The University is committed to providing an excellent educational experience for our students and high quality services to all other service users of the University.
The University has a duty to maintain and enhance the quality of its provision and to provide an effective system for handling complaints. The University has a Complaints Procedure which allows complainants to raise matters of concern without fear of disadvantage and in the knowledge that privacy and confidentiality will be respected.
We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve our services.
Some matters cannot be handled under the Complaints Procedure (e.g. a challenge to an academic decision should be raised as an academic appeal not a complaint). For more information, see 'Which procedure should I use?'
Complaints will be recorded, along with any action taken. Find information about complaints handled by the University.
Anyone who has followed the University’s Complaints Procedure and remains dissatisfied with the University’s final response may seek Independent External Review of their complaint by contacting the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
How to Make a Complaint
We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve our services.
The University of Glasgow is committed to providing an excellent education and high-quality services to our students from admission to graduation. We also aim to provide high-quality services to all other stakeholders and to maintain good relations with the local community.
This procedure operates in accordance with the University’s Equality & Diversity Policy which requires that complainants will be treated fairly and consistently without discrimination.
Students should be aware that the Complaints Handling Procedure is not the only means of raising concerns with the University. For instance, concerns about the quality or organisation of programmes of study might most effectively be referred in the first instance to the appropriate Staff/Student Committee through the Class/Year Representative or the Students' Representative Council (SRC) representative for the relevant area. Students can also discuss matters informally with the Head of School, Head of the Administrative Department or Support Service, an Adviser of Studies, Supervisor, Course Co-ordinator, College Administrator or other member of staff without invoking the Complaints Handling Procedure.
[The Procedure can be provided in alternative formats - please contact [email protected] if you require assistance.]
If something goes wrong or you are dissatisfied with our services, please tell us. This document describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint. It also tells you about how we will handle your complaint and what you can expect from us.
What is a complaint?
We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.
What can I complain about?
You can complain about things like:
- failure or refusal to provide a service;
- inadequate quality or standard of service, or an unreasonable delay in providing a service;
- the quality of facilities or learning resources;
- dissatisfaction with one of our policies or its impact on the individual (although it is recognised that policy is set at the discretion of the university);
- failure to properly apply law, procedure or guidance when delivering services;
- failure to follow the appropriate administrative process;
- conduct, treatment by or attitude of a member of staff or contractor (except where there are arrangements in place for the contractor to handle the complaint themselves); or
- disagreement with a decision, (except where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision, or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector).
Your complaint may involve more than one University of Glasgow School or service or be about someone working on our behalf.
What can't I complain about?
There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure. These include:
- a request for information or an explanation of policy or practice;
- a response to an invitation to provide feedback through a formal mechanism such as a questionnaire or committee membership;
- a concern about student conduct;
- a routine first-time request for a service;
- a request for compensation only;
- an insurance claim;
- issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal (if you decide to take legal action, you should let us know as the complaint cannot then be considered under this process);
- disagreement with a decision where there is a statutory procedure for challenging that decision (such as for freedom of information and subject access requests), or an established appeals process followed throughout the sector (such as an appeal about an academic decision on assessment or admission);
- a request for information under the Data Protection or Freedom of Information (Scotland) Acts, or the Environmental Information Regulations;
- a grievance by a staff member or a grievance relating to employment or staff recruitment;
- a concern raised internally by a member of staff (which was not about a service they received, such as a whistleblowing concern);
- concerns about services outwith the University’s delegated responsibilities (e.g. conference and accommodation services to commercial clients);
- a concern about a child or an adult’s safety;
- an attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision;
- abuse or unsubstantiated allegations about our University or staff where such actions would be covered by our ; or
- a concern about the actions or service of a different organisation, where we have no involvement in the issue (except where the other organisation is delivering services on our behalf).
If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.
Who can complain?
Anyone who receives, requests or is directly affected by our services can make a complaint to us. This includes the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service (for example, a relative, friend, advocate or adviser). If you are making a complaint on someone else’s behalf, you will normally need their written consent. Please also read the section on Getting help to make your complaint below.
