C1.1.6 The Academic Conduct Procedure

  • 6.1.1 All staff or students who become aware of a potential breach of the Academic Conduct regulations are required to report the matter to the Student Investigation and Resolution Team, providing the necessary information and any supporting evidence via a Conduct Report Form.  

    6.1.2 The referral to the Conduct Officer should be made as soon as possible, preferably within 5 working days of the discovery of the potential breach.

    6.1.3 The Student Investigation and Resolution Team will decide whether the case is appropriate for the Academic Conduct Procedure.  

    6.1.4 If it is agreed that there is a potential case to answer, the case will be referred to a Conduct Officer, who will investigate the case. 

    6.1.5 If there is no potential case to answer, the case will be closed. The outcome may be communicated to the reporting person. 

    6.1.6 If, upon receiving the case, the Conduct Officer decides there is no case to answer, the matter will be closed. The outcome may be communicated to the reporting person.

    6.1.7 The Conduct Officer will contact the reported student to inform them of how the matter is to be taken forward within 10 working days of the referral.

    6.1.8 If the matter occurs in an invigilated exam, it will be dealt with by the Conduct Officer for Examinations.

    6.2.1 The Conduct Officer shall carry out an initial investigation at their discretion but following the principles detailed in the Conduct Officers’ Handbook. Investigations may include interviews, gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses and preparing an investigation. 

    6.2.2 Depending on the circumstances they may decide to take one or more of the following actions:

    6.2.2.1 Arrange an Interview with the student, or anyone relevant to the case. The Conduct Officer will write to the student, giving at least 5 working days’ notice of the interview 

    6.2.2.2 Decide there is no case to answer.

    6.2.2.3 Decide to refer the case to the Standards of Conduct: Fitness to Practice Regulations

    6.2.2.4 Give a fixed penalty as outlined in the Fixed Penalty Policy (Appendix B);

    6.2.2.5 Refer the matter to be heard by the University Conduct Committee.

    6.3.1 The exact arrangements will be organised by the Conduct Officer.  All students will have the right to: 

    • Be accompanied by a friend or other person who is not acting in a legal capacity 
    • Make representations/comments about any procedural issues
    • Hear the case and ask about the allegations made against them
    • Access all the evidence against them, excluding advice that is legally privileged,  `or information that is confidential and not directly relevant to the allegations made in the case all the evidence against them
    • State their case, including liability, mitigation, evidence, witness testimony
    • Question any witnesses and challenge any submissions made and/or evidence produced by the Conduct Officer.

    6.3.2 The Conduct Officer may be accompanied by a note-taker during the interview.

    6.3.3 At the end of the conduct interview, the Conduct Officer will normally state the decision about breach of the regulations (if any), liability, and impose a penalty within the range delegated to them if applicable.

    6.3.4 On occasion, the Conduct Officer may reconvene the interview, for example, where more information is required. 

    6.3.5 The Conduct Officer may give penalties appropriate to the breach up to and including 5.2.6. The maximum fine which a Conduct Officer can impose is £100 and the maximum period of unpaid community service is 10 hours.

    6.3.6 The Conduct Officer may refer the case to a University Conduct Committee if they decide a breach of the regulations has been committed, but the penalty they feel is appropriate is not one which they are permitted to award (5.2.7 to 5.2.11).

    6.3.7 The student will receive written confirmation of the decision, any penalty and an explanation of the appeal process where applicable, normally within 5 working days from the date of the Interview and within 25 working days of the referral to the Conduct Officer.  

    6.4.1 The University Conduct Committee will normally consist of the following:

    • A Chair (a trained member of Senior Staff)
    • A member of the Student Investigation and Resolution Team
    • A trained representative of the student body.

    6.4.1.1 A member of the Student Investigation and Resolution Team or nominee will act as Secretary to the Committee.  A reported student will normally be given at least 10 working days’ notice of the committee date.

    6.4.1.2 The University Conduct Committee will allow:

    The Conduct Officer to: 

    • state their case and provide relevant evidence, including testimony from witnesses; question any witnesses and challenge any submissions made and/or evidence produced by the student
    • to state their recommendation for the outcome of the University Conduct Committee

    The reported student to:

    • state their case and provide relevant evidence, including testimony from witnesses, question any witnesses
    • challenge any submissions or evidence produced by the Conduct Officer
    • be accompanied by a friend, colleague or a legal representative. (See paragraph 8.6)

    Members of the Committee to:

    • question any witnesses and clarify any evidence or statements produced by either party. 

