Compliments and complaints policy and procedure
Studee is committed to providing a quality service and working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. One of the ways we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our customers, suppliers, and stakeholders, and in particular by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.
We aim to ensure that:
- making a compliment or complaint is as easy as possible
- we welcome compliments, feedback, and suggestions
- we treat any complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response
- we deal with all complaints promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially
- we respond in the right way - for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken etc.
- we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review our complaints policy and procedures annually
- We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly
Our aims are to:
- resolve informal concerns quickly
- keep matters low-key
- enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred
This policy ensures that we welcome compliments and provide guidelines for dealing with complaints from students, universities, the public, parents, education agents, and team members.
A compliment is an expression of satisfaction about the standard of service we provide.
A complaint is defined as any expression of dissatisfaction however it is expressed. This would include complaints expressed:
- face to face via a phone call
- in writing
- via email
- by any other method
All staff should have sufficient knowledge to be able to identify an “expression of dissatisfaction” even when the word “complain” or “complaint” is not used.
We are always happy to hear from people who are satisfied with the services we offer. We recognize that when people have taken the time to offer a comment or compliment their contribution should be acknowledged with a response. Anyone making a comment or compliment will receive a written communication summarising the nature of their comment or compliment and how we have responded.
To make a comment or compliment, please complete our comments, compliments, and complaints form.
The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant's satisfaction.
Studee’s responsibility will be to:
- acknowledge the formal complaint in writing
- aim to respond within 36 hours (Working week)
- deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint
- take action where appropriate
A complainant's responsibility is to:
- bring their complaint, ideally in writing, to Studee’s attention normally within 8 weeks of the issue arising
- raise concerns promptly and directly with a member of staff
- explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date
- allow Studee a reasonable time to deal with the matter
- recognize that some circumstances may be beyond Studee’s control
Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and Studee maintain confidentiality. However, the circumstances around the complaint may mean that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (with each complaint judged on its own facts). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.
Written records must be made by Studee at each stage of the procedure.
Stage 1 - The complaint
The complaint can be written or explained verbally to a team member. In the first instance, team members must establish the seriousness of the complaint. An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved. But if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.
Stage 2 - Investigation
Complaints will be fully investigated. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the complainant should be advised that a formal complaint may be made and the following procedure should be explained to them. It may sometimes be appropriate for a different member of staff, preferably a member of the leadership team, to make this explanation.
- A formal complaint can be made either verbally or in writing. If in writing the attached form should be used. If verbally, a statement should be taken by a member of the leadership team or staff member.
- In all cases, the complaint must be passed on to Simon Andrews. In the event of a complaint about Simon Andrews, the complaint should be passed to Chris Morling, and if the complaint is about Chris Morling this must be passed on to Head of People, Emma Culver.
- Simon Andrews or Chris Morling, depending on the nature of the complaint, must acknowledge the complaint in writing within one week of receiving it.
- One of the above will investigate the complaint. Any conclusions reached should be discussed with the staff member involved and their lead.
- The person making the complaint will receive a response based on the investigation within four weeks of the complaint being received. If this is not possible then a letter must be sent explaining why.
Stage 3 - The appeal
If the complaint cannot be resolved to the complainant's satisfaction at stage two, or if the manager feels that the complaint is of a very serious nature or concerns a team lead, then it will be referred to the Chief Executive.
If the complaint is about the Chief Executive then the matter will be discussed with Head of People, Emma Culver.
The Chief Executive and/or Head of People, Emma Culver, or Vice President of PR and Outreach, Katie Maundrell will acknowledge receipt within three working days. They will review the Stage Two investigation and recommend one of the following actions within fourteen working days (from the date the complainant stated they wanted to take the complaint to stage 3):
- Uphold the action taken at Stage Two
- Make changes to the Stage Two recommendation/actions
The complainant should be informed in writing of the outcome of stage three. The decision reached about this complaint will then be final but other options available to the complainant should be detailed in the letter.
If after Studee has been through the three stages and the complainant is still not satisfied with the result, they should be advised that there is no further right of appeal with Studee but they could approach any of the following agencies for advice:
- A solicitor
- Citizens Advice Bureau
This should be done within one month of receiving the outcome from the appeal.
To process a complaint Studee will hold personal data about the complainant, which the individual provides, and which other people give in response to the complaint.
We will hold this data securely and only use it to address the complaint. The identity of the person making the complaint will only be known to those who need to consider the complaint and will not be revealed to other people or made public.
However, it may not be possible to preserve confidentiality in some circumstances, for example, where relevant legislation is applied or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.
Studee will normally destroy complaints files in a secure manner 24 months after the complaint has been closed.