Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge
CHAPTER II
pp. 208–218
MATRICULATION, RESIDENCE, ADMISSION TO DEGREES, DISCIPLINE

In this section

REGULATIONS FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF COMPLAINTS AND REQUESTS FOR REVIEW BY STUDENTS

Grace 3 of 5 July 2017

1. The General Board shall publish and keep under review the following for the consideration of complaints and examination review by any person who has matriculated as a student and is currently pursuing a course of study in the University, or is pursuing a course of study leading to the award of a degree, diploma, or certificate of the University, or who held such student status at the time of the circumstances about which the complaint is being made:

  1. (a)a procedure and explanatory notes for the review of examination results;
  1. (b)a procedure and explanatory notes for investigating and determining complaints about the University’s action or lack of action, or the provision of service by or on behalf of the University.

2. The General Board shall publish and keep under review a procedure and explanatory notes for the review of decisions made by such University bodies as shall be determined from time to time by the General Board.

3. The procedures under Regulation 1 shall include an informal local stage, a formal stage, and a review stage. During the formal stage, the matter shall be investigated and initial decisions (including whether the complaint should be considered under another procedure in accordance with Regulation 6) shall be taken by a University officer who may:

  1. (a)require any member of the University to provide information and assistance;
  1. (b)seek external advice and assistance.

4. The decision at the conclusion of the formal stage following investigation and at the review stage of the procedures under Regulation 1, and at the conclusion of the review procedure under Regulation 2, shall be taken by a University officer who is a member of the academic staff of the University.

5. The procedures under Regulations 1 and 2 shall be concluded by the issue of a letter to the student who brought the complaint or other matter which confirms, in accordance with guidance published from time to time by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, that the University’s internal procedures have been exhausted.

6. The following shall not be considered under the procedures:

  1. (a)complaints or other matters concerning College provision;
  1. (b)complaints or other matters to which other University procedures apply unless otherwise determined by the relevant University officer under Regulations 3 or 4 above.

7. The University will act reasonably in considering complaints and other matters under the procedures, having regard to the individual circumstances of the case. Every effort will be made to ensure that all parties are treated with fairness and dignity. None of those carrying out the procedures will have any previous knowledge of the case or any material connection with any party to the complaint or other matter. In the event of a conflict of interest arising, the Vice-Chancellor shall have power to appoint other University officers to act in place of, and with the same powers as, those appointed under the procedures.

8. If a complaint or other matter is upheld, the University officer who is a member of academic staff under Regulation 4 shall be empowered to require any member of the University and/or any University institution to take such action as the University officer considers necessary. If the member of the University and/or University institution is unable or unwilling to act, the University officer may refer the matter to the competent authority for the institution concerned.

9. The Council and the General Board shall receive a report annually on the number, type, and outcomes of complaints and other matters considered under the procedures, together with any recommendations concerning those procedures.

Student Complaint Procedure

Approved by the General Board on 5 July 2017

1. Glossary of key terms

1.1. In this procedure the following terms shall have the meanings set out below:

Case Handler

A member of OSCCA who determines whether a complaint is eligible to be investigated and who conducts any subsequent investigation under the Formal Resolution stage

Complainant

A Registered Student who has made a complaint under this procedure

Complaint Officer

A trained member of academic staff who decides whether a complaint is upheld or dismissed under the Formal Resolution stage

Completion of Procedures Letter

A letter that confirms the end of the University’s internal proceedings, following which, a student may be able to raise a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

Institution

The body which the Complainant believes is responsible for the action or lack of action or the provision of the service about which is the subject of the complaint including, but not limited to: Faculties, Departments, non-School institutions, and administrative offices within the Unified Administrative Service

OSCCA

The Office of Student Conduct, Complaints, and Appeals

Registered Student

A person who has matriculated as a student and is currently pursuing a course of study in the University; or any person pursuing a course of study leading to the award of a degree, diploma, or certificate of the University; or a person who had such student status at the time of the circumstances about which the complaint is being made

Responsible Officer

The person authorized by the Institution to respond to complaints from Registered Students concerning an action or lack of action, or a particular service under the Local Resolution Stage

Reviewer

A trained member of academic staff who decides whether a complaint is upheld or dismissed under the Review Stage

2. Scope and principles

When does this procedure apply?

2.1. This procedure applies where a Registered Student wishes to express dissatisfaction, either about the University’s action or lack of action, or the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the University. The University includes all Faculties, Departments, non-School institutions, and administrative offices within the Unified Administrative Service. The procedure has three stages: Local Resolution, Formal Resolution, and Review.

2.2. This procedure also applies to Registered Students who wish to complain directly to the University about a service provided by another organization on behalf of the University, for example, a placement provider.

2.3. This procedure cannot be used to make a complaint relating to the following:

  1. (a)College provision, for which the student should consult the relevant College policies;
  1. (b)A decision made by an academic body regarding student progression, academic assessment or awards, for which the student should consult the examination review and examination allowances procedures;1
  1. (c)Complaints about the Students’ Unions, which should be made to the Students’ Union’s own complaints procedure in the first instance;
  1. (d)Matters covered by other University procedures including but not limited to those concerning student discipline, student harassment and sexual misconduct, fitness to study and fitness to practise.2
Advice, support, and guidance.

