How we handle complaints

Statement on handling student complaints submitted to the Cathedrals Group

The Cathedrals Group is a partnership of fifteen universities working together on issues, projects, and research that reflects the shared history, values, and ethos of its members. The Group’s work is guided by its Constitution.

Some work the Group does together is student-facing. That means its members may combine their resources and expertise to run events, opportunities, research, and projects that either involve students directly, or are designed to benefit students.

When members do this, the staff from each participating university and the support staff who work for the Cathedrals Group will ensure that they talk in advance, so that everyone is clear about the standards of service that students from across the participating universities can expect. The Group strives for quality, so if a student engages in a piece of Cathedrals Group work, they receive the same high standards they would expect directly from their own university.

If something the Group works on together does not meet these standards, or something happens that causes any participating student’s concern, or distress, action will be taken to deal with it quickly, fairly, and effectively.

Each Cathedrals Group university has a Complaints Procedure that sets out how student complaints will be addressed.  Students can find this on their institution’s website. A student wishing to make a complaint about any activity they have been involved in that is connected to, or facilitated by the Cathedrals Group, should begin by approaching the relevant member of staff involved in that work at their own university. If a student is unsure who this is, they can seek advice by contacting the Cathedrals Group Office.

Issues should always be raised at the earliest opportunity, so that they can be investigated and dealt with promptly. It is important that any issue concerning the Cathedrals Group is raised within three months of it occurring to provide the best chance to investigate it thoroughly and accurately. Any complaint should be set out clearly with supporting evidence and using the respective university’s procedure.

Where the complaint requires further consideration, or exploration, the Cathedrals Group will support the appropriate member of staff from the complainant’s university to investigate the issue raised in full. This will be done in two ways:

    • With support from the Cathedrals Group Support Office, who are usually involved in the oversight and administration of activity connected to the Group.
    • With support from the named lead member of staff from the institution leading or hosting the piece of work in question. For example, if the complaint related to the Group’s annual Choirs Festival, then the named lead from the host institution would be informed and asked to provide all necessary support and information.

If a complaint cannot be dealt with satisfactorily at the initial stages and should further consideration be required in relation to the conduct or role of the Cathedrals Group collectively, or its support office specifically, then any matter can be escalated to the Chair of the Group and ultimately to the Group’s Executive Committee. This route is available to complement, support and inform the actions of the complainant’s host university, it does not supersede that host university’s complaints procedure.

None of the above negates the right of the complainant to seek redress through the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. In this case, the process for taking this step is set out in each member university’s complaints procedure.