“Universities should include mediation in their framework for handling student complaints,” says the IOAHE – and so say all of us at CMP! The formal process is long, complex and saps everyone’s time and energy; most students with complaints about staff behaviours and attitude would prefer to talk it out, in our experience.
The new and updated “Good Practice Framework for Handling Complaints and Academic Appeals” provides an overview of the key factors to include in effective complaints and academic appeals processes. It sets out underlying principles and operational guidance to support institutions in areas including timeframes, progression between informal, formal and review stages, and record-keeping.
Mediation and conciliation
Mediation and conciliation are usually voluntary processes where an impartial, independent third party helps parties to a dispute resolve issues confidentially. Using mediation or conciliation during the early resolution stage can help both parties to understand what is driving the concern and may be more likely to result in a swift and mutually satisfactory conclusion being reached. Mediation or conciliation may be particularly helpful in resolving disputes between students.
Where both the university and the student agree to mediation or conciliation in the formal stage of considering a complaint, revised timescales may need to be agreed between the parties and confirmed in writing. All parties need to be clear about the scope of the mediation or conciliation process, how the arrangement fits with other procedures, and whether its use is subject to the parties agreeing in advance to accept the solution offered by the conciliator. The formal process may need to be re-started if agreement cannot be reached.
Download the full report here: