Live Chat

Complaints and Academic Appeals

University of Hertfordshire Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students

The Interactive Design Institute is committed to handling all complaints and academic appeals fairly, and will undertake to deal with any issue as quickly as is practical. This is applicable to all students currently or previously enrolled on a University of Hertfordshire programme of study delivered through IDI.

It is essential that you act immediately if there is a possibility that your studies will be affected by any problem you have experienced. We cannot accept responsibility for problems that affect the outcome of your studies if you delay telling us about them until it is too late for us to put things right. If you have told us about an issue and you are not satisfied with our response, you are entitled to progress your complaint or academic appeal through each stage as outlined below.

It is always preferable if a problem can be resolved informally and as near to the source as possible. Your Programme Coordinator will be your point of contact throughout the process. You can contact them orally or in writing initially. They will respond and discuss your issues with you in the first instance to try to come to a satisfactory early resolution, then send you the appropriate paperwork to complete if your complaint/appeal is not resolved at this initial stage.

If escalated, a complaint must be made in writing to your Programme Coordinator within three (3) calendar months of the date on which the incident occurred, save in exceptional circumstances that prevented you from submitting it. Academic appeals on assessment grades must be completed within 10 days of their release by the exam board.

IDI is committed to dealing with all complaints as quickly as possible and will normally follow the time limits set out in this procedure. You will be informed of any delay and the reason for it if one should arise.

1.Definitions: Complaints/Academic Appeals

This section gives information on the distinction between complaints and academic appeals, and details the steps you should take to progress them.

When expressing dissatisfaction about a particular provision of your education, it is important to first define the nature of your issue so that we can provide you with the correct paperwork and give you the appropriate guidance.

Complaints

We define a complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction concerning the provision of an academic or administrative service, when the complainant has drawn his or her concern to the attention IDI and is not satisfied with the response’. This might relate to some aspect of how your course is run, an issue concerning a specific member of staff, or a specific resource.

Academic Appeals

Typically, an Academic Appeal would relate to a matter concerning the assessment of your work, or a matter which could reasonably be expected to have a material effect on your academic performance.

Assessing your work and providing helpful feedback is a necessary part of a tutor’s role. When your work is marked and returned to you we encourage you to carefully consider the feedback you will have received to reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses, and to see the assessment process as an opportunity to improve.

Should you disagree with the feedback/mark you have received for a piece of work, there is a process through which you can request a review of the decision (see below). However, there are limited grounds on which such requests can be made. Before making a request you should read the grounds which are detailed section 5.4.1 of UPR AS12 Appendix 1, v.05.0. https://www.herts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/69749/Handbook-2017-2018-2.pdf

If you submit a piece of coursework it is normally assumed that, except in very rare circumstances, you were fit for that assessment. If you fail to submit work, and your circumstances allow it, you should have previously submitted a claim for serious adverse circumstances. Once your results are released you may request a review of those results within 10 days of their release by the examination board but you must remember that a student may not appeal against a grade that has been agreed by the Board of Examiners on the grounds of a challenge to academic judgement alone. This means that if you simply disagree with the mark you have received from a tutor, yet the tutor has subsequently indicated that they are confident that the grade is correct and appropriate to the standard of work – the University will not admit such appeals. However, if you feel that there has been an error (for example, an administrative mistake leading to an incorrect grade) – you should of course highlight this to your Programme Coordinator as soon as possible.

Typically, there are only four grounds on which you can request a formal review of an assessment decision:

i. That you did not submit for assessment having submitted Serious Adverse Circumstances but that the Board of Examiners did not appreciate the significance of these

ii. That you were affected by undiagnosed ill health and/or its treatment and you did not understand the impact this had on your performance

iii. That there was a material administrative error or procedural irregularity in the way in which the assessment/examination was conducted

iv. That there was unfairness or impropriety on the part of one or more of the members of the Board of Examiners

2. Complaints

Stage One

If you would like to make a complaint you should first contact your Programme Coordinator. They will listen to the details and try to resolve your issue within seven days of receipt.

If you are not able to resolve the matter in this way, you may decide to progress onto Stage Two of the complaints process. Your Programme Coordinator will give you guidance on which process to follow, and will send you the appropriate information and documentation to enable you to do this.

Stage Two

Your complaint should be submitted in writing by post or via email on a ‘Notification of a Formal Complaint’ form, and sent to your Programme Coordinator by email or at the address below. Concise numbered points can be a helpful way to set the situation out clearly and you should provide any supporting evidence available to you. Your complaint will be reviewed by the Academic Director.

To ensure that we receive your complaint safely, your Programme Coordinator will email you confirming receipt of your complaint. If you do not receive confirmation that we have received your complaint, please email or call the IDI office via the contact details below.

Please note that your complaint can only be considered if it is submitted in the required format, and presented on the correct form as supplied by your Programme Coordinator.

If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to send a written complaint, please discuss how to progress your complaint with your Programme Coordinator.

