We always hope that you have the best student experience whilst studying at University. However, we understand that things don’t always go to plan. There’s a three-stage process for making complaints about the University, and we’ve provided some helpful guidance below on some options for you if you find yourself in this position.
If you need any help during the complaint process, our Individual Representation Service can offer support and advice with Open University Stage 2 and above complaints/appeals.
What should I do first?
We’d always recommend that you chat to the relevant member of staff at the University first to see if you can resolve the issue informally. This could be your tutor, the SST or another department. The University would always like the opportunity to put things right, and should be happy to speak with you about your concerns. You can also speak to the Student Advice team or someone on the Student Leadership Team. If you’ve already tried this and are still unhappy, you can find further options below. You can also refer to the University’s complaints and appeals procedure.
How do I raise an informal complaint? Stage 1
You can make your complaint by submitting an online form which will be directed to the relevant University department for a response to your complaint. You can also phone or email the relevant department to let them know you’d like to make a complaint. Remember to set out your concerns clearly and concisely, and provide any necessary evidence to support your complaint. This could include emails, medical evidence or dates and times of meetings.
It’s really important that you make your complaint as soon as possible, and no more than 28 days after the event. Staff will always try to resolve your complaint as soon as possible but if that’s not possible, they will let you know what action they will take within three working days from when they received your complaint. You should expect to receive the outcome letter confirming the informal response to your complaint within 10 working days.
How do I make a formal complaint? Stage 2
If you receive your outcome letter and you don’t feel that you’ve been able to resolve your complaint, you can request to escalate your complaint to the formal stage of the Student Complaints Procedure. To do this you should complete the online form or write to the Student Casework Office within 28 days of receiving the informal outcome letter. You’ll need to explain why the outcome to the informal stage has not resolved your complaint, and it’s always helpful to set out what the University could reasonably do to put things right. Be sure to include your reference number, which you can find on your outcome letter. If eligible, you should expect to receive the decision letter confirming the formal response within 15 working days. Our Individual Representation Service are here to support and advise you during the complaint process.
What if I’m still not happy? Stage 3
If you’re still unhappy with the formal stage outcome, you can request a review of your complaint. You can do this by writing to the Student Casework Office within 28 days of the date from your Decision Letter. You’ll need to explain why you remain unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, and under which permissible grounds you are requesting further consideration of your case. The University’s complaints and appeals procedure outlines each step of the complaints process.
Once you’ve exhausted the University’s Student Complaints Procedure, if you remain unhappy with this decision, you can refer your complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) to apply for an independent review of the handling of your complaint. Contact details for the OIA can be found on their website.