Providers need to have internal procedures in place to deal with the different things that can happen during a student’s studies. This is not a full list, but these procedures may include processes related to:
- student complaints
- academic appeals
- academic and non-academic disciplinary issues
- fitness to practise
- fitness for study
- breaches of codes of conduct and regulations.
Completion of Procedures Letters
We normally expect students to complete their provider’s internal procedures before they complain to us. This gives the provider the opportunity to investigate and, where appropriate, put things right.
When a student has reached the end of the provider’s procedures and there are no further steps that they can take internally, the provider should issue a Completion of Procedures (COP) Letter in line with our published guidance.
Our Completion of Procedures Letter guidance note explains in more detail when providers need to issue Completion of Procedures Letters and what information should be included.
In exceptional circumstances we might decide to review a complaint even though the student hasn’t completed the provider’s internal procedures or doesn’t have a COP Letter.
Signposting students to our Scheme
It’s important that students know we may be able to independently review their complaint if they are unhappy with the outcome of the provider’s procedures. As well as making sure that they give students a Completion of Procedures Letter when there are no further steps that they can take internally, providers also need to make sure their regulations give clear information about our Scheme. There is guidance on our website to help providers do this.
Good Practice Framework
Our Good Practice Framework (GPF) is a guide to handling complaints and academic appeals in higher education in England and Wales, which was developed in consultation with providers, students’ unions and higher education and complaints handling organisations. The GPF has ten core principles and contains good practice guidance to help providers design and operate internal procedures. A provider’s procedures should be consistent with the guidance and principles set out in the GPF. The various sections of the GPF inform the way we review complaints related to those procedures.
Explore the different sections of our Good Practice Framework. Are your provider’s procedures consistent with the guidance?
Principles of the Good Practice Framework
- Accessible and clear
- Fair, independent and confidential
- Flexible, proportionate and timely
- Improve the student experience
Delivering learning opportunities with others
Some members will be delivering learning opportunities with others. Your provider may deliver courses leading to the award of another provider, or it may be an awarding or validating partner to another provider. The partner provider may also be based in England or Wales, or it may be based overseas. Member providers and their collaborative partners should work together to make sure that students are properly signposted to our Scheme. The procedures should clearly set out whether, when, and how the student can take their complaint or appeal to an awarding partner.
The Delivering learning opportunities with others section of the GPF contains operational good practice guidance on dealing with complaints and appeals when working with others. Our COP Letter guidance note also includes information for providers on issuing COP Letters when delivering learning opportunities with others.