Making a complaint

If something goes wrong, or you're dissatisfied with our services, please tell us by emailing complaints@napier.ac.uk.
We're committed to attempting to resolve any complaints via a fair, efficient and transparent process. We seek to resolve complaints as quickly as possible while ensuring any issues are investigated thoroughly before providing a final response or offer of resolution.
 

All matriculated students have the right of access to the services provided by Edinburgh Napier Students' Association or members of staff from ENSA Advice.

We recommend that you make an appointment if you want to meet in person. Drop-in sessions may be available, but there is no guarantee you will be able to see someone straight away, or even on the day.

Download a full copy of our Complaints Handling Procedure.

How do I make a complaint?

It is easier for us to resolve complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned. So please talk to a member of our staff within the department you are complaining about. Then they can try to resolve any problems on the spot.

If you're not satisfied with the response, contact complaints@napier.ac.uk. When complaining, tell us:
  • your full name and address
  • as much as you can about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong
  • how you want us to resolve the matter

What is a complaint?

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.

What can I complain about?

You can complain about things like:
  • the quality and standard of any service we provide
  • the quality of our facilities and learning resources
  • the quality and standards of academic services and personal support services available to you
  • the quality and standards of administrative processes
  • unfair treatment by a student or staff member

What can’t I complain about?

There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints handling procedure.

These include:
  • a routine first-time request for a service
  • a request for information or an explanation of policy or practice
  • a request under freedom of information or data protection legislation
  • requests for compensation from the University
  • things that are covered by academic appeals, such as academic judgements and decisions
  • an issue which is being, or has been, considered by a court or tribunal
We also can't investigate any attempt to reopen a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision following an investigation. If you are still not satisfied, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for an independent review of the complaint. 

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?

Anyone who receives, requests or is directly affected by the services of the University can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service.

If you are making a complaint on someone else’s behalf you will need their personal written consent.

How long do I have to make a complaint?

Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:
  • the event you want to complain about, or
  • finding out that you have a reason to complain

In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.

What happens when I have complained?

Our complaints procedure has two stages.

Stage one: frontline resolution

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service. This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem. Where possible, your concerns should be raised with the relevant staff member, tutor, University representative or school office. 

This can be done face-to-face, by phone, in writing or by email. We will give you our decision at stage one in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you are not satisfied with the response we give at this stage, we will tell you what you can do next. 

If you choose to, you can take your complaint to stage two of the complaints procedure. You may choose to do this immediately or shortly after you get our initial decision.

Stage two: investigation

Stage two deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at stage one and those that are complex and require detailed investigation. 

We have a complaint form, which will help you to state your complaint clearly to us. Although we will also accept complaints that are made in person or on the phone, we encourage you to complete the complaint form in the interests of clarity and in order to best assist the investigation process.

When using Stage two we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
  • give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days

If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.

What if I’m still dissatisfied?

After we have fully investigated, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it. The SPSO can't normally look at:
  • a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO)
  • events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago
  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court
You can contact the SPSO:
  • in person, at 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NS
  • by post, at Freepost SPSO
  • by phone on 0800 377 7330
  • via their website

Getting help to make your complaint

We understand that you may be unable, or reluctant, to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service. We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate, if you have given them your written consent to complain for you.

Unreasonable complainant behaviour

All complainants have a right to be heard, understood and respected. 

Occasionally, the behaviour of individuals using our complaints procedure may make it very difficult for us to deal with their complaint. In a very small number of cases, the behaviour becomes unacceptable because it involves abuse of our staff or our processes. When this happens we have to take action to protect our staff. 

Our unreasonable complainant behaviour policy explains how we will approach these situations.

Reporting

In line with the requirements of the Complaints Handling Procedure a quarterly report is produced for the University’s senior management as follows:

  • January – covering reporting quarter 1; period 1 September to 30 November inclusive
  • April - covering reporting quarter 2; period 1 December to 28/29 February inclusive
  • July - covering reporting quarter 3; period 1 March to 31 May inclusive
  • October - covering reporting quarter 4; period 1 June to 31 August inclusive

Internal annual reporting on complaints is done as part of the annual report on Appeals, Complaints and Conduct which is presented to University committees including Academic Board and Court. The paper is presented to these committees as they meet between the January and July which follow the end of the academic year the previous August.

We have also published a statistical report on complaints received in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Useful contacts

University complaints office
Appeals, complaints and conduct
Merchiston Campus
Edinburgh
EH10 5DT 

Tel: 0131 455 2396
Email: complaints@napier.ac.uk 

Edinburgh Napier Students' Association
Room B3
Merchiston Campus
Edinburgh
EH10 5DT 

Tel: 0131 229 8791 
Email: nsa@napier.ac.uk 

ENSA Advice
Room B34
Merchiston Campus
Edinburgh
EH10 5DT

Tel: 0131 229 8791
Email: ensa.advice@napier.ac.uk

We are committed to making our service easy to use for all students. In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help you access and use our services. 

If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another language or format, such as large font, or Braille, please tell us in person, contact us on 0131 455 2396 or email us at complaints@napier.ac.uk.