1The Good Practice Framework: handling complaints and academic appeals sets out core principles and operational good practice for higher education providers in England and Wales. The core principles are: accessibility; clarity; proportionality; timeliness; fairness; independence; confidentiality; and improving the student experience.
2This Section of the Good Practice Framework gives good practice guidance for providers in designing disciplinary procedures and in handling individual cases. It covers:
- academic disciplinary procedures, for dealing with academic misconduct such as plagiarism, contract cheating, cheating in examinations or formal assessments, falsifying data, breaching research or ethics policies, and collusion; and
- non-academic disciplinary procedures, for dealing with misconduct such as antisocial, abusive or threatening behaviour, sexual misconduct, violence, harassment, hate crimes, behaviour likely to bring the provider into disrepute, damage to property or abuse of facilities, causing a health or safety concern, and other behaviour that might also be a criminal offence.
3Higher education providers will have expectations about how students should behave. A provider should set out expected standards of behaviour in its regulations, student codes of conduct, student contracts or other codes of practice. Students on courses leading to a professional qualification may also have to abide by standards of conduct set by professional regulators, and allegations relating to the fitness to practise of such students will normally be dealt with under separate fitness to practise procedures. A provider’s rules and regulations should enable it to take action if standards of behaviour fall below what is expected.
4Providers will normally have separate procedures for dealing with academic and non-academic misconduct. The procedures will normally set out expected standards of behaviour, what types of behaviour are likely to result in the provider taking action, and what action the provider will take. Providers should bring to students’ attention the expected standards of behaviour, and the consequences of breaching those standards, for example in codes of conduct or student charters. Students and staff should also be made aware of the support services available both internally and externally, both for students who are accused of misconduct and those making allegations of misconduct.
5The documents referred to in this Section of the Good Practice Framework, and other useful sources of guidance, are listed under Useful Resources at the end of the Section.