    6.4.1.3 The University Conduct Committee will normally state the decision about breach of the regulations, liability and any penalty during the meeting.  

    6.4.1.4 On occasion, a decision may be taken to reconvene the committee, for example, where more information is required. 

    6.4.1.5 The University Conduct Committee may impose the full range of penalties.  

    6.4.1.6 The student will receive an outcome letter explaining the decision, penalty, next steps and information about making an appeal, if applicable, within 5 working days of the University Conduct Committee.  

    6.5.1 Where the reported student is:

    found to be in minor breach of these regulations by the Conduct Officer and is dissatisfied with the outcome of a conduct interview, penalty or procedure;

    or, 

    found to be in breach of these regulations at the University Conduct Committee and is dissatisfied with the outcome, penalty or procedure;

    they may request that their case is heard by a University Appeal Committee.

    6.5.2 To initiate an Appeal Committee, the student must write to the Student Investigation and Resolution Team within 10 working days from the date of the Conduct Officer outcome letter, or the University Conduct Committee outcome letter, stating which aspect of the decision, penalty or process the reported student disagrees with and on which one (or more) of following grounds:

    6.5.2.1 The student would like to present new evidence that they could not have reasonably produced before the University Conduct Committee;

    6.5.2.2 There was a procedural irregularity;

    6.5.2.3 The decision regarding liability was not fairly or reasonably made;

    6.5.2.4 The penalty is unfairly disproportionate to the breach of regulations. 

    6.5.3 Evidence where appropriate, will be required. 

    6.5.4 The Student Investigation and Resolution Team may do one of the following: 

    • Require clarification of the request, or further documentation before proceeding
    • Not permit the student to go to University Appeal Committee, if the request is late and a valid, substantiated reason for being late is not provided
    • Convene a University Appeal Committee.

    6.5.5 The student will be informed of the decision within 10 working days.

    6.5.6 A student who believes that the decision not to permit the student to go to an Appeal Committee is inappropriate may request that it be reviewed by the Academic Registrar or nominee.

    6.5.7 A student who wishes to request a review by the Academic Registrar or nominee must write to the Student Investigation and Resolution Team, setting out the reasons why they believe the decision was inappropriate within 10 working days of the issue of the decision.

    6.5.8 The Academic Registrar or nominee will review the decision and either uphold the decision or allow the student to proceed to a University  Appeal Committee within 10 working days of receiving the request.  If the Academic Registrar or nominee upholds the decision they will issue the student with a Completion of Procedures Letter.  

    6.6.1 The Appeal Committee membership will consist of:

    • A Chair (a trained member of Senior Staff)
    • Director of Academic and Student Administration (or nominee)
    • A trained representative of the student body.

    6.6.2 Members of the Appeal Committee must be trained in these regulations. They must not have been involved with the case previously. 

    6.6.3 A member of the Student and Investigation and Resolution Team will normally act as Secretary to the committee.  

    6.6.4 The reported student and the Chair of the University Conduct Committee, or the investigating Conduct Officer have the right to attend.

    6.6.5 Unless otherwise determined by the Chair of the Appeal Committee, the appeal shall take the form of a review of the decision of the University Conduct Committee or Conduct Officer. This means that the Appeal Committee shall normally only consider issues raised in the appeal by the reported student. The Committee will allow: 

    • The reported student to state their appeal and provide relevant evidence (including testimony from witnesses), question any witnesses and challenge any submissions or evidence produced by the Conduct Officer 
    • The Chair of the University Conduct Committee to state their case and provide relevant evidence (including testimony from witnesses), question any witnesses and challenge any submissions made and/or evidence produced by the student
    • Members of the Appeal Committee to question any witnesses and clarify any evidence or statements produced by either party.
    • The reported student to be accompanied by a friend, colleague or a legal representative (See paragraph 8.6) 

    6.6.6 The Appeal Committee will normally state its decision as to whether to allow or dismiss the appeal at the hearing. The Appeal Committee may uphold the decision of the University Conduct Committee or the Conduct Officer, refer the case back to the University Conduct Committee or to a new Conduct Officer for a fresh hearing, or reach a different outcome and/or impose an alternative penalty.

    6.6.7 The student will receive an outcome letter, explaining the decision and penalty and will be issued a Completion of Procedures letter.