A complaint is any type of problem, concern or grievance about your studies, student life, the University or the University environment.
In most cases, concerns can be simply and quickly resolved by raising them directly with the person or area responsible. In instances where issues cannot be resolved (see Steps 1 & 2), a complaint can be made (see Step 3).
Complaints are often resolved quickly and satisfactorily through University Assisted Resolution. This usually involves raising the issue with staff closest to the matter. You will not suffer detriment or disadvantage as a direct result of raising your concern with the University.
If your issue relates to a course you are taking, the first step is to speak with your course tutor or coordinator. If you are not comfortable having a conversation with course staff for any reason, Schools have a Grievance Officer whose role is to assist you with any issues related to your studies at UNSW. Below are some tips on who to contact and what to say:
Depending on the nature of the complaint, relevant staff members may include:
If you are a Higher Degree Research Student, relevant staff members may include:
When sending an email to the relevant staff member, be sure to include the following details
If you have tried Steps 1 and 2 and your concerns have not been resolved, you can lodge a complaint here.
Below are some tips when making your complaint.
The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. However, please keep in mind the University’s ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited and you will also not be provided the outcome of your complaint.
Once you make a complaint online, you will receive acknowledgement within 24 hours. The Conduct and Integrity Office (CIO) will look to resolve the complaints process within 20 to 30 working days. Some complaints may take longer and you'll be kept informed.
To start, the CIO will assess your complaint to see what steps have been taken at a local level. Except in very serious cases, if you have not attempted to resolve your issue through Steps 1 and 2 above, you will be referred back to the appropriate local area to attempt to resolve the issue.
Once the CIO have assessed that you have taken all reasonable attempts to resolve your issue, we will contact you to confirm the issues you are concerned about and the outcomes you are seeking. If the concerns raised cannot be resolved through mediation, the CIO may commence an investigation into your complaint.
If you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you may request an Internal Review. An Internal Review may only be requested on the grounds of a lack of procedural fairness in the investigation process, or where there is new and compelling information not available at the time of the investigation.
You can only request an internal review at the conclusion of the complaints process, and the request must be received within 20 working days of receiving the determination outcome. In exceptional circumstances, the Independent Review Officer (IRO) may extend the deadline of 20 working days following a request for an extension from the student or staff member in writing.
It is NOT possible to request an Internal Review on the merits of a decision.
Procedural fairness is about ensuring that:
Once a determination has been made by the appropriate decision maker, you may request an Internal Review.
For more detailed information, please see the Complaints Management & Investigations Policy & Procedure.
You can lodge a complaint to an external agency at any time.
External agencies include:
Please keep in mind that some external agencies may require you to have lodged an internal complaint first.
You may withdraw your complaint at any time by notifying the University in writing. In most instances the University will take no further action. However, in some circumstances the University may act on matters raised in or related to the complaint or refer the matter to an external agency, where authorised or required to do so by law. In these situations, the University may notify the complainant.
UNSW will maintain a record of all complaints on Case IQ, at all stages of the complaints handling process. Records may also be kept of local level complaints. The University respects the wishes of those wanting to remain anonymous. Please keep in mind, however, UNSW's ability to investigate an anonymous complaint may be limited.
Learn more about UNSW's Privacy Statement.