How do I complain?
You can complain in person to our office, by phone, in writing, by email, or via our Complaint Form.
It is easier for us to resolve complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned. Where possible, your concerns should be raised with the relevant staff member, tutor, university representative or school office. Then they can try to address the issue.
When complaining, please tell us:
- your full name and contact details;
- as much as you can about the complaint;
- what has gone wrong; and
- what outcome/resolution you are seeking.
How long do I have to make a complaint?
Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:
- the event you want to complain about; or
- finding out that you have a reason to complain.
In some circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why. We will apply these time limits with discretion, considering the seriousness of the issue, the availability of relevant records and staff involved, how long ago the events occurred, and the likelihood that an investigation will lead to a practical benefit for the complainant or useful learning for the institution.
What happens when I have complained?
We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint. Our complaints procedure has two stages.
Stage 1: Frontline response
We aim to respond to complaints quickly (where possible, when you first tell us about the issue). This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve the problem.
We will give you our decision at stage 1 in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If you are not satisfied with the response we give at this stage, we will tell you what you can do next. If you choose to, you can take your complaint to stage 2. You must normally ask us to consider your complaint at stage 2 either:
- within six months of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain; or
- within two months of receiving your stage 1 response (if this is later).
In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a stage 2 complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
Stage 2: Investigation
Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those where the complainant remains dissatisfied after stage 1 and those that clearly require investigation, and so are handled directly at this stage.
When using stage 2:
- we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days;
- we will confirm our understanding of the complaint we will investigate and what outcome you are looking for;
- we will try to resolve your complaint where we can (in some cases we may suggest using an alternative complaint resolution approach, such as mediation); and
- where we cannot resolve your complaint, we will give you a full response as soon as possible, normally within 20 working days.
If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will tell you our revised time limits and keep you updated on progress.
What if I'm still dissatisfied?
After we have given you our final decision, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it.
The SPSO are an independent organisation that investigates complaints. They are not an advocacy or support service (but there are other organisations who can help you with advocacy or support).
You can ask the SPSO to look at your complaint if:
- you have gone all the way through the [university]'s complaints handling procedure;
- it is less than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about; and
- the matter has not been (and is not being) considered in court.
The SPSO will ask you to complete a complaint form and provide a copy of our final response to your complaint. You can do this online at www.spso.org.uk/complain/form or call them on Freephone 0800 377 7330.
You may wish to get independent support or advocacy to help you progress your complaint. See the section on Getting help to make your complaint below.
The SPSO’s contact details are:
99 McDonald Road
(if you would like to visit in person, you must make an appointment first)
Their freepost address is:
Getting help to make your complaint
We understand that you may be unable or reluctant to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service. We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your consent to complain for you.
In order for us to accept a complaint from someone acting on your behalf, you must confirm the name of the person you are consenting to making the complaint for you and confirm that you are aware they may be given full detail on any matters we consider relevant to the complaint, as part of our response. We will not fully communicate with anyone making a complaint on behalf of someone else until we are satisfied we have an appropriate level of consent from the person they are making the complaint on behalf of.
Useful contact details:
There are a variety of support services available to students:
- Reach Out: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/reachout/
- Student Support Services: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/supportservices/
- Safety, health and wellbeing available here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/safetyhealth/
There are a number of support services available which can provide helpful support to those who wish to pursue a complaint with the University.
- The SRC Advice Centre is an advice, information and representation service provided by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) for all Glasgow University students. The Advice Centre offers free and confidential advice.
- Information on harassment and bullying is provided in the Dignity at Work and Study Policy.
- International students may seek advice from the International Student Adviser.
- Research students may seek advice from their Graduate School Administrator.
We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community. In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help you access and use our services. If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another language or format, such as large font, or Braille, please contact us.
Please contact us by the following means:
If you would like to speak to a member of the team, please email: [email protected] and we can arrange to speak to you.