2.4. The General Board shall approve and keep under review explanatory notes, to be read in conjunction with this procedure. Those notes shall include a policy on the use of personal information under this procedure.3 Before making a complaint, Complainants should read the procedure and the explanatory notes on the procedure. All Complainants are encouraged to seek support from a College Tutor, a member of the Students’ Unions’ Advice Service, or other advisor of the student’s choosing.

2.5. A Complainant may be invited to attend a meeting under paragraph 3.2, 4.8, and 4.11 as part of this procedure. A Complainant who is invited to attend a meeting will be entitled to choose whether or not to attend the meeting and to be accompanied or represented by someone of the Complainant’s choosing.

2.6. This procedure is an internal process and does not have the same degree of formality as proceedings in a court of law. It is not normally necessary or appropriate for Complainants or the University to be legally represented at any meetings that form part of the procedure except in exceptional circumstances.

Who can use this procedure?

2.7. This procedure can only be used by a Registered Student who has been affected by the subject matter of the complaint. Complaints should be made by Complainants themselves, although in limited circumstances the University will accept a request from a third party acting as the Complainant’s authorized representative. In this circumstance, the University will communicate only with the authorized representative and therefore any reference in this procedure about communication to or from a Complainant includes the Complainant’s authorized representative.

2.8. Group complaints can be submitted, but a group representative must be identified with whom the University will correspond and who will be responsible for liaising with the other Complainants. In such cases, references in this procedure to the ‘Complainant’ shall be construed as referring to more than one person. The University may separate group complaints where it considers that the issues raised impact Complainants differently or where Complainants are seeking different remedies.

2.9. Anonymous complaints will not normally be accepted, as this may limit the investigation and communication of the outcome. Exceptionally, an anonymous complaint may be considered if there is a compelling case, supported by evidence, for the matter to be investigated.

Principles and delegation.

2.10. Complainants will not be disadvantaged for raising a valid complaint. The University will act reasonably in considering complaints under this procedure and decisions will be made fairly and transparently. The Responsible Officer, Case Handler, Complaint Officer, and Reviewer will have had no material involvement in the matters raised as part of the complaint or in the earlier stages of the procedure and will be independent and impartial.

2.11. Any reference in this procedure to a University officer or other named role includes a deputy appointed by that officer or role-holder to exercise the functions assigned to that officer under this procedure.

Timeliness.

2.12. Complainants are required to raise a complaint as soon as possible and within the required timeframe (see paragraph 3.1, 4.1, and 5.1). Complaints or evidence submitted outside this timeframe will not be accepted unless there is a valid reason for delay, which will be judged on a case-by-case basis by the Responsible Officer, Case Handler, Complaint Officer, or Reviewer, as appropriate.

2.13. The University aims to process any formal complaint through Formal Resolution and any Review within 90 calendar days. The 90 calendar day timeframe requires Complainants to comply with any timescales set down in this Procedure. There will occasionally be circumstances when, for good reasons, the University will need to extend the timeframe and in these circumstances the Complainant will be notified and kept updated as to the progress of their complaint.

Confidentiality.

2.14. The University will only share the information and evidence submitted in a complaint with members of staff where it is strictly necessary in order to process, investigate, and consider the complaint. All information received from a Complainant will be handled sensitively and in accordance with the Policy on the use of personal information under the Student Complaint Procedure.

Frivolous or vexatious complaints.

2.15. The Case Handler, Complaint Officer, or the Reviewer may terminate consideration of a complaint if it is considered to be frivolous or vexatious. If a complaint is terminated then the Complainant will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

Managing behaviour.

2.16. Complainants, their advisors, and staff of the University are required to communicate respectfully and reasonably at all times whilst using the procedure. Abusive or threatening behaviour and language will not be tolerated. If, following a warning, a Complainant behaves in an unacceptable manner, the Case Handler, the Complaint Officer, or the Reviewer may terminate the Complainant’s request without further consideration. If a request is terminated then the Complainant will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

Reasonable adjustments for disabled Complainants.

2.17. When using this procedure, Complainants are encouraged to provide details and evidence of any disability and/or any reasonable adjustments which may be appropriate in light of their disability. Where it may be helpful and following the consent of the Complainant, an appropriately trained University staff member may be asked to provide a decision regarding reasonable adjustments.

3. Local Resolution

3.1. Complainants should raise complaints, in writing or in person, with the Institution concerned. It is expected that an issue will be raised as soon as possible and in any event within 28 days of it occurring. Students are normally informed of the name and contact details of the Responsible Officer to approach within handbooks or other written guidance. Where a Complainant is uncertain about the identity of the Responsible Officer, the complaint should be addressed to the person responsible for the management of the service which is the subject of the complaint, or the Head of the Institution.

