Admissions Complaints System: Principles and Procedure
The University is committed to high standards of service and the quality of teaching and learning. However, it is accepted that applicants/potential applicants may have complaints relating to their enquiry/application or the services and facilities provided by the University. There may also be times when an issue may arise with other applicants or members of staff. The University takes such complaints seriously and will deal with them without recrimination and in a confidential manner. The University is committed to continuously improving our standards and constructively handling any complaints, taking any reasonable action to ensure that similar situations do not occur in the future.
It is hoped that most complaints can be resolved by the informal process
This complaints system is designed for all our applicants/potential applicants. This includes applicant/ potential applicants who are:
- Currently applying for a place (undergraduate and postgraduate) to study at either one of the University’s main campuses, its partner institutions both in the UK and overseas. Complaints regarding admissions to programmes accredited by the University should be made directly to the partner;
- Recent applicants (where the complaint relates to concerns about service provided within 3 months)
- Appealing a decision relating to the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
A complaint, under this system, is defined as the expression of concern or dissatisfaction with a service provided by the University directly or indirectly related to the admission to a course of study at the University.
Fitness to Practise
Applicants to professional courses who have been rejected on Fitness to Practise grounds by a Faculty Fitness to Practise Panel have no right to appeal that decision. However an applicant may submit a complaint through the Applicant Complaint System where there is evidence to demonstrate that there has been a material error in the application of the Faculty Fitness to Practise Procedure.
The system is for applicants/potential applicants only. Existing students who wish to make a complaint can do so through the Student Complaints Procedure available at https://wlv.ac.uk/polsregs .
Complaints about the Students’ Union must be raised directly with them. More information is available at: https://www.wolvesunion.org/about/complaints/
The University will, where appropriate, seek to identify alternative arrangements for resolving complaints which may be additional to this procedure.
Applicants/potential applicants are encouraged to seek help and guidance before and during the complaints procedure.
University staff members are available for advice, help and guidance, both in regard to the complaints procedure and who to complain to – and also in providing solutions and informal resolutions to particular problems.
Where to go for help and guidance:
Admissions:Located in MX building on the City Campus, staff in the unit will be able to advise on the process that should be followed for any course. Further information can be found at:https://wlv.ac.uk/apply
Gateway:Located in MG building on City Campus, Gateway staff will be able to offer impartial advice on the application process in general and other associated processes. Further information can be found at: https://wlv.ac.uk/gateway
Academic Faculty:Contact Information is available on line at: https://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/our-schools-and-institutes/
University of Wolverhampton Students’
Including the Students’ Union Advice & Representation Centre.
Most complaints can be resolved informally, and as close to the origin of the complaint as possible. This is usually the most useful and effective means of resolving a complaint and should be the first recourse. In reviewing a Formal Complaint, consideration will be given, where appropriate, to the extent to which a complainant raised the matter at an informal level. A constructive approach by all parties will most often provide a corrective/ preventative solution or an explanation of what has happened and why further action is not appropriate.
In most cases a personal response to the complaint, by staff, may be adequate. But if appropriate, or where requested, a written response (by e-mail or letter) may be provided. Any response should highlight that the complainant has the option to escalate their complaint, should they remain dissatisfied with the outcome, to the formal complaints procedure. In responding to an informal complaint the University standards on the timeliness of acknowledgements, referrals and responses should be also adhered to.
If, having followed the informal route the applicant/potential applicant believes that their concerns have not been properly addressed or where the complaint is particularly serious or confidential then the formal procedure set out below should be followed.
This procedure can be used for group complaints. The group should nominate one person to act as spokesperson and primary contact. All group members must be identified in the complaint and must demonstrate that they have been affected by the issue which is the subject of the complaint. All group members must confirm in writing that they agree to the nominated spokesperson acting on their behalf, using the “Group Complaint Form”.
All complaints will be considered with the highest level of confidentiality that can be maintained whilst will allowing for a fair and effective investigation.
Disclosure is normally necessary to enable the complaint to be progressed and applicants/potential applicants should be aware that where disclosure is not permitted this may prevent an effective investigation. However if an applicant/potential applicant does not wish the details of their complaint to be disclosed this must be clearly stated on the Complaint Form. In such circumstances the Head of Admissions will contact the applicant/potential applicant to discuss the implications of this for the investigation.
