If you're unhappy with a university department or a member of staff the university has a complaints procedure you can follow.
You must raise a complaint within 8 weeks of the incident occurring. If you are no longer a Keele student but are still within the 8 week deadline you can still submit a complaint under this process.
ASK can help you with any stages in the process!
1. Talk to the member of staff
The university encourages you to try to raise any issues with the member of staff concerned. If you don't feel you can do this, or if you're unhappy with the outcome, you can submit a complaint under the formal stages.
2. Submit an Early Resolution complaint
Every department and School has at least one Early Resolution Officer (ERO) to deal with complaints within their department. This stage is designed to give a quick outcome for simple cases and you are expected to start at this stage for most complaints. If you believe it would not be appropriate to submit an ERO complaint you might be able to start your complaint at the next stage but you do need to justify skipping this stage.
You can email the ERO at the relevant department/School ERO email address, which you can find listed on the university's Complaints page in the 'Early Resolution' section. If you're not sure which email address to use you can email email@example.com, who will pass it on to the correct person.
Postgraduate Research students with a complaint about their course should email the general firstname.lastname@example.org email address and the complaint will be passed on.
At this stage you do not need to fill in a form; just email full details of what happened and what outcome you are asking for, remembering to include your full name and student number.
3. Submit a formal complaint
You can submit a formal complaint if you are unhappy with the outcome of the ERO complaint or are able to justify missing that stage. This stage can take several months to resolve your complaint but it will be investigated by someone outside the School/department so you would get a more independent decision.
You must fill in a formal complaint form, which you can find on the university's Complaints page in the 'Making a Formal Complaint' section, and send it to the Complaints team at email@example.com. A full outline of the complaint process, including allocating an investigator and what to expect when you submit a complaint, is also available on that page.
4. Submit a grievance
You can submit a grievance if you're unhappy with the outcome of your formal complaint but you must have grounds. These are:
- There was a procedural irregularity prior to or in the conduct of the complaint investigation.
- There is new evidence that can be substantiated, including extenuating circumstances, which was not known at the time, and may have affected the outcome had it been known and that there is a valid reason for not making it known at the time.
If you don't meet these grounds you could still complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) - please see the next stage.
A grievance must be submitted within 14 calendar days of the date on the formal complaint outcome letter. You must use the appropriate grievance form and submit the form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about grievances, along with the form, is available on the university's Grievance Complaints page.
5. Submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)
If you're not satisfied with your complaint outcome but don't have grounds you can request a Completion of Procedures letter from the university and take your case to the OIA.
If you submit a grievance and are not satisfied with the outcome you can also take your case to the OIA. Your grievance outcome letter will be your Completion of Procedures letter so there is no need to request this.
The OIA runs a free complaints scheme and is independent from the university; the university must abide by its decisions in full.
Their website has information about complaining and there is a leaflet.