3.2. The Responsible Officer should respond to the complaint in a timely manner and normally within 21 calendar days of its receipt. The response should be in writing where an investigation has taken place or where the complaint is submitted in writing and should include information about the next stage of the Procedure where the Complainant remains dissatisfied with the response. Where a response cannot be provided within 21 calendar days, the Responsible Officer will write to the Complainant within that period to indicate the reasons for delay and when a response is likely to be provided. The Responsible Officer may invite the Complainant to a meeting as part of an investigation, but is not obliged to hold such a meeting.

4. Formal Resolution

4.1. Where a Complainant is either dissatisfied with the outcome of the Local Resolution; or declines to engage with Local Resolution, or where Local Resolution is inappropriate as the issues raised are serious or systemic, the Complainant can raise a complaint under Formal Resolution with OSCCA. Complainants should raise a complaint by submitting the Formal Resolution form (available at http://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk) within 28 days of either:

  1. (a)the Responsible Officer’s response to the complaint; or
  1. (b)the matter of complaint first arising, where the Complainant reasonably considers Local Resolution is inappropriate.

4.2. The Case Handler shall determine on a case-by-case basis whether the period of 28 calendar days should run from a later date in recognition of a Complainant’s further reasonable attempts at Local Resolution; or whether it is reasonable for the Complainant not to have attempted Local Resolution.

4.3. The complaint should set out the Complainant’s concerns clearly and succinctly and provide evidence to substantiate the issues raised. Evidence may include independent medical evidence, reports by professionals, financial information, or witness statements.

4.4. A Case Handler from OSCCA will consider the submitted Complaint and will make one or more of the following determinations:

  1. (a)the complaint in whole or in part is eligible to be investigated using this procedure;
  1. (b)the complaint in whole or in part should be referred for consideration under an alternative procedure;
  1. (c)the complaint in whole or in part is ineligible to be considered by the University, for example because it is out of time, lacks substantive content, or is considered malicious, vexatious, or frivolous;
  1. (d)the Complainant should attempt Local Resolution before investigation of the complaint under this stage of the procedure.

4.5. Where a determination is made under paragraphs 4.4(b)–(d), the reasons for this and information about the options available to the Complainant will be provided in writing within 7 calendar days. If the Complainant disagrees with the determination under paragraph 4.4, the reasons for the disagreement should be provided by the Complainant, in writing and within 7 calendar days of receiving the decision, to the Head of OSCCA who will review the determination within a further 14 calendar days. Where a complaint cannot be considered further by the University a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued. Where matters raised within the complaint would be more appropriately considered under alternative University procedures, the Case Handler will inform the Complainant about which matters will be considered under which procedure. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to suspend one procedure pending the completion of another.

4.6. Some requests may require the University to take swift action, for example where the issues raised have detrimental consequences for the Complainant’s mental health or where external time limits apply, for example, in meeting regulatory requirements for the completion of courses. If this is the case, this procedure may be expedited.

4.7. Where a determination is made under paragraph 4.4(a) the Complainant will be informed and the Case Handler will conduct an investigation, requiring written statements and evidence from witnesses and Institutions concerning the events and applicable procedures, as appropriate.

4.8. A Case Handler may or may not meet individually with the Complainant, the Responsible Officer, or witnesses as part of the investigation, or collect further evidence, at the Case Handler’s discretion and where the Case Handler believes it to be beneficial to do so.

4.9. The Case Handler shall prepare a report setting out the process that has been followed, the information that has been gathered, the conclusions that have been drawn, and any recommendations. The Case Handler should also consider whether mediation or conciliation might be effective at this stage.

4.10. Following investigation, the Case Handler will provide all of the materials to a Complaint Officer, appointed by the Case Handler from a panel of Complaint Officers maintained by the Council.

4.11. The Complaint Officer will consider all of the materials provided. In exceptional circumstances the Complaint Officer may request further written statements, hold a meeting with any individual involved in the complaint, and/or hold a hearing. The Complainant will receive all of the materials considered by the Complaint Officer at least 7 calendar days an advance of any meeting or hearing.

4.12. Following consideration, the Complaint Officer will have the power to make one or more of the following decisions:

  1. (a)that further steps should be taken to resolve the complaint informally (for example, through mediation with the agreement of both parties);
  1. (b)to uphold a complaint in whole or in part and where appropriate require such remedies as necessary;
  1. (c)to dismiss a complaint in whole or in part where it is found that:
  1. (i)the University acted reasonably and in line with its procedures and written documentation; and/or
  1. (ii)the substance of the complaint was not justified; and/or
  1. (iii)the Complainant has not been substantively disadvantaged by any variation in the University’s procedures or written documentation.

4.13. The Complainant will receive confirmation in writing of the Complaint Officer’s decision, the reasons for the decision, and copies of the material considered by the Complaint Officer, normally within 45 calendar days of having submitted the Formal Resolution form.

4.14. Regardless of the decision made, the Complaint Officer may make observations and recommendations to Institutions for consideration following the outcome of a complaint.  

5. Review

5.1. If a Complainant is dissatisfied following the Formal Resolution decision, the Complainant can submit a Request for Review form within 14 calendar days of the Formal Resolution decision being communicated. Alternatively, if the Complainant is dissatisfied with the decision but does not believe the reasons for the dissatisfaction would meet the grounds for a Review, the Complainant can request a Completion of Procedure letter.

