Compliments, Comments or Complaints

Compliments, Comments, Complaints Policy and Procedure

Introduction

1.1 At The City of Liverpool College we welcome any opportunity to review, change and improve our service. The Policy and Procedure is to support students, potential students, staff (in relation to supporting students), employers, stakeholders and the general public to communicate with and bring matters of dissatisfaction or concern to the attention of the College.

1.2 This document tells you how the procedures work so that the person making the complaint gets a response within a reasonable time. If you need help to make a complaint, or you need this document in a different format, please contact Advice and Guidance at the Learning Exchange, Vauxhall Road or Bankfield Road or email complaints@liv-coll.ac.uk

1.3 This policy will be applied consistently to students, parents/carers, employers, visitors or members of the community regardless of their age, disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, status and marriage or civil partnership status in respect of unlawful discrimination.

1.4  Staff should use the internal grievance procedure for all staff complaints.

1.5  The College will respond to any complaint fairly and promptly:

  • An acknowledgement response will be provided within 2 working days of receipt of the complaint.
  • A further, more detailed response will be made within 10 working days.
  • A meeting will be offered between the parties involved if appropriate.
  • An appeal may be made to the Director of Learning if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome.
  • Information on how to take the complaint further will be provided in the Completion of Procedures Letter for all complaints relating to Higher Education at The City of Liverpool College.

Completion of Procedure

Under the OIA Scheme Rules the college will issue a Completion of Procedure after 28 days after any internal process has been complete. If the learner has no further avenues to pursue in relation to the issue then the letter is issued detailing the date the complaints procedure has been completed, it clarifies the issues investigated, it establishes the timescales for escalation to the OIA and advises the student of the OIA process.

Wherever possible, we encourage learners to attempt to resolve any issue by talking to the person immediately concerned or alternatively a personal tutor, or if the issue cannot easily be resolved the complaint should be directed to the relevant Assistant Principal.

If learners are unable to resolve the issue informally, a formal complaint is made.

The complaint must be about something which has happened within the last twelve months.

The complainant will receive a receipt and acknowledgement within 2 days and the complaint is passed on to the relevant investigating officer.

A written response to the complaint is made no later than 10 working days during term time – it may take longer over college holiday times due to staff availability.

Scope:

2.1 The Complaints policy and procedure is for all people served by the college which includes staff (in relation to supporting students), students, parents, stakeholders, employers, contractors, visitors and others.

2.2 The policy does not replace College policy and procedures for academic appeals or disciplinary action; these procedures should be applied where appropriate.

3.  Informal Complaints up to Head of School level

3.1 Wherever possible, attempt to resolve the issue by talking to the person immediately      concerned.     

If you are a student and cannot or do not want to talk to the person directly concerned:

  • talk to your personal tutor, or
  • discuss the matter with your student representative who can accompany you to a meeting with the person
  • If the complaint is made about a member of staff and you would like to be accompanied when this meeting takes place, you can ask at Advice and Guidance for someone to come with you. S/he will support you in getting your points across as clearly as possible and help where possible to enable you and the person concerned to resolve the problem informally
  • If the issue cannot easily be resolved the complaint should be directed to the relevant Assistant Principal
  • Verbal complaints to Reception and staff in public areas and/or requests to meet the Principal should be referred to the Head of School of the area in which the complaint is about or, if they are unavailable, the duty manager
  • If the complaint is resolved at this stage it must be recorded in the School’s informal complaints log and documentation retained for two years. Where the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved at this level, all documentation and notes should be forwarded to The Complaints Team as a formal complaint.

 4.  Making a formal complaint

4.1 If you are unable to resolve the issue informally, you can make a formal complaint.

     The complaint must be about something which has happened within the last twelve

  • You can complete a complaint form, which is available from the complaints department at complaints@liv-coll.ac.uk or call the team on 0151 252 3628. Alternatively you can access the form from Advice and Guidance, College receptions, LRCs or from the Student Intranet homepage under Information. If you would like help to fill in form ask any member of staff in Advice and Guidance, LRCs or reception, email or BuzztheBoss on 07757454854.
  • You will receive a receipt and acknowledgement within 2 days and your complaint will be passed on to the relevant investigating officer.
  • Your receipt will have the name of the investigating officer. You will receive a written response to your complaint no later than 10 working days during term time – it may take longer over college holiday times due to staff availability.

