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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 - 2020-2021 academic year

The overall number of cases across the different Regulations represents a small proportion of the total student population (2.37% in 2020-21 rising from 1.44% in 2019-20). 

The 2020-21 academic year was an extraordinary year due to COVID-19 which resulted in a number of challenges for the whole sector.  Government restrictions and the need for much of the University’s teaching being delivered remotely led to many students spending more time in their accommodation, a result of which was a significant increase in the number of residences disciplinary cases (from 313 in 2019-20 to 1404 in 2020-21).  There was also a significant increase in the number of academic malpractice cases received in Faculties following the move to online assessment, increasing from 120 in 2019-20 to 440 in 2020-21. 

In relation to academic appeals after three years of a continual decrease in the number of cases in 2020-21 we saw a marked increase from 262 to 383 but this is still lower than the peak of 409 received in 2017-18. The number of formal complaints also rose from 113 in 2019-20 to 182 in 2020-21. These rises in case numbers can be attributed to the impact on the student experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and also reflects the position in other institutions.


The number of formal appeals received by Faculties saw a change of distribution in 2020-21, with a move away from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) receiving the highest number of formal appeals. In 2020-21 the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) received the highest number of appeals (38%).  

2020-21 saw a significant decrease in the number of students submitting cases to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA): 38 cases in 2020-21 compared with 104 cases in 2019-20 and 57 in 2018/19.  The large increase in 2019-20 was chiefly due to a large number of students (44) attempting to take complaints to the OIA regarding the impact of industrial action and/or COVID-19 without first completing the University’s internal procedures.  In 2020-21 the OIA found all of the complaints they received about the University of Manchester to be Not Justified. However, of the 13 cases ongoing from 2019-20 they one case to be justified and four others to be Partly Justified.