5.2. The Review will not usually consider issues afresh or involve a further investigation. A Review can only be requested on the following grounds:

  1. (a)procedural irregularities that occurred during Formal Resolution, which were material or potentially material to the decision reached; and/or
  1. (b)the Formal Resolution decision is unreasonable, in that no reasonable person could have reached the same decision on the available evidence; and/or
  1. (c)the availability of new evidence, which materially impacts the complaint outcome and which, for valid reasons, could not have been submitted at an earlier stage.

5.3. If the request for Review has been made on the specified grounds and within the timeframe, as determined by OSCCA, OSCCA will appoint a Reviewer from a panel of Reviewers appointed by the Council to consider the request for Review. Where a request cannot be considered further by the University a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued.

5.4. The Reviewer will consider the Complainant’s request, the information considered during Formal Resolution, the decision, and any new information. The Reviewer may request further information.

5.5. Following investigation, the Reviewer will have the power to either:

  1. (a)uphold the complaint in whole or in part and will require such remedies as necessary; or
  1. (b)dismiss the request for Review and confirm the Complaint Officer’s decision.

5.6. The Complainant will receive the Reviewer’s decision and the reasons for the decision, in writing, normally within 28 calendar days of submitting the Request for Review form. This is the final stage of the University’s internal process and therefore the Complainant will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

6. Reporting and monitoring

6.1. OSCCA will monitor all complaints and decisions made under the procedure and will produce an annual report summarizing the anonymized decisions, remedies, and recommendations (including the implementation of these) made by Complaint Officers and Reviewers. Students’ Unions’ sabbatical officers will be invited to provide feedback on the annual report. The annual report will be submitted to the General Board’s Education Committee.

Examination Review Procedure

Approved by the General Board on 5 July 2017

1. Glossary of key terms

1.1. In this procedure the following terms shall have the meanings set out below:

Academic Judgement

The decision made by academic staff on the quality of the work itself or the criteria being applied to mark the work, which is not a permitted ground of complaint or appeal

Case Handler

Member of OSCCA or the Student Registry who determines whether a request is eligible to be investigated and conducts any subsequent investigation under the reconsideration of Examination Results stage

Candidate

A student or former student who has taken a University examination

Completion of Procedures Letter

A letter that confirms the end of the University’s internal proceedings, following which a student may be able to raise a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

Examination Results

The final results of an examination that have been agreed by the Examining Body, and subsequently provided to the Candidate, which may be by means of publication on the Candidate’s electronic student record

Examination Review Officer

A trained member of academic staff who decides whether a request for the reconsideration of Examination Results is upheld or dismissed; for Candidates for the degrees listed in the Schedule to this procedure, the trained member of academic staff will be a member of the Board of Graduate Studies

Examining Body

The University body or bodies responsible for agreeing the Examination Results (a board of Examiners, or a Degree Committee and/or the Board of Graduate Studies, as appropriate)

OSCCA

The Office of Student Conduct, Complaints, and Appeals

Reviewer

A trained member of academic staff who considers a Review of the decision following reconsideration of Examination Results under the Review Stage of the procedure

Student Registry

Administrative department that manages aspects of student administration including examination arrangements

Tutor

The Candidate’s College Tutor or equivalent officer

2. Scope and principles

When does this procedure apply?

2.1. This procedure applies where a Candidate submits a request for the reconsideration of Examination Results. The procedure has two formal stages: Reconsideration of Examination Results; and Review (see Sections 4 and 5). There is also an informal preliminary stage available for requests for the consideration of irregularities in the examination process from Candidates for examinations listed in the Schedule to the General Regulations for Examiners and Assessors4 (see Section 3).

2.2. The procedure allows for the reconsideration of Examination Results on the following grounds:

  1. (a)A procedural irregularity in the examination process that has adversely impacted on the Candidate’s Examination Results;
  1. (b)Demonstrable bias or the perception of bias within the examination process;
  1. (c)(For Candidates for the degrees listed in the Schedule to this procedure) serious illness or other grave cause which has clearly impacted upon the examination itself and of which, for sufficient reason, the Examining Body was not aware.

2.3. The procedure cannot be used for reconsideration of Examination Results relating to:

  1. (a)Arithmetical mark checks unless requested as a result of the permitted grounds; Candidates should liaise with their Tutor if they have informal questions about their marks;
  1. (b)Academic Judgement;
  1. (c)Teaching or supervision arrangements, complaints regarding which, if organized by the College should be submitted under the College’s complaints procedure, or if organized by the University should be submitted under the Student Complaints Procedure.
Advice, support, and guidance.

2.4. The General Board shall approve and keep under review explanatory notes, to be read in conjunction with this procedure. Those notes shall include a policy on the use of personal information under this procedure.3 Before requesting reconsideration of Examination Results, Candidates should read the procedure and the explanatory notes on the procedure. All Candidates are encouraged to seek support from a College Tutor, a member of the Students’ Unions’ Advice Service, or other advisor of the student’s choosing. Candidates may also choose to discuss the matter informally with their Tutor. Requests for reconsideration of Examination Results should be made by Candidates themselves, although in limited circumstances the University will accept a request from a third party acting as the Candidate’s authorized representative. In this circumstance the University will communicate only with the authorized representative and therefore any reference in this procedure about communication to or from a Candidate includes the Candidate’s authorized representative.

