All complaints will be responded to, even if the University cannot make reparations as such.
As far as possible, please conduct the complaint in a respectful manner. Throughout the process, you should also be treated with respect as a complainant.
Your complaint will be treated confidentially. At the same time, the University tries to be honest about how complaints are handled as far as is legally acceptable. When information is shared whether with you or with staff, everyone will be told how the information is to be used.
You can contact the HelpHub for independent support in making your complaint.
We've made a flowchart outlining the process of making a complaint
You can view the full policy documents on the University website.
What can I complain about?
- A service not being provided
- Poor quality of service
- Poor facilities or resources
- Dissatisfaction with a policy or how it has been applied
- Not applying law or policy in services
- Not following the correct processes
- Behaviour or treatment from a member of staff
- Disagreement with a decision (not covered by other processes such as the Academic Appeals policy)
You may complain about a member of staff, or about part of the University (an Academic School or a Unit).
How to make a complaint
Complaints can be made over the phone, by email, by letter, on social media, or face to face. If you make a complaint verbally, the University will make a note of the key points so that it can be progressed as necessary.
You can also complain on social media by complaining on the official University social media accounts. In these cases, the University will most likely reach out to tell you how to complain through other channels (email, letter etc).
If your case is complex, you may wish to fill out the Stage 2 Complaints Form, or email complaints@, however you do not have to do so. You can look at our guidance document on how to write a complaint, and our example Stage 2 Complaints Form.
When you complain you should explain as much as you can about the complaint, including what exactly you are complaining about, and what outcome you are hoping to get. Provide your full name and contact details so that you can be informed of outcomes.
When can I make a complaint?
You have to make a complaint within 6 months of when the problem first happened or when you first knew of the problem. Extensions to this may be considered in very serious circumstances, such as illness or bereavement.
If you want to escalate to Stage 2 after receiving your Stage 1 outcome letter, you must start the Stage 2 process:
- Within 6 months of when the problem first happened or when you realised that something was wrong
- Within 2 months of the Stage 1 response (if this was later)
I want to complain but I don’t want to do it myself
If you don’t want to make a complaint yourself for whatever reason, you can ask someone to complain on your behalf – this could be a trusted friend, family member, or adviser. You will need to confirm your consent for this to happen – normally emailing from your University account to give your consent will be enough.
You can also make anonymous complaints, and these will be considered as long as you provide enough information for the University to take steps. However, complaining anonymously means that you will not be informed of any outcomes from your complaint, as the University will not have your details to be able to contact you.
There are 2 stages this process:
Stage 1 – Frontline response
This stage is for more straightforward cases that don’t need to be investigated. Often, these cases can be resolved quickly with an apology or a smaller action to make up for any harm or inconvenience. Any member of staff can deal with these complaints, including the member of staff being complained about (if relevant).
These complaints must be resolved or responded to within 5 working days (though this can be extended in exceptional circumstances).
The University’s response to your complaint will usually be face to face or by phone. When they reply, they will tell you the outcome, why they have come to this decision, and if relevant will explain how you can take your case to Stage 2 if you are unhappy with the Stage 1 response.
If your complaint is about a member of staff, this will be shared with them, unless there are reasons why this should not happen.
The complaint will then be closed.
Stage 2 – Investigation
This stage is for cases where the situation is more complex or serious. This is also where Stage 1 complaints go if a complainant is dissatisfied with the Stage 1 outcome.
These complaints will be investigated so that it can be looked at properly and the facts can be determined. Most of the time, staff not involved in the case will investigate your complaint.
The University will contact you to say they have received your Stage 2 complaint within 3 working days. They will also reach out to find out more information about the key points and what outcome you want. If you disagree with the University’s understanding of your complaint, you can correct them.
If your complaint is about a member of staff, they will be informed, and will be kept up to date about the how things are progressing.
When investigating, the staff will try to find out; what happened, what should have happened based on policies and procedures, and if the person/Unit/School the complaint is about is responsible for any gap between what happened and what should have happened.
Sometimes, it is appropriate to suggest a different approach to resolving the situation, including mediation with a trained mediator. This can extend the timeline for resolution, but the University’s Mediation Service can help in these matters if both sides agree to try mediation. If mediation is offered and you don’t want it, you can say so. It is up to you whether you accept this.
As part of the investigation, the University may want to meet with the complainant to find out more. This will mostly happen within the 20 working day timeframe, but sometimes this is extended.
You will receive a full response within 20 working days of sending in your complaint.
This is the final step of the University’s procedures
After Stage 2, there is no further step in the University’s processes, and nowhere further to escalate the issue. If you still feel your complaint has not been handled properly, you can contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman for an external review. They will assess whether the University made errors that they did not acknowledge in the complaint.