Submitting a Stage One complaint

The first stage of the complaint procedure involves raising awareness of the problem, either by e-mail or verbally, and discussing it with the relevant staff in the college or service.

The University expects that the majority of issues can be resolved informally through normal contacts and discussion between staff, students and other interested parties without the need to instigate formal procedures.

Who should I contact?

An issue should initially be raised through someone close to its origin (lecturer, module leader, award leader, head of college, relevant administrator, person responsible for a particular service, Student Representative etc) or taken to a Student Support Adviser (in the case of a complaint relating to a college) or the Reception Point of the Service concerned (in the case of a University service department). If you are unsure of whom to contact, please ask at one of the Information Points or email

A complaint may initially be raised verbally or by e-mail, and should indicate the outcome being sought. A student complainant may wish to consult the Students' Union Advice Centre for advice.


A complaint should be raised as soon as possible after the actions/lack of actions which prompted it; the greater the time delay from an action/lack of action to submission of the complaint, the more difficult it will be for the complaint to be thoroughly investigated. Complaints will not normally be accepted if submitted more than 28 days (four weeks) after the issue arose unless there was good reason why the issue could not have been raised sooner.

If an immediate solution cannot be found and further investigation is required, the person receiving the complaint should acknowledge receipt within three working days or as soon as is practically possible (recognising that if a complaint is addressed to an individual, that person won’t always be immediately available), giving an indication of the likely timescale for a full response to be given.

What should I expect from a Stage One response?

In instances where a complaint covers more than one area of the University (e.g. because its location is not clear cut or because it covers more than one college/service), the person first receiving the complaint will ensure that responsibility for investigation and response is agreed, and will liaise with a third party if necessary to determine this.

The response should normally be in writing; even if the original complaint was raised verbally. The response will include information on the steps to be taken if the complainant remains dissatisfied.

Next steps

If you feel the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction you may wish to make a Stage Two complaint.