2.5. This procedure is an internal process and does not have the same degree of formality as proceedings in a court of law. It is not normally necessary or appropriate for Candidates or the University to be legally represented at any meetings that form part of the procedure except in exceptional circumstances.

Principles and delegation.

2.6. Candidates will not be disadvantaged for raising a valid request for reconsideration of Examination Results. The University will act reasonably in considering requests under this procedure and decisions will be made fairly and transparently. The Case Handler, the Examination Review Officer, and the Reviewer will have had no material involvement in the matters raised as part of the complaint or in earlier stages of the procedure and will be independent and impartial.

2.7. Any reference in this procedure to a University officer or other named role includes a deputy appointed by that officer or role-holder to exercise the functions assigned to that officer under this procedure.

Timeliness.

2.8. Candidates are required to request a reconsideration of Examination Results as soon as possible and within 28 days of the Examination Results becoming available. A request for reconsideration of Examination Results or evidence submitted outside this timeframe will not be accepted unless there is a sufficient reason for delay, which will be judged on a case-by case basis by the Case Handler or the Reviewer, as appropriate.

2.9. The University aims to provide a written response concluding this procedure within 90 calendar days of receipt of a formal request for reconsideration of Examination Results (including any Review). The 90 calendar day timeframe requires Candidates to comply with any timescales set down in this procedure. There will occasionally be circumstances when, for good reasons, the Case Handler, Examination Review Officer, or Reviewer will need to extend the timeframe, and in these circumstances the Candidate will be notified and kept updated as to the progress of their request.

Confidentiality.

2.10. The University will only share the information and evidence submitted in a request for review with members of staff where it is strictly necessary in order to process, investigate, and consider requests made using this procedure. All information received from a Candidate will be handled sensitively and in accordance with the policy on the use of personal information under this procedure.

Frivolous or vexatious complaints.

2.11. The Case Handler, the Examination Review Officer, or the Reviewer may terminate the reconsideration of Examination Results or Review if it is considered to be frivolous or vexatious. If a request is terminated then the Candidate will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

Managing behaviour.

2.12. Candidates, their advisors, and staff of the University are required to communicate respectfully and to behave reasonably at all times whilst using the procedure. Abusive or threatening behaviour and language will not be tolerated. If, following a warning, a Candidate continues to behave in an unacceptable manner, the Case Handler, Examination Review Officer, or the Reviewer may terminate the reconsideration of Examination Results or Review without further consideration. If a request is terminated then the Candidate will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

Reasonable adjustments for disabled Complainants.

2.13. When using this procedure, Candidates are encouraged to provide details and evidence of any disability and/or any reasonable adjustments which may be appropriate in light of their disability. Where it may be helpful and following the consent of the Candidate, an appropriately trained University staff member may be asked to provide a decision regarding reasonable adjustments.

3. Review before the Examiners confirm the Examination Results (informal)

3.1. This informal stage applies only to requests for the consideration of irregularities in the examination process received from Candidates for examinations listed in the Schedule to the General Regulations for Examiners and Assessors.5

3.2. Where a Candidate becomes aware of an irregularity, this should be reported within 5 calendar days of the examination to the Student Registry using the Representations to the Examiners form.

3.3. Where a form is received by the Student Registry, or the Student Registry becomes aware of an irregularity, it shall be communicated to the Chair of Examiners and considered by the Examiners at their final meeting. Following consideration, the Examiners shall take whatever action they think fit in the light of the representations. The consideration of the form and any action that has been taken will be recorded in the minutes of the Examiners’ meeting.

3.4. The Chair of Examiners shall communicate the outcome of any review under this section of the procedure to the Student Registry who will confirm the outcome to the affected Candidates.

3.5. Due to the short timeframe between the examinations taking place and confirmation of the list of successful candidates, Candidates are not required to raise irregularities before receiving their Examination Results and may request reconsideration of Examination Results (Section 4 of this procedure) if the Examiners have not previously considered the matter under this informal stage.

4. Reconsideration of Examination Results (formal)

4.1. Candidates may request reconsideration of their Examination Results by submitting the Examination Review form to OSCCA within 28 calendar days of receiving notification of their Examination Results (which may be communicated via their electronic student record).

4.2. A Case Handler will consider the request and will make one or more of the following determinations:

  1. (a)the request in whole or in part is eligible to be investigated using this procedure;
  1. (b)the request in whole or in part should be referred to an alternative procedure;
  1. (c)the request is ineligible to be considered by the University, for example because it is out of time, questions academic judgement, or is vexatious.

4.3. Where a determination is made under paragraphs 4.2(b) and (c), the reasons for this and information about the options available to the Candidate will be provided in writing within 7 calendar days. Where matters raised within the request would be more appropriately considered under alternative University procedures, the Case Handler will inform the Candidate about which matters will be considered under which procedure. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to suspend this procedure pending the completion of another.

