College Complaints Guidelines

This guidance has been put together to help you understand the complaints procedure as well as the options and support available to you.

In this area

What is the complaints procedure?

The complaint procedure is available to students that have raised issues or concerns informally, but feel they have not been provided a satisfactory solution.

The complaint procedure covers a range of academic and non-academic issues. The college has set out the following circumstances as examples of grounds for a complaint:

  • If we have not obligations outlined in your programme handbook or in policies that support the wider student experience.
  • If you have been given misleading or incorrect information in prospectuses or other published promotional information.
  • Concerns you have about the delivery if your programme, the supporting administration, facilities, resources or services.
  • Circumstances that have caused significant distruption to your studies.
  • The approach we take to student welfare, financial support or our implementation of the UK government's immigration policy
  • Complaints about the conduct of a member of staff.
  • Services delivered by organisations or individuals contracted by RCA that impact on you.

Please ensure you contact the SU Advice Officer before submitting a complaint, as we can advise on how your specific complaint fits into the above categories.

What are the stages to a complaint?
Stage 1 (local resolution):
  • A Stage 1 complaint is the first step in the complaints procedure and provides opportunity for your complaint to be resolved informally within the department/school.
  • These are usualyl submitted using the RCA Student Complaints Form, found within the complaints policy document. The SU Advice Officer can assist you with this.
Stage 2 (formal complaint):
  • If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage 1 complaint, you can progress to a Stage 2 formal complaint.

  • Stage 2 complaints are submitted using the RCA Student Complaints form, and should be submitted within 21 working days of receiving the Stage 1 outcome.
  • If the complaint is taken up, the investigator will be from a different part of the College than where your complaint is about, and different to the staff involved in Stage 1.
Stage 3 (review):
  • If you are unhappy with the outcome of Stage 2, you can put in a request for a review.

  • You should submit a Stage 3 Review Form normally within 14 working day from the outsome of Stage 2.

  • There are criteria that must be met in order to conduct a review.
  • If there are met and it is decided that the Stage 2 outsome should be reviewed, a revised outcome will be approved by the Chief Operating Officer.
When can I put in a complaint?

You should aim to submit the Stage 1 complaint within 20 working days after the incident/issue it relates to. The SU Advice Officer can assist you with working out your timeline if you are unsure.

When can I expect to hear back about my complaint?

There can be multiple steps within one stage of a complaint, and each step will have its own timeline. The SU can advise you on the appropriate timeline for each stage.

Stage 1: 

After submitting a Stage 1 complaint, you will receive an acknowledgement email normally within 3 working days. This email will either:

  • Set out how the matter you raised has been addressed.

  • State the actions that will be taken to address the matter, and by when.
  • Invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint.
Stage 2: 

You should submit your Stage 2 complaint within 21 working days of receiving the Stage 1 outcome.

The Complaints Manager will aim to acknowledge your complaint by email within 3 working days.

You will normally receive a further email within 14 working days of submitting your complaint to state that the College will either:

  • Confirm that your complaint will be formally investigated.
  • Ask you for clarification about an aspect/s of your submission.
  • Reject your grounds for a complaint and provide the reason/s why.

Once you have provided more information, the Complaints Manager will confirm within 5 working days if the complaint will be investigated or rejected.

Stage 3: 

To begin a Stage 3 complaint, you should a Stage 3 Review Form within 14 working days of the Stage 2 outcome. 

The College Registrar will aim to provide email acknowledgement within 3 working days

You will normally receive an email to confirm the outcome of the review within 14 working days of submitting your complaint.