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Reports to Senate

The University of Manchester reports annually on the number and nature of cases handled through the appeals, complaints and misconduct processes each academic year by Faculties and Professional Support Services.  The Report is required under the Regulations from the relevant areas, and can be helpful in identifying case trends and responding to Freedom of Information requests. 

Summary of the latest Report

The overall number of cases across the different Regulations represents a small proportion of the total student population. However, in relation to academic appeals there has been an increase in the number of formal stage cases from 348 in the 2016/17 academic year to 409 in 2017/18. The number of cases in the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science and Engineering reduced but there was a rise in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.

The number of formal complaints received by Faculties has also seen a rise from 37 in 2016/17 to 88 in 2017/18, although it is worth noting that the latter figure has been affected by complaints relating to the UCU Industrial Action – 36 formal complaints received in the 2017/18 academic year related to this. These complaints centred on requests for a refund of tuition fees to compensate for the impact of the industrial action. However, the University considered that learning opportunities had been replaced or substituted and these complaints were dismissed.

There has also been an increase in the number of students progressing cases to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA): 48 cases in 2017/18 compared with 38 in 2016/17. The number of OIA cases relating to academic appeals has remained constant at 26 but other case types (complaints and discipline cases) have seen an increase. As in previous years, the OIA found the vast majority of complaints made to it about the University of Manchester to be Not Justified.

During the course of 2017/18, the Differential Attainment Project attempted to explore the experience of Black and Minority Ethnic students/International students in relation to appeals and complaints. The project was unable to access information from case files for research purposes as explicit consent had not been given, but did undertake a number of interviews with case handlers and others involved in the appeals and complaints process. Despite problems with data access, the project made a number of recommendations, such as the need to emphasise to international students the importance of registering with a GP and how the mitigating circumstances procedure operates. It also made suggestions for further research that could be undertaken, such as exploring good practice and support mechanisms for BME and International students elsewhere.