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 Complaints

​Edinburgh Napier University has always been committed to attempting to resolve any matters of complaint via a fair, efficient and transparent process.

​Information on making a complaint

Edinburgh Napier University is committed to attempting to resolve any matters of concern our students have via a fair, efficient and transparent process. The University will look to resolve any issues informally in the first instance and as quickly as possible.

​The information on this page is aimed at providing students with an overview of how attempts can be made to resolve issues as and when they arise, how to make complaints and more.

Options for informal resolution

We ask that students make us aware of any problems they are encountering or issues they have with any University process as soon as they arise. The sooner we are made aware of any issue the chances of an effective resolution being implemented, the prevention of the issue getting worse and the prevention of any new issues developing are all increased.

Before making a complaint, we ask that students consider the following sources of support and feedback mechanisms when a problem is first identified:

  1. Discuss the matter with the member of staff concerned.
  2. If option 1 is not favoured/possible, discuss with Programme Leader or Personal Development Tutor to see if they can assist with a resolution.
  3. Raise any issues with the Class Representative who can in turn raise through the Staff-Student Liaison Committee and Programme Board of Studies processes.
  4. Make contact with a member of the Edinburgh Napier University Students’ Association’s advice team – ENSA Advice. Advice provided by this service is independent of the University and ENSA Advice staff can assist and advise on a number of issues.
  5. Contact the University’s Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Manager (ACCM) for advice by contacting complaints@napier.ac.uk

Making a complaint​

We recognise that not all issues can be resolved informally and where an attempt to resolve a matter informally has not resulted in a satisfactory resolution or a matter is deemed too serious to go through any informal resolution, the University’s Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP)​ can be used.   

The CHP is designed to ensure that any issues are investigated as thoroughly as possible before providing the final response/offer of resolution.

Universities and Colleges across Scotland are required by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to use an adaptation of their Complaints Handling Procedure.

There are examples of what the CHP can and cannot be used for within it. Students are asked to read the related documentation (links below) before making a complaint.

Academic Judgement

If we believe any complaint made by a student is based purely on a question of a member of staff’s academic judgement then it will not be upheld. For example, we will uphold complaints where it is proven teaching, supervision and assessments have not been delivered as outlined in the module descriptor without adequate mitigation being put in place or where it is found a student has been in receipt of poor service. We will not uphold complaints made on the basis of a student suggesting they believe they deserve a better mark without them evidencing why they believe they were disadvantaged and how this impacted their assessment performance.

The decision on whether any matters pertaining to a complaint are purely challenges of academic judgement will rest with the staff investigating the complaint in conjunction with senior academic staff. Those termed as senior academic staff include School Academic Leads, Programme Board Conveners and members of the University’s Senior Leadership Group. In such cases, senior staff may wish to take advice from a Professor or senior academic expert from the subject area concerned.

Contact us

For any queries with regard to the Complaints Handling Procedure, contact Richard Bews Appeals, Complaints & Conduct Manager at R.Bews@napier.ac.uk, complaints@napier.ac.uk or call 0131 455 2396.

Contact is preferable via email in the first instance in order to arrange a suitable appointment time but short notice consultations and telephone appointments may be available, though cannot be guaranteed.

Support with Complaints

You may also wish to contact a member of University Academic or Administrative staff such as your Programme Leader, Year Tutor, Personal Development Tutor (PDT) or a member of School Office administration staff.

All students have the right of access to the services provided by Edinburgh Napier Students’ Association (ENSA) or member of staff from the Edinburgh Napier Students' Association Advice service (ENSA Advice). ENSA Advice can help you make a complaint and support/accompany you during the process. They can also assist you if you are subject to a complaint.

To guarantee you will get to see someone and to avoid a wasted journey, contact via email or telephone is preferred in the first instance to determine a suitable appointment time.

Drop in appointments may be available though no guarantee can be made that you will be able to see someone straight away, or even on the day, on a “drop-in” basis.

Dealing with a complaint made anonymously/protecting a complainant’s anonymity

Our CHP states that we will consider complaints submitted anonymously if there is enough information in the complaint to enable us to make further enquiries. If, however, an anonymous complaint does not provide enough information to enable us to take further action, we may decide not to pursue it further. However, the University may give consideration to the issues raised, and will record the complaint so that corrective action can be taken as appropriate.

Any decision not to pursue an anonymous complaint must be authorised by the University Secretary or his/her nominee. If an anonymous complaint contains serious allegations, it should be referred to the Dean of the School/ Director of Service concerned immediately for consultation with the University Secretary.

On rare occasions we may withhold the name of a person making a complaint during either stage of the CHP but this will only be done in exceptional circumstances with the recognition that withholding names may mean that it is not possible to investigate/pass judgement on the complaint.

Students Subject to Complaint

Students are reminded of their obligation to adhere to the Student Conduct Regulations, the Student Charter and the Campus and Classroom Student Code.

Any complaints we receive about our students, be they from a fellow student, member of staff or member of the public, will be taken very seriously and if there is suspected misconduct the Student Conduct Regulations will be invoked and sanctions, including potential exclusion from the University, may be applied.

If a student is subject to a complaint, the support offered in the Support with Complaints section above is available.

Reporting Verbal or Physical Abuse

All users of our campuses should be able to do so without fear of or being subject to any form of verbal or physical abuse. The document Reporting Abuse​ explains how to report abuse and how any reports made will be handled.

Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour Policy

​The University believes that 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. We consider the impact of the behaviour on our ability to do our work and provide a service to others. The University's Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour Policy explains how we will approach these situations.

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