How it works
Stage 1: Frontline response
We aim to respond to complaints quickly (where possible, when you first tell us about the issue). This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, or immediate action to resolve the problem.
We will give you our decision at stage 1 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 2. You must normally ask us to consider your complaint at stage 2 either:
- within six months of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain; or
- within two months of receiving your stage 1 response (if this is later).
In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a stage 2 complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.
Stage 2: Investigation
Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: where the complainant remains dissatisfied after stage 1 and those that clearly require investigation, and so are handled directly at this stage. If you do not wish your complaint to be handled at stage 1, you can ask us to handle it at stage 2 instead.
When using stage 2:
- we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
- we will confirm our understanding of the complaint we will investigate and what outcome you are looking for
- we will try to resolve your complaint where we can (in some cases we may suggest using an alternative complaint resolution approach, such as mediation); and
- where we cannot resolve your complaint, we will give you a full response as soon as possible, normally within 20 working days
If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will tell you our revised time limits and keep you updated on progress.
What if I’m still dissatisfied?
After we have given you our final decision, 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) or the Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA) (or other awarding body) to look at it. For qualifications that are regulated, if you remain dissatisfied with the way the awarding body has handled your complaint then you may complain to the qualifications regulator, SQA Accreditation.
The SPSO are not able to look at academic judgement and do not have the power to revise course awards. This can only be achieved through an academic appeals process. The SPSO consider complaints about the quality of service and maladministration, which may include issues surrounding course delivery.
In all cases, the complaint must first have been considered by the University partnership.
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 consent to complain for you.
Useful contact details:
- Highland and Islands’ Student Association: https://www.hisa.uhi.ac.uk/contacts
- Student support details: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/students/support/
- If you would prefer to offer constructive feedback rather than a formal complaint, please find details of our Red Button service here: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/students/support/red-button/
We are committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community. 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 01463 279000, or email us at email@example.com.
Our complete complaints handling process is available here: