Information for students

  • Students on the Student Complaint Procedure should read the following guidance, and also refer to the additional information and useful documents further below.

    Guidance for students on the Student Complaint Procedure

    Before engaging in the formal complaint procedure, you may wish to discuss the issue informally with an appropriate member of staff in the first instance and you are encouraged to do so. If you speak to someone in person (or by phone or email), you may get the chance to have a comprehensive dialogue, raise concerns fully, receive answers and if possible, some remedies. 

    If the above is not appropriate, or you are unhappy with the response, you will need to formalise your complaint through the Student Complaint Procedure. While these notes explain in general how to do this, the specific details are set out in the Student Complaint Procedure itself. You are advised to read the Student Complaint Procedure and, if necessary, seek support from the Brookes Union Advice Service which can provide confidential advice, independent of the University.

    The University makes a very clear distinction between a concern and a complaint.

    • A concern is something that you are unhappy about and wish to bring to the University's attention. The University will consider what you say and will usually respond to you the first time that you raise an issue as a concern but, if it does not or if you are not happy with the response that you get, there is nothing further that you can do about it while it remains at the level of a concern.
    • A complaint is a specific issue regarding the provision of a course of study, e.g. teaching and academic facilities. It also covers the provision of other, non-academic services, e.g. transport,accommodation, resources. The University must respond to you and you have the right to pursue the issue if you are dissatisfied with the response.

    While there is no fixed time limit within which you must first raise a concern or complaint, you should be aware that if you do not do so within two months of the issue or circumstance arising, it is likely that your complaint will be dismissed without further investigation or consideration for being too late. Once you have submitted a formal complaint, there are timescales for both the University and you to comply with. See the University Regulations for more detail.

    There are a number of circumstances in which you cannot use the Student Complaint Procedure. In general, this is either where the University does not have any control over the facilities or service in question or where there is an alternative procedure or mechanism through which a particular type of problem can be raised.

    Although a student may obtain advice and guidance relating to an issue, a complaint will normally only be processed if submitted directly by the student and not by someone acting on their behalf. However, if the student feels representation is necessary they may apply for this by writing to the Student Disputes Officer including:

    • why it will be necessary
    • who will represent the student and
    • giving permission for the University to discuss all confidential matters with the representative

    All complaints must be set out on a Complaints and Appeals Form (PDF), which is available on this website and from the Student Disputes Team. Where the issue you are raising is clearly serious, staff are advised to refuse to respond to you unless you raise the matter as a complaint rather than a concern. Similarly, if a member of staff has tried to resolve a concern but, after an exchange of correspondence, has not managed to do so, they are again advised to refuse to respond further unless you raise the issue as a complaint. In both these cases, they will say that this is what they are doing and it is then up to you whether you wish to let the issue drop or pursue it as a complaint.

    If you wish to raise an issue in confidence, you are able to do so. In fact, if you raise a concern with a member of staff, they need your permission before they can discuss it with anyone else. However, you should be aware that there is often little that can be done if you do not give this permission. In any event, all concerns and complaints will remain confidential to those people who are directly involved in their investigation and determination.

    Additional information and useful documents