We often receive personal information about individuals other than the student who is making the complaint. For example, students may tell us about events in their family which affected their studies; or they may refer to other students in connection with their complaint.
Most of the complaints which we review will involve us looking at information about members of staff at a higher education provider acting in their professional capacity.
The information we have will depend on what the parties to the complaint send us. It will usually include all information considered by the provider in making its final decision. For example, we might see copies of email correspondence between a student and their supervisor; we might see information about a student’s family member being in hospital.
We treat all personal information respectfully, and with attention to security. We won't use any of this information to make decisions about those individuals. We only use this personal information if it is relevant to make a decision about the complaint which has been made to us. We don't normally recommend that providers take any action about any other individuals mentioned in the process of our review, whether they are members of staff or other students.
You can help us protect the personal data of other people when you send us information about your complaint. For example, you can check with that person whether they are happy for you to send their information to us. You don't usually need to go into detail; for example, you can say "a member of my family was seriously ill" rather than "My father was being treated for heart failure". You can anonymise the information which you send to us, for example, "Student A told me that she had seen Student B copying my essay".
The providers which are members of our Scheme have their own separate legal obligations towards handling personal information and should not send us personal data which is not necessary for our review.
We usually share everything one party says about a complaint with the other party. But if this includes sensitive personal data about other people, we may decide to redact, anonymise, pseudonymise or summarise the information. If you are not sure whether you should send us some information about someone else, you can contact the case-handler who is looking at it or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have not complained to us but think we may have personal data about you, you have the same rights to access it, to ask us to correct it, or remove it, as the students who have complained to us. Please get in touch with us at email@example.com. It is helpful if you can tell us what information you think we have. For example, "I am a member of staff at X provider and think you have information about me from a complaint in 2017 about z course" or "I was a housemate of [named student] who complained to you last year about events I was involved in".