Finito will always try to make sure that any issues that you raise, or problems that you face, are dealt with speedily and to everyone’s satisfaction. If, however, you continue to have concerns, the following complaints procedure is designed to ensure that issues are dealt with adequately and in good time.
This procedure is available to current and past students of the programme, including those accepted for a place but who have not yet started. Complaints made by third parties on students’ behalf cannot be dealt with under this procedure but will be taken note of and appropriate action may be taken as a result. Complaints should be raised within a month of the issue arising and complaints raised more than three months later will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
The complaints procedure will aim to:
- Support you with a straightforward, appropriate and effective process for resolving complaints
- Take your complaints seriously and deal with them in a way which is appropriate to the issue
- Guarantee that complaints are dealt with on the basis of evidence and investigation
- Ensure that every issue raised receives an appropriate explanation
- Ensure that all involved have the opportunity to be heard and that they understand each step in the process
- Work in a respectful, sensitive way and value people’s point of view
- Have due respect for confidentiality
- Provide appropriate remedies if a complaint is upheld
- Help Finito continue to improve the quality of what it does
Your responsibilities under the complaints procedure are:
- To raise concerns at the earliest opportunity
- To observe the Student Charter
- To engage fully with the process and those operating it
- When making a complaint, to provide full details in a concise manner and, where appropriate, to provide documentary evidence for the points made
- To state clearly what remedy you would expect should the complaint be upheld
- To be aware of sensitivities should your complaint involve other students or staff
The procedure consists of an informal and a formal stage. Issues raised and resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction at the informal stage will not proceed to the formal stage.
2. The Informal Stage
If an issue is not resolved or resolvable at the point at which it arises, then it may be raised with the Programme Leader. A complaint form is available that should be used for this purpose. The possible outcomes of this stage include the following:
The matter is explained or resolved to the satisfaction of the person who made the complaint
The person making the complaint decides not to pursue it any further
The complaint raises issues that will be addressed by Finito (the Programme Leader will explain to the complainant what action will be taken and when)
The matter is not resolved (or the Programme Leader feels that a formal investigation is required) and the matter moves into the formal stage.
3. The Formal Stage
If required, a new complaint form should be completed to include any information arising from the informal stage and not already noted in the original form. The complainant may wish, at this stage, to review the statement of the nature of the complaint and the expected remedy. If the form is incomplete or the case made is felt to be unclear, further information may be requested.
Requests to escalate a complaint to the formal stage must be made within 10 days of the completion of the informal stage and Finito reserves the right to reject any complaint not made in this timescale.
The completed complaint form should be returned to the Finito office and receipt of the form will be acknowledged.
Finito will appoint an Investigating Officer (normally the Quality Assurance Director, unless it is felt that this would create a conflict of interest) who will:
- Seek to establish the factual circumstances surrounding the complaint by reviewing the factual evidence and interviewing those involved. The complainant will be given the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting with the Investigating Officer as part of this process.
- Determine whether, if the facts are as they seem to be, the complaint is well-founded and worthy of further consideration.
- Produce a report summarising the findings of the investigation and the evidence on which they are based and a recommendation as to outcome(s), if any. This report will be made available to the complainant and to Finito once it is complete and, in any case, within 20 days of the lodging of the formal complaint. This may be done face-to-face as well as in writing.
- The investigation stage will only be followed by a formal complaint hearing if there continues to be a dispute or uncertainty about key facts of the case or if, in the interests of fairness and transparency, there is a clear need to do so.
A Complaint Panel will consist of:
- The Investigating Officer as chair
- Two other members of staff not involved in the original complaint
The complainant will be given 15 days’ notice of the hearing and will be given the opportunity to present his or her case to the panel. He or she may be supported in this by a friend. The complainant will be given in advance a copy of all the papers given to the panel but must keep all this material confidential.
The complainant may call witnesses in the presentation of his/her case, but must give the panel five days’ notice of the intention to do so, together with the names and contact details of the witnesses. Members of the panel and the complainant may ask questions of the witnesses. Witnesses will leave the meeting once they have given their evidence.
Once all the evidence has been heard, including the complainant’s closing statement, the complainant will leave the hearing and the panel will consider its decision. The Chair will normally communicate the panel’s decision to the complainant immediately after the meeting and this will subsequently be confirmed in writing.
- Possible outcomes will include one or more of the following:
- The matter is resolved or explained to the satisfaction of the complainant
- The complaint is upheld and raises a valid concern that needs to be remedied
- The complaint is not upheld because it is deemed unjustified or not made out
- The complainant is offered an apology and/or appropriate financial recompense
- The matter is referred to a third party for binding mediation