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Student Complaints   

The University defines a complaint as:

‘An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more students about the University’s action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the University’.

The Student Complaints Procedure is available to you if you are not satisfied with your experience at the University. This can be found at the link below:

Students and members of staff should always refer to the Complaints Procedure as it takes precedence over all other information available about complaints.

However it is also recommended that students and staff carefully read the Complaints Procedure Guide. This can be read in the flipbook or downloaded below:

Who can complain?

All registered students of Lancaster University have the right to complain. If you have left the University you can also use the procedure within 30 days of the end of registration.

Should you wish to make an anonymous complaint you must acknowledge that the university will be unable to undertake an investigation to resolve the complaint for practical reasons.

If you want to make a collective or group complaint you may do so but you must nominate one student only to act as a spokesperson for the group.

Before you complain

We recommend that you complete the following checklist before complaining:

In general:

·  Have you read and understood the Student Complaints Procedure and the Complaints Procedure Guide to make sure you fully understand the stages of the procedure, its principles, scope, and limitations?

·        Have you made contact with a source of help and/or advice such as the Students' Union, Student Wellbeing Services, or your College?

In terms of the procedure itself:

·        Have you understood what you can/can’t complain about?

·        Have you tried to resolve your complaint informally?

·        Have you got a students’ Union representative helping you to prepare your case? As well as with the gathering of the relevant supporting documentation and evidence? (If you are going to make a formal complaint).

·        Have you understood how to request a review?

·        Have you understood the time limits that apply to you?

·        Have you understood that at various points in the procedure you have a responsibility to respond to the Complaints Co-ordinator?

How to complain?

The Student Complaints Procedure uses three stages, Stage 1Stage 2 and Stage 3 to allow you to complain.

Please find a brief summary of each stage below, please refer to the Complaints Procedure and Guide for more information.

Stage 1-The Informal Stage

At this stage you should raise awareness of your complaint informally. The aim at this stage is to achieve a quick and easy solution for you. We recommend that you communicate with the most relevant member of staff to the subject of your complaint.

Stage 2-The Formal Stage

If you have been unable to resolve your complaint informally then you may want to make a formal complaint.

Please be aware of the time limits that apply to you, as well as allowing enough time for the gathering of the evidence and supporting documentation that the Stage 2 application form requires. 

The Complaints Procedure Stage 2: Application Form

Stage 3-The Review Stage

According to the procedure, if you don’t accept the outcome at Stage 2, then you may proceed to Stage 3. You cannot request a review of Stage 2 simply because you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can only request a review based on the fact that new evidence is available that was not previously available at Stage 2.

Please be aware of the time limits that apply to you, as well as allowing enough time for the gathering of evidence and supporting documentation that the Stage 3 review application form requires. 

The Complaints Procedure Stage 3: Review Application Form

Office of the Independent Adjudicator


If all internal appeals and complaints procedure stages have been completed and you still feel dissatisfied at the outcome of your case, the procedures describe how you have the right to take the case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), for further review.

The application to the OIA must be made within 12 months of the issue of the Completion of Procedures letter after the conclusion of the last stage of each procedure. Information about the OIA and its processes can be found at the below link.  

Office of the Independent Adjudicator:

Where to find help?

Help is available to you throughout the whole process of making a complaint. Make sure you use the advice and help that is available to you; some useful sources of help and advice are listed below:

Students’ Union

The Students’ Union will be a major source of advice for most students as their advisor will be able to:

·        Offer an explanation of how the process of making a complaint works, drawing from knowledge of the Complaints Procedure.

·        Offer advice and help on how to prepare evidence and supporting documentation for your application forms.

·        Offer support and representation for any panel meetings that a student may wish to attend.

To get in touch with the Students’ Union through their pages on complaints and appeals.

Student Wellbeing Services

It is also important to remember that help is offered through Student Wellbeing Services who may be able to help regarding issues that may be affecting your studies. To visit their page please click here.

Colleges and the Advisory System

Each College has an advisory/welfare system in place that aims to support students independently of their academic departments. The system that exists in your college may be able to help you with your complaint, for more information please use the links to each college’s website, these can be found on the Contacts and Useful Links page.

This page was last edited on: 02/10/2017 14:54