4.2 Complaints handling for students studying a higher education programme.

The College’s complaints procedure applies to both HE and FE students. In addition, all higher education students who are in receipt of student support funding, have access to the same dispute resolution arrangements as any other student on a higher education programme in England.  The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) is the Government’s designated operator for handling unresolved student complaints in higher education. The OIA provides an independent, transparent complaints handling scheme to review student complaints and academic appeals. More information about the OIA can be found on its website www.oiahe.org.uk  

A Completion of Procedure letter is issued detailing the OIA complaints appeals procedure and how a learner can access it.

4.3 You will, in most cases, be able to withdraw your complaint at any point. But if your complaint is serious, the investigating officer may have to follow it through even if you want to withdraw.

4.4 The Complaints Manager will nominate the appropriate officer to investigate the complaint. The nominated person to lead the investigation will be the Head of School or Assistant Principal for that area.

4.5 On completion of an investigation the investigating officer will:

  • Propose an amicable resolution
  • Uphold or partially uphold the complaint, offer an apology and take appropriate steps to address the issue
  • Dismiss the complaint as unfounded, providing reasons.

4.6 A complaint against the Principal, the Board or an individual Governor: Complaints against the Principal, The Board or an individual Governor should be addressed to The Clerk to the Board of Governors, The City of Liverpool College, The Learning Exchange, and Roscoe Street Liverpool, L1 9DW.

Complaints against The Clerk of the Board should be addressed to The Chair of the Board of  Governors, c/o The Principal, The City of Liverpool College, and The Learning Exchange, Roscoe Street, Liverpool L1 9DW.

5.  Appeal Procedure

5.1 If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you can appeal. You can get an appeal form from complaints@liv-coll.ac.uk, Advice and Guidance, or College reception.

You can expect a response within 10 working days during term time – it may take longer over college holiday times due to staff availability.

5.2 If you still do not feel your complaint has been resolved after this process, and your complaint is about a course funded by the Skills Funding Agency or the Education Funding Agency, ask Advice and Guidance for contact details (Advice and Guidance will tell you if your course fits this category).

6.  Recording and Monitoring Complaints

6.1 All formal complaints are recorded by the College Complaints Team, a regular reviewis undertaken by the Equality Manager for any element of potential or actual discrimination.

6.2   Responsibilities

Staff

All staff have a responsibility for receiving complaints and treating them promptly and courteously in accordance with the procedure above. Staff are expected to provide assistance to support a complainant where necessary.

Managers

All managers have a responsibility for resolving complaint and leading or contributing to an investigation where deemed appropriate.

Director of Learning

The Director of Learning is responsible for resolving complaints that have reached the appeals stage.

The Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is responsible for over-seeing the complaints policy and procedure and may become involved if a complaint is directed at the Principal, the Clerk or any member of the Board.

7.   Complaints procedure for employers

Contact your Account Manager or main college contact in the first instance. If the problem is not resolved, you should contact the Employer Relationship Manager on 0151 252 3282.

Appendix 1

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another on the grounds of any of their protected characteristics.

Discrimination based on association

Direct discrimination also occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of their association with another person who has a protected characteristic (other than pregnancy and maternity).

This might occur when a person is treated less favourably because their sibling, parent, carer or friend has a protected characteristic.

Discrimination based on perception

Direct discrimination also occurs when a person is treated less favourably because it is mistakenly thought or presumed that they have a protected characteristic (other than pregnancy and maternity).

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when you apply a provision, criteria or practice is applied in the same way for all, but this has the effect of putting individuals/groups sharing a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage.

Indirect discrimination will occur if the following four conditions are met:

  • the provision, criterion or practice is applied (or would apply) equally to all, including a individuals/groups with a protected characteristic
  • the provision, criterion or practice puts or would put individuals sharing a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage compared to those who do not share that characteristic
  • the provision, criteria, practice or rule puts or would put the particular individual/group at that disadvantage
  • It cannot be shown that the provision, criteria or practice is justified as a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

Harassment

Harassment is the unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating the person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Conduct of a sexual nature is specifically included within the definition, although marriage/civil partnerships and pregnancy/maternity are not included as protected characteristics for harassment. As an employer the College is required to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent a third party (i.e. someone other than a manager or other employee) from harassing an employee.

Victimisation

Victimisation occurs when a person is treated badly because they have made, supported or raised a complaint or grievance under the Equality Act; or because they are suspected of doing so. A person is not protected from victimisation if they have maliciously made or supported an untrue complaint. There is no longer a need to compare treatment of a complainant with that of a person who has not made or supported a complaint under the Act.


 

 


 

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