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Guidance for students: making a complaint

Information about making a complaint against the University.

Every effort is made to ensure that all students have a positive experience during their time at the University of Bath. However, students can make a complaint if they are dissatisfied with an aspect of their experience. The University is committed to ensuring that students can raise matters of concern knowing that these will be looked at carefully and dealt with fairly. In this guidance we set out what can be dealt with under this procedure and how matters will be taken forward for you.

Advice and support

The University recognises that making a complaint can be stressful. The University’s Student Support and Safeguarding Service offer a range of support services that you can access. In particular, the Wellbeing Service is available for emotional and wellbeing support.

The SU Advice & Support Centre is independent of the University. The SU Advisers can assist you making a complaint, preparing for meetings and can attend the meetings as an adviser. Students can arrange a meeting with an adviser by emailing

Representation during the complaints process

We strongly recommend that you bring a friend or adviser to any meeting which you are invited to attend. Any other parties to the complaint will also have this option. The SU can provide an independent adviser to support you during complaints process.

Complaints process

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction raised by a student (or group of students) against a service, facility or the academic provision of the University.

Who can make a complaint?

For the purpose of this procedure a student is defined as an applicant who has been accepted to study at the University, a student registered on a higher education course at the University, or a former registered student whose leaving date is within the last six months.

When can I make a complaint?

Students are encouraged to raise a complaint as soon as possible and no later than six months after the event has taken place, and normally no later than six months from the date the initial issue occurred. We encourage students to report their complaints in a timely manner as this often leads to a more effective investigation and a more immediate remediation for the student.

How long will this take?

We aim to resolve all complaints within 60 days of submission, with an additional 30 days if there is an appeal.

In practice this timeline could vary depending on the complexity of the complaint and the number of people that need to be consulted in the investigation. We will keep you informed of your complaints progress and you will be notified if it is likely to take longer than anticipated.

How do I use the procedure?

The procedure consists of three stages which are described below. The purpose of the procedure is to resolve complaints at the earliest possible stage and to implement remedies promptly.

Stage One – informal complaint

It is expected that most complaints can be resolved at an early stage by discussing the matter informally at a local level. Where possible a student should therefore bring the matter to the attention of an appropriate member of staff, who will aim to resolve the mater by informal discussion. For a confidential, informal discussion about options available prior to submitting a complaint, or support with handling an informal complaint, please contact:

Stage Two – formal complaint

If it is clear that the concern will need to be considered at the formal stage, you will be directed to complete the Student Complaint Form. You can complain directly to Stage Two, if you feel the concern is too complex or serious for informal resolution.

If you are dissatisfied with the response to the complaint at Stage One, you can submit a formal complaint, using the Student Complaint Form, within 10 days of receiving the outcome.

The complaint will usually be investigated by the Head of Department or Service of which the complaint is about. The investigator will normally arrange to meet with you to discuss the complaint in detail. The person investigating may also contact other people, so long as it is relevant to your complaint. The investigator will produce a report which outlines the process followed, the information gathered, the conclusions drawn, any recommendations and the right to request review at Stage Three. You should receive this report within 60 days of the submission of your complaint.

Stage Three – review by the Student Appeals Panel

A student can use the Student Appeals Policy and Procedure to submit an appeal (within the bounds of that policy) following notification of the outcome of a Stage Two Student Complaint. An appeal needs to be submitted within 10 working days of the outcome of a Stage Two complaint.

The decision of this stage shall be the final decision of the University and will be communicated to you, normally within 30 days of the submission of your Student Appeals Form.

If the complaint is upheld you will be informed of any action to be taken to resolve the matter. If the complaint is not upheld, you will be informed of the reason for this decision, and the University will also issue a Completion of Procedures letter to you stating that the University’s internal complaints procedures have been exhausted.


If the University’s internal procedure has not resulted in the resolution of a complaint to the student’s satisfaction, they have 12 months to pursue their complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OiA). Where a case is considered eligible, the OiA will provide independent adjudication on the resolution of complaints, once the institution’s internal procedures have been exhausted. See the OiA website.