Complaints Procedure for Research Students

If you have a problem in relation to your candidature there are a number of informal ways to resolve it, for example discussing the issue with your Postgraduate Student Coordinator, or with someone in the Postgraduate Student Administration Unit; you could raise it at your Annual Progress Report meeting or make a formal written complaint.

Annual Progress Report (APR)

The annual progress report form and the annual review process are opportunities for students to inform their Faculty if there is a problem with their candidature.

The APR form is the place to put on record any difficulties which may have arisen, for example periods of personal illness or misadventure, difficulties with supervision and technical difficulties.

Principles which apply to resolving a dispute

Timeliness
Disputes should be resolved as quickly as possible. Wherever practicable, timelines should be developed, and all parties should be kept informed as to progress in the resolution of the dispute.

Confidentiality
All conflicts between students and supervisors must be treated strictly confidentially at all stages of the resolution process, and information relating to the procedure limited to staff who need to know about it in order for it to be dealt with appropriately.

Without Disadvantage
A student or supervisor making a complaint should be confident that they will not be disadvantaged in any way, especially by way of victimisation.

Procedural Fairness
All staff involved in the resolution process should ensure that the principles of natural justice are followed, including:

  • the opportunity of all individuals involved to put their points of view forward (either in the form of written documents or at the time of interview as appropriate);
  • handling of the procedures in an unbiased manner;
  • protection of the rights of all parties concerned;
  • clear communication in sufficient detail as to the basis on which decisions have been made

Support
Whilst a conciliatory approach is to be encouraged, on occasion it may be necessary for an individual involved in the conflict resolution process to have another person present as a support person, or to speak on his/her behalf.

Record-keeping
Once a complaint has been made, it is essential that proper records are maintained of the procedures followed and outcomes, and should include note taking of any informal discussions.

Access
Students and supervisors would normally have right of free access to all formal documents relating to the resolution of the conflict, with the exception of any documents for which the University claims legal professional privilege