, and service relevant to the complaint within 5 working days of its receipt.

6.6 The Investigating Officer will conduct the investigation and attempt to resolve it. On completion of the investigation the Investigating Officer will respond to the complainant in writing of the outcome of the investigation. Progress in resolving complaints depends very much on the particular nature of the complaint. A copy of the response letter will be sent to the Complaints Officer. The aim will be to reach mutually satisfactory resolution ASAP but normally not later than 10 working days from receipt of the complaint.

6.7 The Investigating Officer may provide upon request the
Complaints Officer with a progress report every 5 working days.

6.8 If the outcome at this stage fails to satisfy the complainant, an appeal may be invoked. The response letter will identify who any appeal should be made to (normally the Complaints Officer).

7 Appeals (Part 2, Stage 2)

7.1 Within 10 working days of the date of response at Stage 2, the complainant should write to the Complaints Officer or another designated person, detailing the complaint. The Principal will decide who will hear the appeal.

7.2 The Appeals Officer will investigate the complaint where both parties to the complaint and their representatives (if desired) will be invited to present evidence call witnesses (previously named) and question those giving evidence. The Appeals Officer will review the procedures used to deal with the complaint. The Appeals Officer may also require those people involved in the previous decisions to explain their reasoning for reaching their decision. If the complainant is unable to attend the meeting, she/he should submit a written document to the
Appeals Officer.

7.3 The Appeals Officer will write to the complainant after the investigation is complete. The aim will be to reach a decision ASAP but normally not later than 20 working days from receipt of the appeal.

The decision of the Appeals Officer is final.

8 External Redress (Part 2, Stage 3)

If the response to the complaint is still not acceptable to the complainant, redress may be sought from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA)."