Why do students complain and
appeal, and what should we do
about it?
Iain Rowan

Assistant Director of Academic Services
U...
Introduction
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

The difference between complaint and appeal
Who complains and why?
What makes a good (and bad)...
Complaint…or appeal
• What’s the difference?
What type of student is most likely to
complain?
• All data courtesy of the Office of the Independent
Adjudicator (OIA)
• ...
What makes for a bad (or good) complaint?
•
•
•
•
•

Not clear about issue
Not clear about desired outcomes
Irrelevant mat...
Dealing with complaints
• Follow procedure
• The critical importance of evidence, documentation and
good record-keeping
• ...
Dealing with complaints
• Supporting all parties – students, staff, victims and alleged
perpetrators
• Considering the rol...
Responding to complaints

• Address every issue
• Be clear if not upheld why that is
• Be clear on action taken – even if ...
Some complications
•
•
•
•
•
•

Third party involvement
Mental health
Dealing with unacceptable complainant behaviour
Lega...
Sources of support
• The OIA – case studies, annual reports, seminars, good
practice guidance
• The QAA Quality Code Chapt...
Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints
Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints
Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints
Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints
Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints
Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints
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Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints

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  • http://oiahe.org.uk/guidance-good-practice-and-events.aspxhttp://www.qaa.ac.uk/Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Pages/quality-code-B9.aspxhttp://arc.ac.uk/PageInfo.aspx?practitioner-7-Student-Complaints-and-Appeals.htmlhttp://www.valuingcomplaints.org.uk/
  • Development and Skills Conference 2013: Iain rowan - student complaints

    1. 1. Why do students complain and appeal, and what should we do about it? Iain Rowan Assistant Director of Academic Services University of Sunderland
    2. 2. Introduction • • • • • • • The difference between complaint and appeal Who complains and why? What makes a good (and bad) complaint? How should we deal with complaints? Some complications… Sources of support Case studies
    3. 3. Complaint…or appeal • What’s the difference?
    4. 4. What type of student is most likely to complain? • All data courtesy of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) • Taken from their Annual Report 2012 http://oiahe.org.uk/decisions-and-publications/annual-reports.aspx • …so who are the OIA anyway, and what do they do? • ...but my institution is in Scotland or N. Ireland!
    5. 5. What makes for a bad (or good) complaint? • • • • • Not clear about issue Not clear about desired outcomes Irrelevant material included Unevidenced Inflammatory or abusive
    6. 6. Dealing with complaints • Follow procedure • The critical importance of evidence, documentation and good record-keeping • Contemporaneous note-taking • Transparency of evidence • Think about full disclosure…but don’t forget about data protection
    7. 7. Dealing with complaints • Supporting all parties – students, staff, victims and alleged perpetrators • Considering the role of mental health, and the support implications. • Considering the role of disabilities, the DDA, and the implications. • Consider and evaluate risk clearly and without assumptions.
    8. 8. Responding to complaints • Address every issue • Be clear if not upheld why that is • Be clear on action taken – even if not an action which affects that student • Don’t be afraid to use the ‘A word’. • Perceptions of justice
    9. 9. Some complications • • • • • • Third party involvement Mental health Dealing with unacceptable complainant behaviour Legal action Collaborative activity Complaints/appeals
    10. 10. Sources of support • The OIA – case studies, annual reports, seminars, good practice guidance • The QAA Quality Code Chapter B9 • Academic Registrars’ Council Complaints and Appeals Practitioners’ Group Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

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