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Complaints Procedure

It is the policy of the College to ensure that the service and teaching provided meets and exceeds the expectations of all our Customers. To support this, we actively seek feedback from all users of our services. We encourage our customers to complain if they feel that their expectations have not been met. The College will use a structured approach to ensure the problem is resolved and will use this information to implement continuous improvement and promote good practice.

Responsibility

The Quality Systems Manager and the Quality Systems Administrator are responsible for the administration and reporting of the processes as stated in this procedure.

The Programme Manager/ Assistant Principal Teaching & Learning/Unit Manager or members of the Executive are responsible for ensuring that all complaints are investigated to identify the root causes and ensure corrective/preventative actions are taken to the satisfaction of the customer.

Procedure

The procedure will be implemented each time a formal complaint is raised.

  1. A customer complaint will generally be raised using the Customer Complaints Form QAF 9.02A however there will be times that complaints are made by letter or telephone.
  2. All complaints must be sent to the Quality Systems Administrator who will log the details into the complaints database.
  3. The Quality Systems Administrator will acknowledge the complaint and our intentions by letter. This must be completed within 48 hours from receipt of thecomplaint.
  4.  QAF9.02A and any supporting information will be sent to the relevant ProgrammeManager / Assistant Principal Teaching & Learning / Unit Manager or memberof the Executive for investigation.
  5. If the complaint is about a member of staff the person responsible for the investigation will as part of the early stages of the investigations hold ameeting with the member of staff to obtain their response to the allegationsbeing made.
  6. The person responsible for the investigation will use a team approach when ever possible to ensure that the root cause is identified and what the correctiveaction needs to be. This will be recorded on page 2 of QAF 9.02A.
  7. This must be completed within 10 working days from receipt of the complaint unless circumstances require a longer period of investigation.
  8. If more time is needed, the person investigating the complaint will contact the complainant and explain why and when they can expect a response. This must beagreed with the Quality Systems Administrator.
  9. Once the investigation has taken place, the QAF 9.02A, supporting information and evidence of corrective actions will be returned to the Quality SystemsAdministrator.
  10. Once an agreed outcome has been met the Quality Systems Administrator will ensure that written confirmation is sent out to close off the complaint. The detailsof the outcome will be provided by the member of staff responsible forinvestigating the complaint.
  11. All relevant information is then retained in the Quality Assurance Department.

Appeals

  1. If a complainant is dissatisfied with the way the College has dealt with their complaint, they have the right of appeal which must be submitted in writing to the College Principal, within 10 working days of the date of the final response letter being issued.
  2. The Principal will respond within 10 working days and arrange an appropriate time to meet the complainant.
  3. Prior to the meeting the Principal will conduct a review of the investigations to ensure that the complaint has been appropriately handled and conducted correctly and fairly. At this stage the Principal can also include other members of staff or external bodies if it is deemed that their expertise or impartiality is required
  4. Following the meeting with the complainant, the Principal will either give a final decision after the meeting or respond in writing within 5 working days. At this stage the Principal’s decision will be final.
  5. If a complainant is still dissatisfied with the final decision, they have the right to appeal to either the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) or the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). These bodies may not investigate the original complaint against the College but will look at whether the complaint has been appropriately handled. Please see links below.
  6. Note: If the initial complaint is against the Principal, then the Governing Body will deal with the complaint and follow the complaints and appeal procedure above. 

Related Quality Forms

"How to Make a Complaint about Providers of Education and Training", from the Skills Funding Agency.

Complaints against providers booklet

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/reg/forstudents/Student,complaints/ from the Higher Education Funding Council for England

QAF 9.02A Customer Complaints Form 

Student Guidance ‘How to make a complaint’. (See Student Services)

Issue Date 30/06/2014

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