The University takes all complaints seriously and the formal procedure provides for independent investigation of the substance of any claims. Applicants/potential Applicants will be protected by the University from any recrimination or victimisation resulting from their complaint.
Third Party complaints
Complaints should be raised by the applicant/potential applicant rather than by any third party. Where exceptionally an applicant/potential applicant wishes to raise a complaint through a third party the University will require a signed written statement to that effect from the applicant/potential applicant. This includes complaints raised by the applicants/potential applicant’s parents, spouse or fee payer.
The University will not accept anonymous complaints. Anonymous complaints do not allow for an effective investigation to be conducted and a resolution reached. Normally therefore, no action will be taken where a complaint is submitted anonymously. However the University reserves to right to exceptionally investigate an anonymous complaint where this is deemed appropriate.
Complaints made to the Offices of the Vice Chancellor.
Complaints made direct to the Offices of the Vice-Chancellor will be acknowledged and referred to the Admissions Unit for consideration within these procedures.
Malicious or Vexatious Complaints
The University will not tolerate complaints that, upon investigation, are interpreted as malicious, vexatious, deliberately misleading or frivolous. Under such circumstances complainants may be referred to the Head of Conduct and Appeals.
The complaint should be set down in writing on the formal complaints form, available on-line at www.wlv.ac.uk/polsregs.
The completed form should only be submitted to the Head of the Admissions Unit and an acknowledgement of receipt will be provided within 3 working days.
Letters of complaint (not using the complaints form) that arrive at any other point, should be forwarded to the Head of Admissions Unit only – where they will be treated as a formal complaint at Stage One
For good practical reasons, complaints should be identified and investigated as soon as possible after the problem becomes known. Complaints lodged by applicants/potential applicants more than three months after the event will only be considered in those circumstances where there is a demonstrable reasonable cause for the delay.
Complaints will not be considered from current applicants any later than three months after the problem becomes known.
Submitting a complaint
The University would prefer that complaints are received using the FORMAL COMPLAINT FORM provided for applicant/potential applicant use (individual or groups) at www.wlv.ac.uk/polsregs (under Individual Conduct) so as to ensure that all of the relevant details are collected. The formal complaint can be submitted via email@example.com or via:
Head of the Admissions Unit
University of Wolverhampton
The complainant should expect their complaint to be acknowledged as having been received in no more than three working days.
The complainant will normally receive a substantive response within 28 working days. This length of time may be necessary to enable the Head of the Admissions Unit to investigate the matter with appropriate colleagues. This may take longer during vacation periods. The applicant/potential applicant may be asked to discuss the matter in person but will always receive a written response.
If after this stage the complaint still remains unresolved to their satisfaction, the applicant/potential applicant may request a review of the complaint at Stage Two. The request for a review should be sent in writing to the Academic Registrar, within 20 working days of the date of written notification of the outcome of Stage One.
The review will consider the stage two complaint in relation to the following grounds:
- Was the complaint correctly investigated within the principles and procedures the Admissions Complaints System?
- Was the outcome of the complaint reasonable based on the available evidence?
- Has new information been provided at stage two which would have affected the decision taken at stage one had it been available and has the complainant provided a good reason not to have disclosed these circumstances at stage one of the complaint?
University of Wolverhampton
Registry & Faculty Administration
Via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Academic Registrar or their nominee will review the stage one investigation and may either uphold the complaint in whole or in part with recommendation for any remedies to be applied or dismiss the complaint.
The Stage Two decision is final.
Working Days are defined as normal working days in the University Calendar. This does not include those days where the University is closed down for holiday periods or public holidays. It should be understood that investigations may take longer during vacation periods. The University will always endeavour to keep complainants informed about any delays to published timescales where there is a good and practical reason for the delay.
Monitoring & Quality Enhancement
The University will ensure that complaints are handled consistently and fairly.
To ensure that complaints are used as a mechanism for continuous improvement
and quality enhancement an annual report to Academic Board on the type and volumes of all complaints will be prepared by the Admissions Unit. This will include an analysis of the themes and outcomes.
Confidentiality and anonymity of complainants will be maintained throughout the monitoring process and information will be held in accordance with the University’s obligations under the Data Protection Act.
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