This procedure applies to you if you are studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree full-time, part-time, on campus, or via distance learning, and are a registered home, EU, or international student. This procedure is also available to you if you have left the University within the last three months and your complaint is about an event that has happened during those three months.
As a current student, you have a right to raise concerns about any aspect of your course or the services and facilities we provide.
Please view our full Student Complaints Procedure (PDF). The following information will be helpful to you in raising your concerns.
Before you make a complaint
When deciding whether to make a complaint, you can seek advice about subjects, including if you have grounds for a complaint, who to approach first, and how to pursue the matter. Visit our Complaints page to find the right person to speak to.
Your first step to resolving a complaint is to raise your concerns informally, by either speaking or writing to a member of university staff in the area in which your complaint has arisen. By the end of these discussions, you should have a clear understanding of what will be done to resolve your complaint.
If you have tried to resolve your complaint informally but are unhappy with the outcome, you should make a formal complaint.
Your complaint should be made within 20 working days of the event you're complaining about or the conclusion of your attempt to resolve your concerns informally. Complaints received after this time will not usually be accepted unless there are extenuating circumstances for the delay, which you should explain in your complaint.
Making a formal complaint
You should submit your complaint, usually by email to email@example.com or by post to:
University of Portsmouth
St Andrew's Court
St Michael's Road
If you cannot submit your complaint in writing, please contact the Complaints team by telephone on the details given above. We will take details of your complaint and confirm them with you before starting an investigation.
You need to outline the nature of your complaint, the steps that you have already taken to resolve your complaint, and provide any supporting evidence and details of your preferred outcome.
Making a group complaint
You may act as the main point of contact for a number of students who wish to raise the same concerns. This is a group complaint. As the main point of contact you will be expected to communicate with the rest of the group involved.
We take your complaint seriously regardless of the number of students who complain.
What you can complain about
Below are the types of complaints you can make
If you have a complaint about your accommodation, how you complain will depend on whether your halls are owned by us or an external company.
If your halls are owned by the University, you should report any problems to the hall reception staff and follow the halls complaints procedure, which is in your Halls of Residence Handbook, before using the student complaints procedure.
If your halls of residence are not owned by the University, you should report any problems to hall reception staff first and follow their complaints procedure.
All student work is moderated or second-marked. You can't question the academic judgement of your markers. If you're unhappy with a mark, you should speak to the member of staff who marked your paper. They'll provide you with feedback and explain the reasons you were given that mark.
If you're still not satisfied with your mark, you can appeal against the decision. You can appeal against a decision made by a Unit Assessment Board, Board of Examiners, or Board of Extenuating Circumstances Officer. There are a limited number of grounds on which appeals can be made. These are outlined in the University Examination and Assessment Regulations.
If you have issues with the supervision you're receiving for your dissertation, thesis, or project, you should raise your concerns as soon as the issues occur. You shouldn't wait until your work has been marked because it will then be too late to resolve the issue.
You should speak to your supervisor to discuss your concerns initially. If you don't feel like this is an option, you should speak to your Personal Tutor, Course Leader, or Head of Department.
If you're studying with one of our collaborative partners and you have a complaint about your course you should use the partner's complaints procedure. You can make a complaint about something that the partner has or hasn't done. If you've completed this process and are unhappy with the result you can make a complaint to us.
If your complaint relates to something that we should have done but have not, or have done in a way that doesn't meet your expectations, you should raise your concerns informally with staff in the Collaborative Partnership Office before making a complaint. If you're not satisfied with the outcome of these informal discussions you should register a complaint with us.
How you complain when you're on placement depends on your complaint.
If your complaint is about a course management issue, you should discuss this with your course leader or personal tutor as usual.
If your complaint is about a placement issue, you should discuss this with your placement mentor. You may want to speak to your course leader as well. Your mentor may check that they are aware of your concerns and are happy with any suggested resolutions.
It may be helpful to have a meeting to discuss the issues with everyone involved to resolve the issue informally. If these informal discussions do not resolve your concerns, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
If you have a concern about the behaviour of a member of staff, how you complain will depend on whether you wish to make a formal complaint.
If you do not wish to make a complaint, you can submit anonymous feedback using the Report and Support Form.
If you wish to make a complaint, you can follow the steps set out in this flowchart.
If you are unsure whether or not to make a complaint, The Complaints team can advise on:
- The stages of the complaint process
- What measures can be put in place to support and protect you
- Possible outcomes
- Timeframes for investigations
Dealing with your complaint
How long it takes to resolve your concerns will depend on the nature of your complaint.
In most cases, and where the issues are straightforward, the Complaints team will respond to you within 10 working days of the receipt of your complaint.
In more complex cases, your complaint may need to be considered using the University’s formal procedures. Investigating your formal complaint may take up to 30 working days. During this time, everyone involved in the complaint will be invited to an interview, either in person or virtually, to discuss the issues raised.
You can bring someone with you if you are asked to attend a meeting. This could be a friend or student representative.
It may be necessary to share your complaint and relevant evidence with members of staff who are asked to comment on your complaint during the investigation. We handle your correspondence sensitively and will only disclose information to individual members of staff as appropriate.
After your complaint
If you're unhappy with the outcome of the formal investigation of your complaint, you can submit a request for a review of your complaint, which will be carried out by the Executive Director of Corporate Governance.
Requests must be made in writing within 10 working days of receiving your final complaint outcome. You must state clearly the reasons for your request for a review of your complaint. The Executive Director of Corporate Governance will then decide whether you have valid grounds for a review. If you have valid grounds for a review, a further investigation will be carried out within 30 working days of the acceptance of your valid grounds. We aim to resolve your complaint at this stage, but if you remain unhappy, we will provide you with a Completion of Procedures letter.
If you believe your complaint has still not been resolved properly after the review, you can apply to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE) for an independent review. The OIAHE handles individuals complaints against higher education institutions once a student has exhausted the institution's complaints procedures.
Withdrawing your complaint
You can withdraw your complaint at any time during this process by giving notice to the complaints team or to the officer investigating the formal complaint.