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Complaints Policy

Bath Spa University values the views and experiences of our students and the wider community.

The University recognises that from time to time things can go wrong, and we believe that all students should be able to raise their concerns. The Complaints Procedure has therefore been designed to be fair, straightforward, and accessible. This page explains the Complaints Procedure and specifies the steps that should be taken to resolve any problems. All genuine complaints will be treated seriously and impartially.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact our Complaints Officer via complaintsofficer@bathspa.ac.uk.

Bath Spa University works closely with The Student Community Partnership (SCP) which supports student residents and permanent residents in coming together and living in the community of Bath. We support the SCP's activities in acting as a bridge between the universities and students' unions in Bath; which includes the handling of complaints about student residents regarding noise, parking, and anti-social behaviour. If you wish to notify us or submit a complaint referring to a student resident issue, this will be referred to the Student Community Partnership complaint procedure for initial investigation and response.

Procedures, guidance and support

Who can make a complaint under this procedure?

Student Complaints can be made by current students, recent graduates, and a group of students wishing to make a joint complaint.

If a group of students wishes to make a complaint, they must nominate a member of the group to act as a spokesperson who will be expected to represent the group as a whole and liaise with the other students throughout the Complaints Procedure.

The University will only consider Student Complaints that are raised by the student in question. We expect students to complete the Student Complaints Form and provide the details of the grievance themselves.

Advice and support in making a complaint

We highly recommend that students contact the Student Union’s Help and Advice team for support and guidance in making a complaint. The Help and Advice Team can assist students with writing and submitting their complaint, as well as accompany students to any informal or formal meetings during the Complaints Procedure. You can contact the Help and Advice team at su-advice@bathspa.ac.uk

The Student Support Service can provide advice and guidance about the Complaints process and offer a confidential space to speak about any concerns. Student Support also offers emotional and wellbeing support for students and you can contact them at studentsupport@bathspa.ac.uk.   

If you have any general queries about the Complaints Procedure please email the Complaints Officer at complaintsofficer@bathspa.ac.uk.

Anonymous complaints

The University is unable to follow the full Complaints Procedure when the complaint is submitted anonymously as we are unable to complete a full and proper investigation whilst retaining student anonymity. Anonymous complaints however can be submitted through the Anonymous Complaints Form and will be recorded by the Complaints Officer and circulated to the relevant members of staff.

Making a complaint

If you wish to submit a complaint please complete the online Student Complaints Form, making your complaint as detailed and precise as possible, clearly explaining the nature of the complaint, the service and/or persons involved, and specify the desired outcome. All students must read the full Complaints Procedure document before submitting a complaint. The Procedure document contains key information such as what complaints can and cannot be considered under the procedure, who can submit a complaint, and what happens at each stage of the procedure. 

Complaints must be made within three months from the date of the incident or sequence of events giving rise to the complaint.  

Procedural overview

The purpose of this procedure is to provide a formal means through which students can complain about the services provided by the University. The procedure is designed to be fair, efficient and transparent, and consists of three stages:

  • Stage One: Local Informal Resolution
  • Stage Two: Formal Complaint
  • Stage Three: Review

The below overview gives further information around the separate stages of the procedure, and for full details please refer to our Student Complaints Procedure.

Overview

Stage one: local informal resolution

When a problem arises, students are expected to contact the relevant Department or Service staff as soon as possible to make them aware of the complaint and to make a genuine effort to try to resolve the issue.

A problem or complaint may initially be raised verbally or in writing, and in all cases, the outcome or resolution being sought should be indicated clearly. The Department or Service will then respond to the student.

Students must try to resolve the situation locally before their complaint can be formally investigated.

Stage two: formal complaint

Formal Complaints must be submitted via our online Student Complaint Form.

Once a Formal Complaint has been received, an appointed Investigating Officer will investigate the complaint in consultation with the individuals they consider relevant, and the student will be given the opportunity to present their evidence and discuss the case with the Investigating Officer. The Investigating Officer will then write up an investigation report with any recommendations to resolve the issue.

Stage three: review

Stage Three is available as recourse where it is demonstrated to the University Secretary that the outcome at Stage Two is necessary for review.

The University Secretary may deem that a Review request may be eligible for consideration where there is evidence that:

  • There is new evidence that could not have been, or for good reason was not, made available at the time of the investigation at Stage Two and that sufficient evidence remains that the complaint warrants further consideration
  • Evidence can be produced of significant procedural error on the part of the University in investigating the complaint, and that sufficient evidence remains that the complaint warrants further consideration.

If a Review Hearing is granted by the University Secretary, an independent Panel, the members of which will have had no previous involvement with the case, will consider the request for Review and any statements of papers submitted by the student or Investigating Officer. The Panel will then decide whether to uphold the decision of the Investigating Officer, and may make recommendations for further action to resolve the issue.

Student complaints procedure

You may wish to download the Student Complaints Procedure for your information. It is important that you read this in full and are clear on the content prior to submitting a formal complaint, please refer to above resources for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the Complaints Procedure take?

Usually, we aim to complete Stage Two the Complaints Procedure within 20 working days, and aim more generally to have completed Stages Two and Three within 90 calendar days. Depending on the availability of staff and the complexity of the complaint however there may be circumstances that delay the process, but we will always aim to update the student of any delays as soon as possible.

Who will be assigned to investigate my complaint?

When we receive a Formal Complaint we assign an Investigating Officer who has previously had no involvement in the complaint. Our Investigating Officers are senior members of staff who volunteer to investigate complaints, and they are all given ongoing training and support to ensure that they can complete their investigations to the highest standard.

Can my parents or guardian complain on my behalf?

The University’s relationship is with the student, irrespective of who may pay the student’s fees. Therefore we don’t normally allow parents or guardians to complain on a student’s behalf. In rare and exceptional cases, students may nominate a third party to represent them during the procedure, but we will still expect students to engage with the process and assist with the investigation when requested. Often first-hand accounts are very helpful to the investigation and speaking directly with the students can ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

In all cases, students are expected to complete the relevant forms in submitting their complaint themselves. 

 

I don’t think my assessment was marked fairly - can I complain and have the assignment remarked or grade changed?

The Complaints Procedure is unable to recommend that assignments are remarked or that grades are changed. Any decisions concerning academic decisions must be considered under the Appeals Policy. Students may complain about the circumstances surrounding the assignment, but cannot request any changes to their grade as a desired outcome.

 

Are there any scenarios where you would allow Stage One to be bypassed?

In rare cases where the University deems a matter to be of a very serious nature, and that informal resolution is not appropriate, we will permit the matter to enter the procedure at Stage Two.

 

How can I submit a request for Review or contact the University Secretary?

The request for a review must be in writing and for the attention of the University Secretary. These should be submitted to the ComplaintsOfficer@Bathspa.ac.uk address in the first instance.

What happens if even after exhausting the Bath Spa University Complaints Procedure I’m still not happy with the outcome?

If you’ve exhausted the Bath Spa University internal Complaints Procedure your complaint can be reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) who is an independent body who review complaint decisions from higher education providers. Further information on how to complain to the OIA can be found in our Complaints Procedure document.

 

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact our Complaints Officer via complaintsofficer@bathspa.ac.uk.

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