4.4. If the Candidate disagrees with the determination under paragraph 4.2, the reasons for disagreement should be provided by the Candidate, in writing and within 7 calendar days of receiving the decision, to the Head of OSCCA who will review the determination within 14 calendar days. Where, in the opinion of the Head of OSCCA, a request cannot be considered further by the University a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued.

4.5. Some requests may require the University to take swift action, for example where the issues raised have detrimental consequences for the Candidate’s mental health or where external time limits apply for example in meeting regulatory requirements for the completion of courses. If this is the case, this procedure may be expedited.

4.6. Where a determination is made under paragraph 4.2(a) the Candidate will be informed and the Case Handler will conduct an investigation, requiring a factual statement and any relevant evidence from the Chair of the Examining Body.

4.7. Following receipt of the evidence requested, the Case Handler will provide all of the materials to an Examination Review Officer, appointed by the Case Handler from a panel of Examination Review Officers appointed by the Board of Examinations or nominated by the Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies.

4.8. The Examination Review Officer will consider all of the materials provided. In exceptional circumstances the Examination Review Officer may request further written statements and/or will have discretion to hold a meeting or hearing.

4.9. Following consideration of all of the evidence and whether any of the grounds under paragraph 2.2 have been met, the Examination Review Officer will have the power to make one or more of the following decisions:

  1. (a)for Candidates for the degrees listed in the Schedule to this procedure, uphold the Candidate’s request where at least one of the grounds has been met and refer the matter to the Board of Graduate Studies for reconsideration in accordance with the Board’s written rules and guidance;
  1. (b)uphold the Candidate’s request where at least one of the grounds has been met and refer the matter back to the Examining Body for reconsideration in accordance with the Examining Body’s written rules and guidance, or require the Examining Body to re-examine the Candidate in conditions considered appropriate to the Examination Review Officer including:
  1. (i)to require the Examining Body to examine or re-examine the Candidate;
  1. (ii)to require new Examiners to re-examine the Candidate;
  1. (iii)to permit the Candidate to submit a revised dissertation or other assessment;
  1. (iv)to require one or more additional Examiners to make an independent report or reports on the work submitted by the Candidate;
  1. (v)to require the Examining Body to set the Candidate new examination papers or other assessments.
  1. (c)dismiss the Candidate’s request where it is found that none of the grounds under has been met.

4.10. The Candidate will receive confirmation in writing of the decision, the reasons for the decision, and copies of the evidence considered by the Examination Review Officer, normally within 45 calendar days of having submitted the Examination Review form.

4.11. Regardless of the decision made, the Examination Review Officer may make observations and recommendations to the Examining Body for consideration following the outcome of a review of Examination Results.

5. Review (formal)

5.1. If a Candidate remains dissatisfied following the decision of the Examination Review Officer, the Candidate can submit a Request for Review form within 14 calendar days of the decision being communicated. Alternatively, if the Candidate is dissatisfied with the decision but does not believe the reasons for the dissatisfaction would meet the grounds for a Review under paragraph 5.2, the Candidate can request a Completion of Procedures letter.

5.2. The Review will not usually consider issues afresh or involve a further investigation. A Review can only be requested on the following grounds:

  1. (a)procedural irregularities that occurred during the reconsideration of Examination Results which were material or potentially material to the decision reached; and/or
  1. (b)the Examination Review Officer’s decision (and/or that of the Board of Graduate Studies under paragraph 4.9(a)) is unreasonable, in that no reasonable person or body could have reached the same decision on the available evidence; and/or
  1. (c)the availability of new evidence, which materially impacts on the Examination Review Officer’s decision and which, for valid reasons, could not have been submitted at an earlier stage.

5.3. If the request for Review has been made on the specified grounds and within the timeframe, as determined by OSCCA, OSCCA will appoint a Reviewer from a panel of Reviewers appointed by the Council, to consider the request for Review. Where a request cannot be considered further by the University a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued.

5.4. The Reviewer will consider the Candidate’s request for Review, the information considered by the Examination Review Officer and the decision reached by the Examination Review Officer, including the consideration of whether any of the grounds under paragraph 2.2 have been met. The Reviewer may request further information.

5.5. Following the consideration under paragraph 5.4, the Reviewer will have the power to make one or more of the following decisions:

  1. (a)uphold the request for Review, in whole or in part, either referring the request back to the Examination Review Officer, the Board of Graduate Studies, and/or the Examining Body for reconsideration, or requiring the Examining Body to re-examine the candidate on conditions considered appropriate to the Reviewer including:
  1. (i)to require the Examining Body to examine or re-examine the Candidate;
  1. (ii)to require new Examiners to re-examine the Candidate;
  1. (iii)to permit the Candidate to submit a revised dissertation or other assessment;
  1. (iv)to require one or more additional Examiners to make an independent report or reports on the work submitted by the Candidate;
  1. (v)to require the Examining Body to set the Candidate new examination papers or other assessments.
  1. (b)dismiss the request for Review and confirm the decision of the Examination Review Officer (and/or the decision of the Board of Graduate Studies under paragraph 4.9(a), as appropriate).

