GR2: Student Complaints Procedure 2021/22

At Kingston University we aim to provide you with the best experience possible by creating excellent and supportive learning environments and high standards of service delivery. While we don't expect things to go wrong, we accept that sometimes things do. In order for us to put things right, we need you to let us know as soon as you can when you experience an issue.

On this page you will find information about the type of issues you can raise under the Student Complaints Procedure as well as step-by-step instructions on how to submit a complaint.

The full process is also outlined in the PDF below.

Can I make a complaint?

Yes, you can make a complaint within 15 days of the event which has given rise to the issue or, if a series of events, within 15 days of the final event in the series. Complaints will only be considered outside this timeframe in exceptional circumstances.

If a complaint is submitted outside of this timeframe, and the University determines that there are no compelling exceptional circumstances to explain this, you will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter which will allow you to take your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).

Issues considered under this procedure

If you are enrolled on a Kingston University course or have recently been enrolled on a Kingston University course, you can use the University's Student Complaints Procedure. We always work directly with our students to resolve concerns and for this reason we do not usually accept complaints from parents, family members or other third parties unless there are compelling reasons, and we have your explicit consent.

You can submit a complaint under this procedure if you have a concern about:

  • the teaching on a programme or the delivery or administration of a programme, including, those delivered by collaborative partner institutions;
  • a failure by the University to meet our obligations, including those outlined in course and module documentation;
  • misleading or incorrect information contained in prospectuses or promotional materials and other University publications;
  • the poor quality of, or accessibility to, facilities, learning resources or services provided directly by the University;
  • staff conduct (for example, alleged discrimination, harassment and/or bullying).

See examples of complaints relating to these areas and suggested routes for early resolution.

If you have a particularly sensitive case that you would like to discuss in confidence with a member of staff, you should contact your Personal Tutor or Academic Registry in the first instance. Our staff are available to offer you advice on your options and talk to you about what might happen next if you want to submit a formal complaint. The Union of Kingston Students is also very experienced at providing advice about this process.

Issues not considered under this procedure

The following areas cannot be considered under the Student Complaints Procedure but may be able to be considered under a separate procedure:

Decision made by an academic body

If you have a concern about a decision that has been made by an academic body such as an Assessment Board. This might, for example, include a decision about your progression, reassessment or award, or the outcome of an Academic Misconduct Panel.

Please refer to your Personal Tutor, Course team or Student Office in the first instance. The Union of Kingston Students can also offer impartial and expert advice.

If you feel that you have grounds for appeal refer to the Academic Appeals Regulations (AR8/AR9). Appeals must be submitted within 15 University working days of the date that your outcome was released.

Academic judgement

If you have a concern relating to academic judgement or the quality of academic feedback on work, please speak to your Personal Tutor or a member of your course team to discuss your work in more detail.

Behaviour of a student

If you have a concern about the behaviour of a student, including for example discrimination, bullying or harassment allegations.

The University takes concerns about discrimination, bullying and harassment very seriously. Please visit My Kingston for more information about the range of support and advice services that are available to you.

If you have a concern about another student or a group of students' behaviour, please refer to the Student Conduct and Behaviour Procedure (GR3) on the policies and regulations page.

Admissions, Fitness to Practise or the Student Conduct and Behaviour Procedure

If you have a concern about a decision that has been made under another specific regulation or procedure, for example Admissions, Fitness to Practise or the Student Conduct and Behaviour Procedure, please refer to the relevant procedure for details of any routes for complaint or appeal. If you are unsure of what to do next, please speak to your Personal Tutor, Course team or Student Office in the first instance. The Union of Kingston Students can also offer impartial and expert advice.

Halls Licence

You have a concern about a decision made in line with the Halls Licence, please refer to the Halls Licence for details of route for complaint or appeal.

Issues which have been, or are currently being, considered

If your complaint or appeals is against matters which have already been, or are currently being, considered by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), a court, or a tribunal, we are not able to look at these matters while they are being considered by an external body such as the OIA or a court of law. Any open complaints or appeals will be paused until the external proceeding has been concluded.

Intellectual Property Rights

You have a concern about Intellectual Property Rights, please refer to the Intellectual Property Rights Procedure.

Data Protection or a Data Breach

If you have a concern about Data Protection or a Data Breach, please refer to the Data Protection Policy.

Fee status decision

If you have a concern about a fee status decision, please contact Admissions.

Student Loan

You have a concern about your Student Loan, please contact the Student Loans Company.

Student Support Fund or US Federal Aid

If you have a concern about decisions on applications for student funds, such as the Student Support Fund or US Federal Aid, please contact the Student Funds and Bursaries Team.

Issues at a collaborative partner institutions

If you are a student enrolled on a Kingston University course that is run in collaboration with a collaborative partner institution you will need to follow the complaints procedure of the partner institution in the first instance.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your complaint has been considered once the partner's procedures have been exhausted, and your complaint relates to the academic standards and/or quality of your learning opportunity, you can refer your complaint to the University for consideration at Stage 2 of this procedure.

If your partner institution does not have their own procedure, you should contact a relevant member of staff at the partner institution to explore a possible early resolution to your complaint.

If your issue cannot be resolved through early resolution, you may submit a Stage 2 - Formal Complaint.

Your Complaint will be considered by an Investigator appointed by the University with relevant input from both the Kingston University Liaison Officer and Partner Liaison Officer. Following this you can submit a request for a Review of your Complaint using the University's Stage 3 – Complaint Review. The Review of your Complaint will be undertaken by Kingston University.

