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Student complaints

As part of its commitment to ensuring the standard and quality of its programmes of study, services, and facilities, the University of Manchester has established a procedure to deal with complaints from students. Complaints provide useful feedback information and, where appropriate, are used to improve services and facilities. The University of Manchester defines a complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction which merits a response’.

The procedure is designed for complaints in respect of the student’s experience at the University related to:

  • the provision of programmes, or parts of programmes of study, services or facilities by the University;
  • the actions or lack of actions by the University or its staff.

Complaints process

Complaints, both informal and formal, should be made as soon as possible, and in any case within eight weeks of the events or actions (or lack of actions) which have prompted the complaint.

Informal stage – local resolution

A complaint should be dealt with as close as possible to the point at which it arises. The complaint should therefore be made initially to the appropriate member of staff who seems best placed to deal with the matter (e.g. Academic Adviser, Personal Tutor, Programme Director, Head of School/Department, Head of Service, etc.). It is important to keep records of complaints and communicate any outcomes (particularly warnings or conditions) in writing.

Formal stage

If a student is not satisfied with the response at the informal stage, they may initiate a formal complaint by completing a complaints form (linked above) and submitting it to

Review stage

If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the formal complaint and believes that their complaint has not been handled properly or fairly according to the procedures, they may request a review by writing to the Head of Division of Teaching, Learning and Student Development within ten working days of receipt of the formal response.


The University follows, for the most part, the OIA's Good Practice Framework. You can read the OIA's guidance on the handling of student complaints on its website here.

At the conclusion of the complaints procedure, the student will be issued with a Completion of Procedures Letter. Students who believe that their case has not been dealt with properly by the University or that the outcome is unreasonable may be able to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for higher education, providing that the complaint they take to the OIA is eligible under its rules. The OIA will consider cases only when the University's own internal appeal procedures have been exhausted.

Mediation service

The Mediation Service is open to both staff and students who wish to address an issue or concern they have at work or study.

Mediation is a constructive and common sense approach which produces realistic and practical solutions. It aims to offer a safe environment where people can talk through any issues or concerns they have with a trained mediator. Mediators explore the issues individuals present, with a view to bringing those in conflict together to jointly agree how they might resolve their differences and move forward.

Reducing the caseload

Advice to staff on what can be done to try to minimise the number of complaints.

This page updated by Jenny Gradwell on 17/09/2020.