5.6. The Candidate will receive the Reviewer’s decision and the reasons for the decision in writing, normally within 28 calendar days of submitting the Request for Review form. This is the final stage of the University’s internal process and therefore the Candidate will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

6. Reporting and monitoring

6.1. OSCCA will monitor all reconsiderations of Examination Results and decisions made under the procedure and will produce an annual report summarizing the anonymized decisions, remedies, and recommendations (including the implementation of these) made by the relevant University bodies and Reviewers. Students’ Unions’ sabbatical officers will be invited to provide feedback on the annual report. The annual report will be submitted to the General Board’s Education Committee.

SCHEDULE

Examinations to which paragraphs 2.2(c) and 4.9(a) apply

Examinations, including progress examinations approved under Regulation 9 of the General Regulations for Admission as a Graduate Student,6 leading only to the following qualifications:

B.D. Degree

M.D. Degree

Vet.M.D. Degree

Ph.D. Degree

Ph.D. Degree by special regulations

Bus.D. Degree

Eng.D. Degree

M.Sc. Degree

M.Litt. Degree

M.Phil. Degree by dissertation

Certificate of Postgraduate Study

Procedure for the Review of Decisions of University Bodies

Approved by the General Board on 5 July 2017

1. Glossary of key terms

1.1. In this procedure the following terms shall have the meanings set out below:

Case Handler

A member of OSCCA who determines whether a request for Review is eligible to be investigated under the procedure

Complainant

A person who has received a decision listed in the Schedules to this procedure and has chosen to request a review of the decision

Completion of Procedures Letter

A letter that confirms the end of the University’s internal proceedings, following which a student may be eligible to raise a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

OSCCA

The Office of Student Conduct, Complaints, and Appeals

Reviewer

A trained member of academic staff who decides whether a complaint is upheld or dismissed.

2. Scope and principles

When does this procedure apply?

2.1. This procedure applies where a person who has received a decision listed in the Schedules to this procedure wishes a review of the decision to be undertaken. The Procedure has one stage: Review.

2.2. The Review will not usually consider issues afresh or involve a further investigation. The procedure allows for a decision listed in the Schedules to be reviewed on the following grounds:

  1. (a)procedural irregularities that occurred during the decision-making process, which were material or potentially material to the decision reached; and/or
  1. (b)the decision is unreasonable, in that no reasonable person or body could have reached the same decision on the available evidence; and/or
  1. (c)the availability of new evidence, which materially impacts on the outcome and which, for valid reasons, could not have been submitted at an earlier stage.
Advice, support, and guidance.

2.3. The General Board shall approve and keep under review explanatory notes, to be read in conjunction with this procedure. Those notes shall include a Policy on the use of personal information under this procedure.3 Before making a request for Review, Complainants should read the procedure and the explanatory notes on the procedure. All Complainants are encouraged to seek support from a College Tutor, a member of the Students’ Unions’ Advice Service, or other advisor of the student’s choosing.

2.4. This procedure is an internal process and does not have the same degree of formality as proceedings in a court of law. It is not normally necessary or appropriate for Complainants or the University to be legally represented at any meetings that form part of the procedure except in exceptional circumstances.

Who can use this procedure?

2.5. This procedure can only be used by the person who has received a decision listed in the Schedules. The request for Review can only be made by the Complainant themselves, although in limited circumstances the University will accept a request from a third party acting as the Complainant’s authorized representative. In this circumstance the University will communicate only with the authorized representative and therefore any reference in this procedure about communication to or from a Complainant includes the Complainant’s authorized representative.

Principles and delegation.

2.6. Complainants will not be disadvantaged for raising a valid complaint. The University will act reasonably in considering requests under this procedure and decisions will be made fairly and transparently. The Case Handler and the Reviewer will have had no material involvement in the matters raised as part of the complaint or in earlier stages of the procedure and will be independent and impartial.

2.7. Any reference in this procedure to a University officer or other named role includes a deputy appointed by that officer or role-holder to exercise the functions assigned to that officer under this procedure.

Timeliness.

2.8. Complainants are required to raise requests for Review as soon as possible and within 14 calendar days of the decision to be reviewed being communicated. Requests or evidence submitted outside of this timeframe will not be accepted unless there is a valid reason for delay, which will be judged on a case-by-case basis by the Case Handler or Reviewer, as appropriate.

2.9. The University aims to process any request for Review within 90 calendar days. The 90 calendar day timeframe requires Complainants to comply with any timescales set down in this procedure. There will occasionally be circumstances when, for good reasons, the University will need to extend the timeframe and in these circumstances the Complainant will be notified and kept updated as to the progress of their request.

Confidentiality.

2.10. The University will only share the information and evidence submitted in a request for Review with members of staff where it is strictly necessary in order to process, investigate, and consider the request for Review. All information received from a Complainant will be handled sensitively and in accordance with the Policy on the use of personal information under the Review of Decisions of University Bodies procedure.

Frivolous or vexatious complaints.

2.11. The Case Handler or the Reviewer may terminate a Review if it is considered to be frivolous or vexatious. If a Review is terminated then the Complainant will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

Managing behaviour.

