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Making your complaint or appeal effectively

We can't guarantee the outcome of any complaint or appeal but if you follow these hints and tips the University will be better able to consider the issue(s) you've raised and attempt to put things right at the earliest opportunity.

  • Know what the problem is: Think about what has actually gone wrong. Has the University failed to do something or treated you differently to the way we said we would? Your complaint will receive a much better response if you can be clear about what has happened and, more importantly, how it has affected you.
  • Check that you know what you are entitled to: Although you may have expectations, they may not be something that the University has said it can or will deliver.
  • Be clear about what you want as a result of the complaint or appeal: Do you want the University to put right a service failure, for example by re-sending you something, by providing additional information, advice or guidance? Or do you want a decision the University has made to be looked at again? You’ll need to be clear about how the University's action or inaction has impacted you and the actual loss that you have suffered.
  • Be prepared: Once you know you have cause for complaint or grounds for appeal you should collect together as much evidence as possible such as reference to phone conversations or previous correspondence.Most student contact is recorded on our Customer Relationship Management system and can be retrieved by the investigator; so even if you do not have a copy of, for example, email correspondence you should refer to it anyway.
  • Start your complaint or appeal: We want to ensure your complaint or appeal is dealt with as quickly as possible, you should follow the correct link below to get your complaint straight to the right contact for your situation.

Complaints in writing

We recommend that you submit your complaint in writing using the correct form to ensure your complaint gets straight to the most appropriate department of the University or to our specialist team of advisers. Set out your complaint clearly, stating the problem and including any details of specific events; attach copies of any relevant evidence. Be firm but polite and be clear about the resolution you want.

Complaints by phone

If you prefer to raise your complaint by phone, students can use the online process to find the correct number. If you are not a student you can call our complaints team on +44 (0)1908 659535. It's often helpful to write down what you want to say before you call. That way you can make sure you raise all the important points. Have a pen and paper to hand when you make the phone call so you can note down any important information such as the date and time of the call, who you spoke to and what they said they would do by when.

Online complaints process

Support with making a complaint

If you are a student, the Open University Students Association advice and representation hub can provide support and advice when you need it. They can also provide you with independent, free and confidential advice while processing a complaint through their individual representation service.

Assistance for students with disabilities

Our online process has been developed to accessible standards. However, if you're disabled and would like to receive information in an alternative format please contact the Student Casework Office (SCO). We can also offer assistance if you wish to discuss any reasonable adjustments to the formal complaints and appeals procedures.

If you experience difficulties in expressing your concerns, either in writing or by phone, and you require assistance please contact the Student Casework Office (SCO). We can assist you in a number of ways including arranging for you to dictate your concerns over the phone at an arranged time.

If you're worried about making a complaint or appeal

You should be confident that raising a genuine concern or querying a decision will not disadvantage you or affect your relationship with the University in any way.

If you're concerned that raising a query or concern may affect your relationship with, for example, your tutor if you are a student, please contact the Student Casework Office (SCO). We'll look into the background of the complaint and identify whether there is any legitimate cause for you to be apprehensive.

We can talk to you about the implications of submitting a formal complaint. We can reassure you that if there is any evidence at all that submitting a query or concern is causing you a disadvantage there is action we can take on your behalf to put that right. This could involve asking a third party to investigate to ensure objectivity. It might also be possible to move you to another tutor group or for a member of staff to mediate the complaint on your behalf.

If you've already made a complaint and believe that you've been disadvantaged as a result you should contact the Student Casework Office (SCO) to discuss making a formal complaint about the member of staff who has disadvantaged you. The SCO staff will support you in making that complaint and will liaise with other areas of the University on your behalf if you'd prefer not to do that yourself.

Confidentiality and the right to reply

Please be assured that your complaint or appeal will be dealt with in confidence and only shared with staff who need to know in order to investigate and respond to the issues you've raised. You should note, however, that any person identified in a complaint or involved in making a decision you are querying will be given the right to reply.

Last updated 3 months ago