Appeals and Complaints

TALENT APPEALS & COMPLAINTS POLICY AND PROCEDURE

1.  Introduction and General Information

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that participants undergoing the TALENT Professional Recognition scheme Practice Route receive fair and equitable treatment under the scheme. Its specific aims are to:

  1. identify and address potential unfairness or error in the recognition process
  2. provide redress for any participant found to have been treated unfairly or inappropriately
  3. support the ongoing quality assurance and continuous improvement of the TALENT recognition scheme

Please note: As the TALENT Professional Recognition scheme Practice Route is not a validated academic programme and is, in effect, a process for the verification of professional practice, you are not classified as a student and therefore neither the University student academic appeals process nor the student complaints process are appropriate routes.

We are committed to providing high quality services to all eligible staff. We aim to provide a supportive environment and to be responsive to concerns when they are raised. However, we are a small team and we recognise that concerns may arise from time to time about support or administrative provision or with regard to the operation of our decision-making processes. We are dedicated to continuous improvement and want to learn from such concerns arising. We encourage you, therefore, to raise any problems or issues with us as soon as possible so we have an opportunity to understand where we might improve our offer and try to resolve it with you. We take seriously all concerns and issues raised with us and aim to deal with them in a timely, fair and consistent way. You will not be disadvantaged as a result of raising an issue with us.

All information submitted in relation to issues raised or complaints or appeals will be dealt with confidentially and will only be disclosed to those parties involved in resolving the concern, or as is necessary to progress the complaint.

Depending on the nature of the concern you may wish to proceed with either an Appeal or a Complaint.

Generally speaking, if you wish to report personal dissatisfaction about any of our actions, then you should be considering using the TALENT Complaints Process.

If you are unhappy with the processes of decision-making, any procedural issues connected with the scheme or the awarding process, which have resulted in specific disadvantage then you should be using the TALENT Appeals Process. Please note, however, that simple disagreement with the academic judgement cannot in itself constitute grounds for appeal.

Please note that applicants are entirely responsible for the content of their submissions and Panel decisions can only be reviewed on the grounds of:

  • incorrect or irregular application of the published decision-making procedures which materially affected your submission. For example:
      • evidence of decision-making which was not in accordance with the Advance HE Accreditation Policy
      • administrative failures which prevented your submission being properly considered
  • evidence of factually incorrect or irregular provision of advice or guidance from TALENT advisers or mentors which materially affected your submission
  1. Early Resolution

Early Resolution is the opportunity to address your concerns with appropriate University staff without needing to enter into more formal procedures. Most concerns and issues are straightforward and can be resolved very quickly. We are keen to address concerns at the time they arise preferably with the member of staff most directly involved with the concern you have. This is likely to be one of the following, all of whom welcome your feedback:

  • Workshop or writing retreat facilitator
  • Recognition Panel Chair
  • TALENT Scheme administrator

If you are not sure who to speak to, or you do not feel able to approach the person most directly involved, you can seek confidential advice regarding this from any of the people listed above or contact the TALENT scheme lead within the Provost Group.

Our commitment is that your concern will be dealt with promptly, sympathetically and with respect for privacy and confidentiality. You will receive a response through personal contact, usually via email. In most cases your concern will be resolved through this process.

Sometimes the resolution you want might not be feasible or appropriate, or we may not be able to make changes straight away. Where you feel your concern has not been resolved, you may wish to move to Formal Resolution stage.

View the Early Resolution flowchart

  1. Formal Resolution

At this stage, your complaint or appeal will be investigated by a senior academic member of staff from the University nominated by the Dean of Higher Education Practice. This member of staff will not be from the same Faculty or Directorate as you, will have no previous engagement with the case so far and will sit outside the TALENT Scheme.

We remain happy to support you with this move and, should you wish us to, we can advise you as to whether your concern sits within the TALENT Complaints process or the TALENT Appeals process. To submit a complaint or appeal you must complete a TALENT Complaint Form (TC1)  or a TALENT Appeal Form (TA1) . This form and any supporting evidence should be sent via email to an independently monitored e-mail address within Provost Group Services.

The Dean of Higher Education Practice (or nominee) will undertake an initial review of your form to determine whether it is eligible for consideration as an appeal or a complaint. The reasons why it may not be eligible include:

(i) neither the complaints procedure nor the appeals procedure is appropriate, and the issue should be dealt with by some other university procedure, for example, the disciplinary procedure or the Problem Resolution Framework;

(ii) your concerns could still be resolved under the Early Resolution process, and support can be provided towards achieving that resolution;

(iii) your submission does not relate to any of the grounds for appeal set out above.  For example where you are disagreeing with academic judgement only.

