Results Consortium Student Complaints Policy and Procedure
To deliver its strategic policy aims of excellence in: Learning, Teaching and Assessment and the Student Experience, Results Consortium has a policy of complying with the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. The use of a documented Complaints Policy and Procedure is part of Results’ planned compliance with that code. In particular when managing complaints from students, as described in this procedure, compliance with Quality Expectation Q5 and Q6 from the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. Good practice as described by the by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education was also considered when developing this policy and process (OIA Guidance).
The UK Quality Code sets out the following Expectations:
Q5: The provider actively engages students, individually and collectively, in the quality of their educational experience.
Q6: The provider has fair and transparent procedures for handling complaints and appeals which are accessible to all students.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) Guidance
OIA guidance includes guidance on the following principles; accessibility, clarity, proportionality, timeliness, fairness, confidentiality and improving the student experience.
2.1 The Results Consortium (Results) complaint process has four possible stages:
STAGE 1: Early Resolution
STAGE 2: Formal Conciliation
STAGE 3: Formal Review by the Director of Studies
STAGE 4: Complaints Review Panel
2.2 Programme Leaders are responsible for implementation of stages 1 and 2 of this procedure.
2.3 The Results Consortium Director of Studies will be responsible for implementation of stages 3 and 4 of this procedure.
2.4 Any Results staff member receiving a complaint from a student must report this to the relevant Results Programme Leader. Where possible every reasonable effort should be made to resolve the complaint by the Results Module Tutor or Programme Leader directly involved with the matter. This is STAGE 1: Early resolution.
2.5 The Results Programme Leader will review the complaint with the student, face-to-face, by telephone or online. Complaints should always be taken seriously, unless or until evidence is provided that the complaint is not considered worthy of further investigation. At this stage, a meeting, face-to-face, by meeting or telephone conference should take place and a record of the meeting maintained on a Results Complaint Stage 1 (Local Resolution) Outcome Form (HEQA11a). Present at the meeting will be the Programme Leader, a second member of Results staff, the complainant and a peer or trusted adviser that the complainant may wish to accompany her/him. This is STAGE 1: Early Resolution.
2.6 For complaints that cannot be resolved through items 2.4 and 2.5 in this procedure, the student may elect to lodge a formal complaint. In this case the student should complete Results Student Complaint Stage 2 Form (HEQA11b). The form will be made available in paper format from Results’ administration offices and electronically via the Results Virtual Learning Environment.
This is STAGE 2: Formal Conciliation
It will be the responsibility of the Results Programme Leader to offer Information, Advice and Guidance to the complainant, including where to access a Student Complaint Stage 2 Form for the STAGE 2 process and the current address to send the completed form to.
2.7 Results Internal Quality Assurance staff will acknowledge receipt of a Stage 2 form within three working days of receipt. Internal Quality Assurance staff will review the Student Complaint Stage 2 Form and firstly consider if the complaint is eligible for consideration under this procedure. A Results manager will be appointed to lead the investigation.
2.8 The complainant will be given a single point of contact who will be leading the investigation (the relevant manager).
2.9 The manager leading the investigation may consider the following options when handling a stage 2 complaint:
2.9.1 Investigative meetings (students attending these may include a peer or trusted adviser in the meeting)
2.9.2 Mediation using an impartial and independent third party agreed to by both the student and the Results Director of Studies
2.10 Due to the variety and differing complexity of possible student complaints it is not possible to specify a timescale between receipt of a stage 2 complaint and communication of the outcome of this stage of complain to the student. Every effort will be made by Results to complete the process in a timely manner with the expectation that the process will take no more than two calendar months.
2.11 The Results manager leading the investigation will communicate the outcome of the stage 2 complaint to the student in writing giving a clear description of the investigation, its findings and the rationale for each finding (the written notice of outcome – stage 2). This should be effected by a recorded method (for example email).
2.12 Where a student is satisfied with the outcome of the stage 2 complaint or where no request for a Formal Review by the Director of Studies (stage 3) is received within four weeks of the written notice of outcome, then the matter will be considered closed.
2.13 The Results Programme Leader will maintain a log of all complaints reported to him/her and inform the Director of Studies of all complaints when they are resolved at STAGE 1, or when the complainant informs Results that they have elected to progress to STAGE 2 of the process. All complaints logged and details of resolutions will be reported annually to the Governing Body by the Director of Studies.
2.14 Should the student be dissatisfied with the stage 2 complaint outcome, they may request a Formal Review by the Director of Studies (Stage 3). This should be done by contacting the manager that led the stage 2 complaint investigation in writing. Such a request should clearly describe the reason(s) for requesting a review and must be made within four weeks of receipt of the written notice of the outcome for stage 2. The manager contacted will inform the Director of Studies and notify the student of receipt of the stage 3 request (Formal Review by the Director of Studies) within three working days of receipt of the student’s request.
2.15 The stage 3 complaint process (Formal Review by the Director of Studies) may only be invoked following the completion of the stage 2 process. Requests for reviews where the stage 2 process has not been completed will not be accepted.
2.16 The Director of Studies will consider the information collected before and during the stage 2 investigation and recorded as part of the process. He/she will consider whether the complaints policy has been correctly followed and whether the outcome was reasonable.
2.17 New material evidence will not normally be admitted for consideration at stage 3 of the process. Where the student can provide valid reasons why new evidence was not made available earlier in the process, the Director of Studies may include it in the review.
2.18 Where the Director of Studies was directly involved in the stage 2 investigation, the matter will be considered by an alternative senior manager within Results.
2.19 The Director of Studies or his/her deputy (see 2.18) will communicate the outcome of his/her review to the student concerned in writing. Every effort will be made to complete the process in a timely manner with the expectation that the process will take no more than two calendar months.
2.20 Where a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the Formal Review by the Director of Studies, they may write to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Results and request a Complaint Review Panel. The CEO will only consider such requests where the Formal Conciliation (stage 2) and the Review by Director of Studies (stage 3) have been completed and the student is in receipt of written outcomes of investigations and reviews. The student request for a Complaint Review Panel will be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt.
2.21 A Complaint Review Panel will be convened by the CEO and its decisions on the complaint handling process and complaint outcomes will be communicated in a Completion of Procedures letter which will include details of further steps the student may take if he/she remains dissatisfied. The Complaint Review Panel will be convened by the CEO and will include the CEO, other members of staff that the CEO believes appropriate to co-opt onto the panel, plus, at the CEO’s discretion if deemed appropriate, an independent third party. The Complaint Review Panel will have completed its review and a Completion of Procedures letter will be sent to the student within two calendar months of receipt of a valid student request (see item 2.20).
2.22 Where the student has received a Completion of Procedures letter and is dissatisfied with the outcome, he/she may request that the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) examines the complaint.
2.23 For Pearson awarded qualifications, following the OIA process does not prevent students from pursuing a complaint with Pearson and they may choose whichever route(s) they feel is the most appropriate.
2.24 Pearson information about complaints is available at:
2.25 Students are advised that the OIA should be considered as the service of last resort and cannot normally examine complaints where:
2.25.1 The complaint has not been progressed through all stages of the organisation’s Student Complaints Procedure (as described above).
2.25.2 The complaint refers to matters more than three years old
2.25.3 More than 12 months have passed since the student received the Completion of Procedures letter
2.25.4 Matters have been, or are being considered in court
2.26 The OIA’s rules and guidelines are available on its website: www.oiahe.org.uk