Corporate Governance

Applicant to the University

If, as an applicant to the University, you have any concerns about:

  • the way in which your application to study at this University was handled,
  • not having been offered a place at the University, or
  • your fee classification / assessment

you can raise your concerns by following the Applicant Complaint procedure below.

Applicant Complaint procedure

1. Who can complain?

- All applicants to the University, whether for full or part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate, distance learning or campus-based study can use this complaint procedure.

- You may find it useful, if your complaint is about not having been offered a place at the University, to obtain feedback from the University on why your application has been refused before making a complaint.  Details on how to do this can be found at section 4.5 of the University's Admissions Policy.  

- If you were refused a place but have new evidence which might affect that decision, it may be more appropriate to request a decision review, details of which can be found at section 5.3 of the University's Admissions Policy or by contacting admissions@port.ac.uk.

- Complaints about admissions to a partner institution of the University, cannot be dealt with by the University and must therefore be raised with the partner institution. 

- Applicants cannot complain about not having been offered a place at the University if they fail to meet additional non-academic requirements, for example, any professional or health requirements related to courses validated by external professional bodies.

2. Anonymity

The University will not usually accept anonymous complaints, particularly as these cannot be investigated properly.  A person who is complained about has a right to know what is alleged about them and who is making the compalint.  You will not be disadvantaged as a result of making a complaint unless the compaint is found to be malicious.

3. Confidentiality

A written complaint will be copied to any person who is the subject of the complaint and / or to the Head of Department or School from which the complaint arises, who will usually be the person who investigates the complaint.  The University expects that all documents produced by the complaint and subsequent investigation will remain confidential to the parties to the complaint.

4. Costs

The University will pay reasonable expenses incurred in making the complaint, up to £50, for example travel costs to attend an interview about the complaint.  We will need you to provide receipts as evidence of the costs.

5. Informal complaints

In the first instance we expect that complaints will be discussed informally with the relevant member of University staff.  If your complaint relates to the way in which your application was handled, or about not having been offered a place at this University, you should first raise the matter with staff in the University's Admissions Centre who will be able to provide you with feedback on your application. Home/EU applicants should telephone 02392 845566 whilst International applicants should telephone +44 2932 3296. 

If your complaint relates to the fee classification you have been awarded by the University, you should contact the Deputy Academic Registrar in the Academic Registry for more help.  The Deputy Academic Registrar can be contacted at christine.giles@port.ac.uk.

6. Formal complaints

If you wish to lodge a Formal Complaint you should write to the University's Complaints team providing the following information:

i)   the background to your complaint

ii)  the informal attempts you have made at resolving the complaint and who you discussed the matter with at the University

iii) why the outcome of the informal attempt is not considered to be satisfactory, and

iv) the desired outcome of your formal complaint, although it should be realised that complaints cannot always produce the outcome you are seeking.

The Complaints team will decide whether, on the information available, an investigation into the matter is warranted.  If an investigation is not warranted, because the Complaints team believe you have not exhausted the informal complaints procedure or because you do not like the decision but there are no grounds for changing that decision, you will be told this within ten working days of receipt of your complaint.  However, if you then go through the informal process as advised and still feel your complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily, it will still be possible to submit a formal complaint at a later date.

If a formal investigation is warranted, it will be carried out by the Head of Department or School to which you applied, or the Academic Registrar in fee appeals cases, within 30 working days of the date that your complaint is referred to that individual.  Once the investigation is completed, you will receive a written report of findings and conclusions including, if appropriate, recommendations for action to resolve the complaint. The decision of the Head of Department or School or the Academic Registrar, is final.

Where the report contains actions for the University in resolving the complaint, the member of staff charged to look at the recommendations will do so within 10 working days of the receipt of the report and decide whether to follow the recommendations or take other action to remedy the compalint.  You will be sent a letter outlining the decision, at which point the matter is closed.

7. Withdrawing your formal complaint

You may withdraw your complaint at any time, at which point the matter is closed.

8. Monitoring

The University will monitor formal complaints made about applications, the results of which may inform changes to the admissions policy and procedure.

9. Further information

Further information on how to make a complaint using this procedure is available from the Complaints team either by emailing complaintsadvice@port.ac.uk or by telephoning 02392 843103.