Within 3 working days of receipt of your TC1/TA1 form, you will receive an acknowledgement from the Dean of Higher Education Practice (or nominee). What happens next will depend on whether you have appropriately submitted a TC1 form (go to 4. below) or TA1 form (go to 6. below).

  1. TALENT Complaints (TC1) Procedure

Within 10 working days of receipt of the TC1 form, the investigator appointed to investigate your case will contact you to keep you informed of the stages of their investigation. Your concerns will be investigated as quickly as possible while recognising the need for a thorough investigation.

You can choose to have a meeting with the investigator. You may select the most appropriate or suitable format for this meeting be it in person, as a telephone call or, where feasible, a video link. You are welcome to bring someone to support you at any meetings that take place.

Once the investigation is concluded and the Dean of Higher Education Practice (or nominee) has been informed, the outcome will be communicated to you, via e-mail, together with what action(s) will be taken, if any.

At this point the TALENT Complaints Process is complete. If you feel that the outcome of your complaint is not reasonable or fair, you should seek further advice from HR or AdvanceHE (see paras in 5. below)

View the Complaints procedure flowchart

  1. General Points

Where a complaint concerns the conduct of a member of staff, a complaint investigator may be required to notify Human Resources of the details of complaint. A decision will then be taken as to whether and when a separate procedure is needed. Due to the confidential nature of any such proceedings you will not necessarily be entitled to know the details of any subsequent action taken or the final outcome of any such proceedings.

If you are unsure how to pursue a complaint or have queries about this procedure, you should contact talent@shu.ac.uk . If you wish to seek independent advice about your concerns, we recommend the HR Advisor  as being the appropriate source of informed and independent support.

If your complaint concerns issues that perhaps extend beyond those which directly affect you, you may also contact AdvanceHE to register your complaint by telephoning 01904 717500 in the first instance. They will talk to you about when and how they can become involved in your specific complaint and what to do next.

  1. TALENT Appeals (TA1) Procedure

If your appeal is eligible to be considered,  the appointed investigator for your case will contact you within 10 working days of receipt of the TA1 form to keep you informed of the stages of their investigation. Your concerns will be investigated as quickly as possible while recognising the need for a thorough investigation. We aim to keep you informed of progress and we will let you know as soon as possible, of any delay.

Your appeal will be investigated by a senior academic member of staff from the University nominated by the Dean of Higher Education Practice. This member of staff will not be from the same Faculty or Directorate as you and will sit outside the TALENT Scheme.

You can choose to have a meeting with the investigator. You may select the most appropriate or suitable format for this meeting be it in person, as a telephone call or, where feasible, a video link. You are welcome to bring someone to support you at any meetings that take place.

It is likely that the investigator will also be in contact with relevant University staff, scrutinise relevant TALENT records and documents, and any documents you provide with your Appeal Form (TA1) to explain or support your appeal. The written findings of the investigation will be presented to the TALENT Appeals Panel for consideration.

The TALENT Appeals Panel will be chaired by the Dean of Higher Education Practice, or nominee. The Panel will normally consist of two other members of senior academic or professional services staff with at least SFHEA or above. The Panel will not include in its decision-making process, any member of staff from your Faculty or Directorate or anyone else who has had any relevant prior involvement in the decision against which you are appealing. However, the TALENT Scheme lead will attend the Panel in an advisory capacity only.

The TALENT Appeals Panel will consider the evidence and decide whether to accept or decline your appeal. All efforts will be taken to reach a unanimous decision, but a majority decision is also acceptable. The Chair will write to you explaining the panel’s decision and what will happen next.

If your appeal is accepted, their findings will be sent to the TALENT Standardisation Panel for consideration. It will be asked to review these findings and any relevant new information or evidence. This review will take place as soon as possible and the Chair of the TALENT Standardisation Panel will write to you with the outcome of this review including any recommendations for action.

It is not within the remit of the TALENT Appeal Panel nor the TALENT Standardisation Panel itself to alter the original decision of the Recognition Panel as a result of an appeal being accepted. However, depending on the findings of the appeal panel, the Standardisation Panel may recommend that your original submission should be reviewed by a different Recognition Panel where a different decision could be made. The members of this Recognition Panel will not be made aware that your submission has been the subject of an Appeal.

If your appeal is declined, you will be informed of this outcome and the reasons for this decision. This will complete the TALENT Appeals process and no further right of appeal can be submitted.

View the Appeals procedure flowchart