Complaints & Comments
This Policy is based on the following principles:
- equality of opportunity throughout all College activities and the learning experience
- provision of an open and transparent process
- resolution of complaints in a fair and equitable way within agreed timescales
- absence of victimisation once a complaint has been reported
- continuous service improvement as part of the College’s quality strategy
Guernsey College Student Complaint Procedure is intended to bring matters of concern about Guernsey College to the attention of the College managers and enable the efficient investigation of those concerns. The person making any complaint will feel aggrieved with the College, so dealing with the complaint courteously and effectively can do much to restore the person’s confidence in the College for the future.
Having a comments/complaints procedure, understood and followed by all members of the College, is essential if complaints are to be handled consistently. The purpose of a comments/complaints system is to listen to the voice of the learner and focus on resolving complaints quickly. Some complaints will be dealt with on the spot, many will require a full and thorough investigation.
This procedure is open to all students of the College (including the parents/guardians of students under 18 years of age) but not any other third party.
Complaints will be dealt with
- Formally by the Principal who will log and co-ordinate all formal complaints.
- Or informally by any member of staff either immediately at the point of the complaint. This encourages speedy response and ownership of complaints
A complaint can be an oral or written expression of dissatisfaction about an aspect of a service or facility provided by the College.
Complaints require investigation to enable resolution; where a complaint is made anonymously, it will not be possible to undertake such an investigation. For practical reasons, therefore, normally no action will be taken in the event of complaints made anonymously. There may, however, be exceptional circumstances where the College deems it appropriate to take action or investigate a matter on the basis of a complaint that is made anonymously.
Third Party Complaints
No investigation of a complaint made on behalf of a student will be undertaken without that student’s written agreement to the concerns raised, and their written consent for an investigation to be carried out. This includes complaints made by the parent or spouse of the student concerned. Once a student reaches 18, unless special circumstances apply, no one can complain on their behalf.
Vexatious or Malicious Complaints
The College may consider invoking the College’s Disciplinary Procedure in those cases where complaints are found to be vexatious or malicious. A vexatious or malicious complaint is defined as a complaint which is patently unsustainable, having been put forward so as to abuse the process of the procedure or, for example, to attempt to defame the name or character of another person.
Where a complaint is brought by a group of students, one person should be prepared to act as spokesperson and correspondent for the purposes of the formal procedure, and each member of the group must be able to demonstrate that they have been personally affected by the matter which is the subject of the complaint. In addition, all complainants must agree in writing to the spokesperson acting on their behalf.
Scope and Purpose
The Complaints Procedure aims to be simple, clear and fair to all parties involved, with informal resolution an option at any point. Complaints will be handled sensitively and with due consideration to confidentiality for all involved. Any person named in a complaint will be informed of the substance of the complaint at an appropriate point and will have the right to reply as part of the investigation.
Detailed information contained within the complaint will be made available only to those involved in its resolution. Summaries of complaints are recorded for quality assurance purposes.
This policy applies to all aspects of the College experience, all forms of teaching and learning and all activities where learning takes place.
No complainant of the College bringing a complaint under this procedure, whether successfully or otherwise, will be treated less favourably by anyone at the College than if the complaint had not been brought. If evidence to the contrary is found in this regard those treating the complainant less favourably may be subject to disciplinary proceedings under the College Disciplinary Policy.
It is expected that, except in exceptional and fully documented circumstances, anyone who wishes to make a complaint will invoke the Informal Procedure within one calendar month of the incident which is the cause for complaint.
The College confirms that it will listen to and investigate all complaints that clearly express the nature of their complaint and the remedy sought. The Vice Principal shall be entitled to dismiss at an early stage, complaints where no prima facie case has been made out. All complaints will be investigated thoroughly and fairly. The information obtained by the College through its investigation of complaints will be used to improve its services.
If the complaint is of a criminal nature, the matter will be immediately referred to the Principal who may, where appropriate, inform the police.
The Principal will be kept informed of all complaints received against the College concerning student welfare.
The confidentiality of all parties to a complaint shall be respected.
To provide stakeholders with the opportunity to formally record concerns about the quality of his or her experience at the College and provide Governors’ with an awareness of issues associated with complaints
All substantive complaints are to be referred to the Principal and recorded in the Complaints Log
All aspects of the work of the College where there has been a complaint by letter, email, telephone or interview
Any verbal complaints are to be dealt with informally in the first instance. Every effort should be made to proactively address the complaint. The line manager for the area should be informed who shall review action taken and log the complaint.
Where a complaint cannot be resolved, after all attempts have been made to resolve it, and/or a formal written complaint is received the complaint should be referred to the Principal
Formal Complaint – Stage One (five working days)
The Principal allocates complaint to a senior manager for investigation.
The Principal writes to complainant acknowledging receipt of complaint – confirming initial action taken and providing a summary of the process and contact names. (Where necessary arranging a meeting to discuss the complaint)
All complaints will be recorded on the Complaints Log
Formal Complaint – Stage Two (15 working days)
The senior manager summarises findings, compiles a response and sends completed documentation to the Principal.
The Principal sends response to complainant.
Appeal Stage 3 (20 working days)
If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, the Principal will allocate the complaint to the Post 16 Officer at the Education Department, the Principal, working with the Post 16 Officer, will write to complainant indicating action taken / to be taken (where necessary arranging a meeting to discuss the complaint).
If still not satisfied the complainant can contact the Director of Education.
The Complaints Logs will be evaluated periodically by the College’s Board of Governors and will be used in evidence in self-assessment.
Where possible, action taken and impact made will be reported to the individual making the suggestions and generally publicised.