Issues about a service provided by a third party

If your complaint relates to another organisation or to a contractor who is providing services on behalf of the University, you should contact the service provider directly and follow their complaints procedure in the first instance. This would be the case, for example, if your complaint related to a service provided by, or a member of staff employed by, a Halls Management provider or by the Union of Kingston Students. View contact details for the University's principal service providers.

The University may accept a complaint about the services provided by another organisation or service provider directly, if the organisation or provider does not have their own complaints procedure, or if your complaint relates specifically to your learning opportunities or experiences.

How to submit a complaint

The University's Student Complaints Procedure consists of three stages.

You should start at Stage 1 by raising an Early resolution complaint with your Personal Tutor, Module Leader, a member of your course team, your Student Course Representative or a member of professional staff. 

Contact your Personal Tutor or the Union of Kingston Students if you find any aspect of this procedure difficult to read or understand.

Stage 1 – Early resolution

What to do?

The first stage of the Student Complaints Procedure will require you to discuss your specific concerns with an appropriate member of staff to see if a resolution can be reached outside of the formal process.

Raise your concerns with your Personal Tutor, Module Leader, or another member of your course team, your Student Course Representative, or with a member of professional staff in the first instance. This person will be known as the Complaint Handler.

If you are unsure who to speak to in the first instance, you should contact the Union of Kingston Students for advice.

See examples of early resolution issues and how you may go about resolving these at Stage 1.

What happens next?

The Complaint Handler will try and find a satisfactory solution to your complaint, and implement the solution if this is possible.

Receiving the outcome

You can expect to receive a response to your complaint within 20 University working days of receipt of making it. If you have made your complaint in writing, the Complaint Handler will normally write back to you setting out the outcome. If additional time is required, you will be advised of the revised timeframe.

What happens if I'm not happy with the outcome?

If you are dissatisfied with the solution offered, you may submit a Stage 2 Complaint within 15 University working days of the date you received the outcome or you were advised to escalate your complaint (see Stage 2 below).

Stage 2 – Formal complaint

If your complaint cannot be solved at the Early Resolution (Stage 1), or you are dissatisfied with the resolution offered by the University, you can submit a Formal Complaint (Stage 2).

There may be some exceptional cases when the University will permit a complaint to be made directly at the formal stage, for example if there are serious allegations being made against a member of staff. If you feel that your case should be entered and considered directly at Stage 2, please contact your Faculty Complaint Co-ordinator or the relevant Directorate Complaint Co-ordinator to discuss this further (see contact details below).

What to do?

Complete the Stage 2 complaint form within 15 University working days of your Stage 1 outcome. The form includes guidance to help you to provide the relevant information and evidence to support your complaint. The Union of Kingston Students can also help you to complete your form. If you would like to submit your complaint in an alternative format, please email studentcomplaints@kingston.ac.uk.

Who to contact?

There are specific members of staff within each Faculty and Directorate who deal with formal complaints (Stage 2). They will co-ordinate aspects of your complaint and may respond directly to you about the progress of your complaint. This is not the same as a Complaint Investigator who will be the person actually investigating your Complaint.

Faculties Complaint Coordinators

Directorates Complaint Coordinators

Halls of Residence Complaint Coordinators

What happens next?

The Complaint Coordinator will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 University working days. If your complaint is deemed valid, a Complaint Investigator will be appointed. If the complaint is deemed not valid, you will receive a Completion of Procedures letter explaining the reasons why.

During the investigation

The Investigator may deem it necessary to meet with or call you to discuss the details of your complaint. You may also be required to provide additional information or evidence, or the Investigator may be required to liaise with other staff members to establish facts of the case. 

Receiving the outcome

You can expect to receive a written response to your complaint within 20 University working days and the Faculty or Directorate will implement any recommendations arising out of the investigation. If additional time is required, you will be advised of the reason for the delay and provide a revised timeframe.

What happens if I'm not happy with the outcome?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage 2 Complaint, you may request a review of your complaint within 15 University working days of the date you received the outcome (see stage 3 below).

Stage 3 – Complaint review

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the formal investigation (Stage 2), you may apply for a review of your complaint.

What to do?

Complete the Stage 3 Complaint Review form within 15 University working days of the Stage 2 outcome. The Union of Kingston Students can help you to complete your form. If you would like to submit your complaint in an alternative format, please email studentcomplaints@kingston.ac.uk.

You will need to provide the grounds for why you believe you meet the criteria to request a review of your complaint.

Who to contact

Academic Registry Complaint Coordinators

What happens next?

The Complaint Reviewer will acknowledge receipt within 5 University working days and if the grounds for review have been met, a review will be initiated. If the grounds are not specified or deemed valid, you will receive a Completion of Procedures Letter
explaining why.

Receiving the outcome

The review is not a reinvestigation, but will look at the University's handling of your complaint. You can expect to receive a written response within 20 University days, which will uphold the complaint in full, in part or dismiss it, and provide the reasons why.

Next steps 

If you do not wish to accept the offer of resolution, a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued to you, which signals that you have exhausted the University's internal procedures. This will state whether the University is happy to keep any offer open to you in the event that you refer your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).

Complaint to the OIA 

The OIA provides a free and independent scheme for the review of student complaints. Upon receipt of a completion of Procedures Letter, you can make an application to the OIA to review your complaint within 12 months of the date of the letter. More information can be found at www.oiahe.org.uk.

Advice and support

If you are unsure about whether or not the Student Complaints Procedure is the correct Procedure for your situation, or if you just want to speak to someone about your concerns, we recommend that you speak to your Personal Tutor, the Union of Kingston Students or to one of our Student Achievement Officers.

You can also visit My Kingston for more information on a range of types of issues or concerns that you might have and the best ways to deal with these.