You should expect to receive a Letter of Decision from the Academic Director within 25 working days. If we can’t give you a full reply within that time, we will tell you when we will be able to do so. We will normally reply to you using the same method you used when sending your complaint to us i.e. letter or email.

The Interactive Design Institute Ltd
Stuart House
Eskmills
Musselburgh
EH21 7PB

If, having first tried all of the above, you believe that IDI have not reviewed your case fairly or if your complaint could reasonably be expected to have a material effect on your academic performance, you may request a procedural review by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire.

Please note that you should not petition the University if the only basis for doing so is that you are seeking to overturn the outcome from IDI’s process – rather, you should be able to demonstrate that there has been procedural irregularity with the process conducted by IDI.

Information on this (Stage Three of the Complaints Process) will be included in the response to your Stage Two complaint, or you can follow the guidance below.

Stage Three

Request for a Review by University of Hertfordshire Vice Chancellor

In the event that you are not satisfied with the outcome at Stage Three, you can request a review of the decision by the University Vice Chancellor. At this stage, it would be expected that you would be presenting additional information which you feel has been overlooked or not yet fully considered at earlier stages.

The request for a review by the Vice-Chancellor must be made, in writing, using the current version of the relevant form published from time-to-time by the Dean of Students (available on Study Net). The completed form must be lodged with the Student Procedures Coordinator within ten (10) working days of the date of the Letter of Decision (not the date on which the Letter of Decision was received by the Complainant).

Stage Four

Office of The Independent Adjudicator

Finally, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome once you have exhausted all of the University’s own procedures then you can approach the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). The University will inform you of how to do this at the appropriate time. The OIA will not accept a complaint until it has been confirmed by the University that all internal stages have been followed and completed. More information can be found at http://www.oiahe.org.uk/

Academic Appeals

Stage One

If you would like to make an academic appeal you should first contact your Programme Coordinator. They will listen to the details and try to resolve your issue within seven days of receipt.

If you are not able to resolve the matter in this way, you may decide to progress onto Stage Two of the appeal process. Your Programme Coordinator will give you guidance on which process to follow, and will send you the appropriate information and documentation to enable you to do this.

Stage Two

Your appeal should be submitted in writing by post or via email on a ‘Academic Appeals’ form, and send to your Programme Coordinator by email or at the address below. Concise numbered points can be a helpful way to set the situation out clearly and you should provide any supporting evidence available to you. Your appeal will be reviewed by the Academic Director who in turn takes it to the Chair of the Exam Board at the University of Hertfordshire.

To ensure that we receive your appeal safely, your Programme Coordinator will email you confirming receipt of your appeal. If you do not receive confirmation that we have received your appeal, please email or call the IDI office via the contact details below.

Please note that your appeal can only be considered if it is submitted in the required format, and presented on the correct form as supplied by your Programme Coordinator.

If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to send a written appeal, please discuss how to progress your appeal with your Programme Coordinator.

You should expect to receive a Letter of Decision from the Academic Director within 25 working days. If we can’t give you a full reply within that time, we will tell you when we will be able to do so. We will normally reply to you using the same method you used when sending your appeal to us i.e. letter or email.

The Interactive Design Institute Ltd
Stuart House
Eskmills
Musselburgh
EH21 7PB

If, having first tried all of the above, it has still not been possible to resolve your concern, then you may decide appeal to the University of Hertfordshire. Information on this (Stage Three of the Academic Appeals Process) will be included in the response to your Stage Two appeal, or you can follow the guidance below.

Stage Three

If you remain sure that there has been an error in the assessment process, you may appeal to the University of Hertfordshire. Representation can be made to the Vice Chancellor but only on the limited grounds detailed in section 5.7.1 of UPR AS12 Appendix 1, v.05.0.

Finally, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome once you have exhausted all of the University’s own procedures then you can approach the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). The University will inform you of how to do this at the appropriate time.

4. Rights and Responsibilities when making a Complaint or Academic Appeal

IDI’s Responsibilities are to:

  • Deal with all complaints/appeals within the time limits set out in this policy.
  • Ensure that we deal with all the points raised, and that our replies explain the outcomes clearly.
  • Handle your complaint confidentially and only give people the information that is needed to carry out a proper investigation and make a full response.
  • Keep records of complaints/appeals separate from other records.
  • Make sure that no complaint/appeal you have made in good faith will be used to your disadvantage in the future.
  • Always be courteous, professional and polite.
  • Deal sensitively with issues that involve other students or staff, and not name them unless it is necessary.

Please note, IDI does not accept complaints or appeals made by third parties on behalf of a student unless we have written confirmation from the student that they agree for the third party to make a complaint or appeal on their behalf.

Student Responsibilities are to:

  • Ensure you follow all the correct steps and use the correct forms, otherwise you will be asked to begin the process again.
  • Give us as much detail about your complaint / appeal as possible.
  • Be aware of the time limits for reporting your complaint or appeal and returning the appropriate paperwork to IDI/University of Hertfordshire staff.
  • Speak to your Programme Coordinator if you are unsure about any aspect of the process.

Contact Us