Student Complaint Resolution Procedure

KLC's Student Complaint Resolution Procedure
Version 1.5

Introduction

KLC is committed to providing the best possible student experience for all concerned. Should a student have any concerns relating to the content / delivery of the course, or an incident, they should contact their student representative or a member of staff in the first place. KLC seeks to ensure that any problem can be raised, investigated and resolved courteously, promptly and fairly and as far as possible they should be resolved quickly and simply in the interests of all concerned.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

  • Accessible - we aim to be responsive to the needs of students and provide clear information, advice and support.
  • Clear - we will give a clear definition of a complaint and explain the complaints process in clear language which is easy to understand and well signposted.
  • Proportionate - we will aim to resolve any complaint as early as possible whether by informal local resolution, formal action or mediation.
  • Timely - we will give clear time limits in which to bring complaints and will identify those complaints that require swift resolution. We will normally complete all complaints within 90 calendar days of the start of the formal complaint (i.e. Stage 2).
  • Fair - we will ensure that all staff involved in decision making are independent, trained and resourced and that each party is given an equal opportunity to present their case. Students will not be disadvantaged as a result of bringing a complaint
  • Independent - decisions will be taken by people without either perceived or actual conflicts of interest at all stages
  • Confidential - a complaint will be treated with an appropriate level of confidentiality and your complaint will normally only be disclosed to those involved in its investigation.
  • Action taken - KLC will ensure appropriate action is taken and will use the process to improve the student experience

WHAT IS A COMPLAINT?

For the purpose of this procedure, a student complaint is defined as 'an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more students about KLC's action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of KLC'. Examples of complaints include:

  • failure by KLC to provide a satisfactory service
  • the quality of facilities or learning resources
  • misleading or incorrect information in prospectuses or promotional material and other information provided by KLC
  • concerns about the delivery of a programme, teaching or administration
  • poor quality of facilities, learning resources or services
  • complaints involving other organisations or contractors providing a service on behalf of KLC

FRIVOLOUS OR VEXATIOUS COMPLAINTS

KLC may reject any complaint without full consideration if it is considered frivolous or vexatious. Examples of what KLC considers to be frivolous or vexatious include:

  • complaints which are obsessive, harassing, or repetitive
  • insistence on pursuing unmeritorious complaints
  • seeking unrealistic or unreasonable outcomes
  • insistence on pursuing what may be meritorious complaints in an unreasonable manner
  • complaints which are designed to cause disruption or annoyance
  • demands for redress which lack any serious purpose or value.

If KLC considers your complaint falls into this category, you will be advised that your complaint will not be considered further. You will be given the opportunity to appeal against this decision by submitting reasons to the Director of Studies, or Deputy Director of Studies within 14 calendar days of the date on the letter.

REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS

Where you have declared a disability to KLC, KLC will endeavour to ensure that information is available to you at all stages of the procedure in appropriate formats, and where needed, reasonable adjustments will be made to the complaints procedure.

THE USE OF THE STUDENT COMPLAINTS RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

KLC has a clear 4 stage Student Complaints Procedure to address informal and formal concerns or complaints. In brief this consists of:

Stage 1 Informal Discussion
Stage 2 Early Resolution Stage
Stage 3 Mediation Stage
Stage 4 Review Stage

Thereafter KLC will issue a 'Completion of Procedures' letter enabling the student, if still dissatisfied, to take their complaint about KLC to the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) without the involvement of the University of Brighton.

Where the complaint relates to provision by the University of Brighton, links to the decision of an Examination Board, or concerns academic standards, the student must, in the first instance, use the complaints procedures of KLC. Once KLC's complaints procedure has been exhausted, then if a student remains dissatisfied with the outcome, they may proceed to submit a Stage 4 Request for Review to the University. This is the final stage of review and thereafter a “completion of procedures” letter will be issued within 28 days enabling the student, if still dissatisfied, to bring their complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

  1. Informal discussion
    • The majority of concerns raised by a student can and should be resolved informally so that students may continue with their studies without worry
    • Students are encouraged to raise issues through student representative or with a member of staff
    • Student representatives attend regular meetings where issues of concern can be raised and they should seek to resolve the problem without the need for formal action by the student
  2. Stage 2, Early Resolution
    • If a complaint cannot be resolved to the student's satisfaction through informal discussion, a Stage 2 student complaints form (obtained from Reception or on the SSS) should be completed and sent to the Course Leader
    • The Course Leader will decide whether there is (a) reasonable justification for the complaint or (b) there is none, or (c) the complaint is not within this procedure and requires to be dealt with in another way
      If the complaint is found to be justified, the student will be informed of any action which has been taken, or will be taken, in order to remedy the complaint.
  3. Stage 3, Mediation
    • If a student is still not satisfied with the outcome of Stage 2, they should contact the Students Complaints Officer. It is important that you give sufficient detail of the complaint as it will be considered by this member of staff without prior knowledge of the matter.
    • On receipt of the Stage 2 Complaint Form, the Students Complaints Officer who has no prior involvement in the subject of your complaint will check that you have correctly completed your form and attached any relevant documentation. She or he will discuss the complaint with you and will carry out appropriate reviews before reaching a decision and/or recommendation of remedial action, which will be notified to you in writing usually within 30 calendar days. If it is not possible to complete the review within this timescale you will be informed of the delay.
  4. Stage 4, Review
    • If the student remains dissatisfied with the outcome of stage 3, then they may refer the matter to the Principal
    • Student to complete Stage 4 Review Form (obtained from Reception or on the SSS) and submit to Principal. The Stage 4 Review will be conducted by the Principal or the Director of Studies or Deputy Director of Studies.
    • Your form should specify the reasons why you believe your complaint should be reviewed, which must fall within one or more of the following categories: (i) proper procedures were not followed; (ii) the outcome was unreasonable; (iii) new material has come to light which you were unable for valid reason to provide earlier in the process.
    • The Stage 4 form must be sent to the Principal within 14 calendar days of receipt of the outcome letter for the Mediation Stage 3.
    • The Stage 4 Review will not consider the issues afresh or involve a further investigation but will consider whether the relevant procedures were followed during the mediation stage (including the giving of clear reasons why the complaint was rejected at the Mediation Stage). If the Review Stage is upheld then the complaint will be returned either to the original Students Complaints Officer to consider the further material or to a Students Complaints Officer not previously involved in the matter.

REFERRAL TO THE OFFICE OF THE INDEPENDENT ADJUDICATOR

Within 28 days of completion of KLC's complaints procedures, KLC will issue a 'Completion of Procedures Letter' to you confirming that the internal complaints procedures have been exhausted. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of KLC's internal complaints procedures, then you may refer the matter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) within 3 months of the date of issue of the Completion of Procedures Letter. Further information can be obtained from the OIA website www.oiahe.org.uk.