CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE - COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCEDURE As you are aware, the University is coordinating its response to the effects of COVID-19 on its day to day business. This includes complaints handling. During this unprecedented time, the University will continue to receive complaints. However, given the circumstances, these may take longer to handle than usual due to resource implications so some flexibility on the deadlines will be expected. The University will try to keep you updated on the progress of your complaint as appropriate. The SPSO (the governing body for complaints in Scotland) have issued their guidance regarding the handling of complaints during this time. The University's position follows this guidance. This can be viewed at: https://www.spso.org.uk/news-and-media/covid-19-update We appreciate your support and understanding at this challenging time.
We value complaints and use information from them to help us improve our services.
In terms of the University's Vision we are committed to shaping our actions and decisions around a set of core values.
These values are critical to our complaints handling process and are reflected here. They are to:
- value people,
- work together,
- have integrity in what we do
- to endeavour to make a difference and
- have excellence at the heart of our interactions with others.
The Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP)
Our CHP reflects the University of Dundee’s commitment to valuing complaints. It seeks to resolve dissatisfaction as close as possible to the point of service delivery and to conduct thorough, impartial and fair investigations of complaints so that, where appropriate, we can make evidence-based decisions on the facts of the case. No complainant shall suffer a detriment through making a complaint and it will be a disciplinary offence if members of staff apply undue influence in the prevention of a complaint.
The CHP has two internal stages and a final external stage with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. We expect the majority of complaints will be handled at stage 1. If the complainant remains dissatisfied after stage 1, they can request that we look at it again, at stage 2. If the complaint is complex enough to require an investigation, we will put the complaint into stage 2 straight away and skip stage 1.
The CHP consists of five parts and was implemented on 1 February 2021:
- Part 1: Introduction and overview
- Part 2: When to use this procedure – guidance on identifying what is and what is not a complaint, handling complex or unusual complaint circumstances, the interaction of complaints and other processes, and what to do if the CHP does not apply
- Part 3: The complaints handling process – guidance on handling a complaint through stages 1 and 2, and dealing with post-closure contact
- Part 4: Governance – staff roles and responsibilities and guidance on recording, reporting, publicising and learning from complaints
- Part 5: Guide for students – information for students and members of the public on how we handle complaints
Any comments on this procedure should be addressed, in the first instance, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Should any criminal activity be detected as a result of a complaints investigation, the University is required to bring this to the attention of the police.
What is the difference between an academic related complaint and an appeal?
An academic related complaint is a specific concern about the provision of a programme of study or related academic service, including teaching and academic facilities.
An appeal is different. It is a request for a review of the decision of an academic body charged with making decisions on student progression, assessment and awards etc.
Complaints will be considered under the CHP. However, if a complaint is deemed by the Director of Academic and Corporate Governance to be an appeal, the University may then deal with it under the appropriate appeal procedures, or other appropriate mechanism.
Please note that matters of academic judgement are in general not open to review either by complaint or by appeal, and that the Undergraduate, and Postgraduate, Appeals Procedures deal with appeals.
Who can complain?
Universities in Scotland are required by law to accept a complaint from any person whether or not they are a student including complaints from applicants to the University.
However complaints relating to the areas specified below are not covered by this procedure and are subject to alternative procedures:
- Bullying and harassment issues including race discrimination, under the University Dignity at Work and Study Policy
- Freedom of Information/Data Protection
- Dundee University Students' Association (DUSA)
- From University staff (see Human Resources)
- Safeguarding Protocol - to raise a concern about a serious issue involving a student (including student disputes)