2.12. Complainants, their advisors, and staff of the University are required to communicate respectfully and to behave reasonably at all times whilst using the procedure. Abusive or threatening behaviour and language will not be tolerated. If, following a warning, a Complainant behaves in an unacceptable manner, a Reviewer may terminate the Complainant’s Review without further consideration. If a request is terminated then the Complainant will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

Reasonable adjustments for disabled Complainants.

2.13. When using this procedure, Complainants are encouraged to provide details and evidence of any disability and/or any reasonable adjustments which may be appropriate in light of their disability. Where it may be helpful and following the consent of the Complainant, an appropriately trained University staff member may be asked to provide a decision regarding reasonable adjustments.

3. Review

3.1. If a Complainant is dissatisfied following a decision listed within the Schedules to this procedure, the Complainant can submit a Request for Review form within 14 calendar days of the decision being communicated. Alternatively, if the Complainant is dissatisfied with the decision but does not believe the reasons for the dissatisfaction would meet the grounds for a Review, the Complainant can request a Completion of Procedure letter.

3.2. If the request for Review has been made on the specified grounds and within the timeframe, as determined by the Case Handler, OSCCA will appoint a Reviewer from a panel of Reviewers appointed by the Council to consider the request for Review. Where a request cannot be considered further by the University a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued.

3.3. The Reviewer will consider the Complainant’s request, the information considered in reaching the decision, the decision itself, and any new information. The Reviewer may request further information.

3.4. Following consideration of the materials, the Reviewer will have the power to either:

uphold the request for Review in whole or in part, either referring back to the decision-making body for reconsideration, or where this would be unsuitable, requiring such remedies as necessary; or

dismiss the request for Review and confirm the original decision.

3.5. The Complainant will receive the Reviewer’s decision and the reasons for the decision, in writing, normally within 28 calendar days of submitting the Request for Review form. This is the final stage of the University’s internal process and therefore the Complainant will be issued with a Completion of Procedures letter.

4. Reporting and monitoring

4.1. OSCCA will monitor all reviews of decisions made under the procedure and will produce an annual report summarizing anonymized decisions, remedies, and recommendations (including the implementation of these) made by Reviewers. Students’ Unions’ sabbatical officers will be invited to provide feedback on the annual report. The annual report will be submitted to the General Board’s Education Committee.

SCHEDULE A

Applications Committee of the Council

Decisions taken by the Standing Committee on Applications of the Council in respect of individual students in the exercise of:

  1. (a)its powers under the regulations for Allowances to Candidates for Examinations;
  1. (b)its powers in respect of allowances of terms (exceptional permission to go out of residence, permission to return into residence, and allowance of terms for the purpose of being in standing to take examinations or proceed to the B.A. Degree) under the regulations for Residence and the Precincts of the University.

SCHEDULE B

Board of Graduate Studies

Decisions of the Board of Graduate Studies taken in respect of individual students in the exercise of its powers.

Decisions taken on behalf of the Board of Graduate Studies in respect of individual students where, following consideration, those decisions have been ratified by the Board of Graduate Studies.

SCHEDULE C

Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine

Decisions of the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine taken in respect of individual students who have applied exceptionally for an additional attempt at a Second M.B. or Final M.B. Examination under Regulations 13 or 21(b), or who have applied exceptionally for an extension of time to complete the course under Regulation 20 of the regulations for the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

SCHEDULE V

Faculty Board of Veterinary Medicine

Decisions of the Faculty Board of Veterinary Medicine in respect of individual students who have applied exceptionally for an additional attempt at any Part of the Vet.M.B. examination under Regulations 11 or 19(c) of the regulations for the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine.

SCHEDULE X

Other bodies

Board of Examinations

Decisions of the Board of Examinations in respect of candidates who for special reasons apply to be examined under conditions other than the ordinary conditions, or at other times than those previously advertised, or in respect of the conditions under which such permission is given or withheld.

General Board

Decisions of the General Board in respect of an individual candidate in exercise of its powers regarding reasonable adjustments.

Faculty Board of Law

Decisions of the Faculty Board of Law concerning applications exceptionally for an additional attempt at an examination designated as an Examination for Professional Exemption under Regulation 15 of the regulations for the Law Tripos.

Faculty Boards or comparable authorities

Decisions not to allow a student who has completed the requirement of the B.A. Degree to progress to that Part of a Tripos required for the M.Eng. or the M.Math. or the M.Sci. Degree.

Footnotes

  1. 1. Examination review procedure, see p. 212; Review of decisions of the Applications Committee of the Council, see p. 111; Review of decisions of University bodies procedure, see p. 216.a
  2. 2. Discipline, see p. 194; procedure for handling cases of student harassment and sexual misconduct, see p. 218; procedure to determine fitness to study, see p. 239; procedures to determine fitness to practise of preclinical and clinical medical students, see p. 222; procedures to determine fitness to practise of preclinical and clinical veterinary students, see p. 229.a
  3. 3. These can be viewed at: http://www.studentcomplaints.admin.cam.ac.uk.a b c
  4. 4. See p. 254.a
  5. 5. See p. 254.a
  6. 6. See p. 440.a