Submitting a complaint

Before submitting your complaint

  • A complaint will not normally be accepted if submitted more than 28 calendar days (four weeks) after the issue arose unless there was good reason why the issue could not have been raised sooner.
  • When submitting a complaint it is important to include all relevant points in chronological order. Unnecessary detail or unclear information could prolong the time taken to consider the complaint.
  • Be clear and realistic about the outcome you are seeking. It will be more difficult to address your complaint if your goal is unclear, or if you are asking for something that is not possible.
  • Details of a complaint may need to be shared with relevant colleagues in order for a full investigation to take place, and individuals named in a complaint will be made aware of the allegations and have the opportunity to give their version of events.
  • Frivolous, malicious, or unreasonably persistent complaints will not be accepted. The University reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action against anyone considered to have made such a complaint.

Submitting a complaint

The University has a three stage complaint procedure to provide a clear route for making a complaint.

The complaints procedure has been designed to be flexible and there may be some instances where the Student Casework Team determine that it is appropriate to bypass one of the three stages. For example, a complaint may go straight from Stage One to Stage Three, or be considered immediately under Stage Two where early resolution is not possible or suitable due to the character, complexity or seriousness of the case. 

The complaint procedure information below outlines the three stages and the anticipated timescales involved.

UWE Bristol students undertaking an apprenticeship can forward details of complaints  directly  to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Apprenticeship Service Support team on 08000 150 600 or

Complaint stages

  1. Step 1

    If you are dissatisfied with a UWE Bristol provision or service and wish to make a complaint, the first step of the complaint procedure is to raise awareness of the problem and to discuss it, either in person or via email, with the relevant staff in the college or service. If you are unsure who this is, please contact InfoPoint or email

    Submitting a Stage One complaint

    Complaints will not normally be accepted if submitted more than 28 calendar days (four weeks) after the issue arose. Include as much relevant information as possible, including the outcome you are hoping to achieve, but remember that unnecessary detail can be confusing and could prolong the process.

    Stage One process

    The person receiving the Stage One complaint will aim to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. If, for some reason, there is a delay in responding to you, an update on the progress made will be provided by the person handling the complaint.

    Stage One response

    The Stage One response should normally be made in writing and should include information on the 'next steps' for you to take if you remain dissatisfied.

    Read more about Stage One complaints

  2. Step 2

    It is anticipated that the majority of issues can be resolved informally at Stage One; however, if you are unhappy with the Stage One response you may feel it appropriate to submit a formal Stage Two complaint for consideration by the Student Casework team. Students may wish to seek independent support and advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

    Submitting a Stage Two complaint

    The Stage Two complaint should be submitted via the Stage Two complaint form.

    Provide as much necessary detail as you can, including the steps taken at Stage One and documentary evidence where possible. Complaints will not normally be accepted if submitted more than 28 days (four weeks) after the Stage One response has been received.

    Please email the completed form to the Student Casework team at Our telephone number is +44 (0)117 32 83371 if you need to speak to a member of the team.

    Stage Two process

    The Student Casework Team will acknowledge receipt of the Stage Two complaint within three working days. The complaint will be allocated to a caseworker who will aim to investigate and respond within 42 calendar days (six  weeks).

    Stage Two outcome

    The Stage Two decision will be explained in a letter and sent to the address provided on the Stage Two form. It will include information regarding the 'next steps' to take if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome.

    Read more about Stage Two complaints

  3. Step 3

    Stage Three of the complaint procedure involves a review and final consideration of the case by the Student Casework Team Manager or other senior manager. Stage Three should normally only take place following the completion of Stage Two.

    Submitting a Stage Three complaint

    The Stage Three complaint review should be submitted via the Stage Three complaints form. If you have no access to the internet, please contact (tel: +44 (0)117 32 83371) for the appropriate form, within 28 days (four weeks) of the date of the Stage Two response. Please provide clear reasons as to why you remain dissatisfied. Students may also wish to seek independent support and advice from the Students' Union Advice Centre.

    Stage Three acknowledgement

    The Student Casework Team will acknowledge receipt of the Stage Three complaint within three working days.

    Stage Three process

    The Student Casework Team Manager will review the complaint and will confirm if it meets the criteria for a review within 14 days (two weeks). If the complaint meets the criteria and it is not felt necessary to carry out a full new investigation the Student Casework Team Manager will aim to respond within 42 days (six weeks).

    Stage Three response

    The Stage Three response will be provided within a 'Completion of Procedures' letter, this letter concludes UWE Bristol's complaint procedure. If you are a current or (recently) former UWE Bristol student, the outcome letter will also provide information on how to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator if you remain dissatisfied.

    Read more about Stage Three complaints


Where a complaint is found to be justified or partly justified, the outcome will depend heavily upon the accepted grounds of complaint. Where the University is found to have made a mistake or fallen short of reasonable expectations, an apology will be given, the mistake rectified where appropriate, and actions taken to prevent the same mistake happening again.

There will be some instances in which it would be counter-productive to instigate a long drawn-out investigation, and instead energy will be put into finding a way forward which is acceptable to all concerned.

It is important to note that a complaint may not be accepted if the remedy sought is beyond the power of the University to deliver.