Current students complaints
As a current student you have a right to raise concerns about any aspect of your course or the services and facilities we provide.
You should try to resolve your complaint informally with the relevant members of staff before making a formal complaint. If you have tried to resolve your concerns informally and are unhappy with the result you have the right to register a complaint.
This process applies to you if you're studying 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.
View our full Student Complaints Procedure (PDF).
Before you make a complaint
You should to try to resolve your concerns by raising them informally with the member of staff most directly concerned in your complaint as soon as possible. If this isn't possible due to a breakdown of relations between you and the member of staff involved you should contact your personal tutor who will discuss your concerns with you. 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.
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.
Your complaint should be made within 20 working days of the event you're complaining about for the best chance to resolve your concerns. Complaints received after this time usually won't be accepted unless there are extenuating circumstances for the delay.
Making a formal complaint
You will need to contact us with your formal written complaint. 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.
You should submit your complaint by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
University of Portsmouth
St Andrew's Court
St Michael's Road
You should submit a thorough explanation of your complaint along with copies of any emails or documents which are evidence of your concerns. You can refer to any policies, guidance or handbooks which you're using as a basis for your complaint.
Making a group complaint
If a number of students have the same complaint you may raise a group complaint, but one student should act as the main point of contact for communicating with us. 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
You can make a complaint about any aspect of your course, the services or facilities that we provide.
What you can complain about
If you have a complaint about your accommodation, how you complain will depend on whether your halls is 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 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 email@example.com for advice.
Dealing with your complaint
How long it takes to resolve your complaint depends on the nature of your complaint.
If the complaint or its resolution is straightforward we will deal with your complaint within 10 working days from the date we send you an acknowledgement of your complaint.
In more complex cases your complaint may need to be considered using the University’s formal procedures. Investigating this formal complaint may take up to 30 working days. During this time everyone involved in the complaint will be invited to an interview to discuss the issues raised.
You can bring someone with you if you're asked to attend a meeting. This could be a friend or student representative. If you're a distance learning student you will not have to come to the campus and your interview may be a telephone meeting at a pre-arranged time.
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 with 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 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 that you're unhappy with the outcome. The director of corporate governance will then decide whether or not you have valid grounds for a review.
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.