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Overview of Complaints and feedingback

If you wish to make a complaint (formal and informal) or to feedback to the Graduate Union, the information can be found here. If in doubt please feel free to contact any of our officers, or staff, the General Manager (Ali) - manager@gradunion.cam.ac.uk may also prove a useful contact for any queries as the permanent staff member at the Union. Please note that complaints are either formal (follow a process described in the constitution) or informal

Form to make a complaint please note that the form is not a prerequisite, but sets out the information we need - you may submit by what ever format is easiest for you. 

Formal complaints (who to send to)

All complaints not involving the President or elections

Complaints about the president

Election complaints

As advised in rules

 

Informal complaints and feedback

Complaints involving

Who to contact

President

Deputy chair of the Board – email manager@gradunion.cam.ac.uk for contact details

General Manager or Vice-President or Welfare and Rights Officer

president@gradunion.cam.ac.uk

Any other staff member

manager@gradunion.cam.ac.uk

Part-time officers

Vice-president@gradunion.cam.ac.uk

 

Formal and Informal Complaint, what is the difference

A formal complaint follows a procedure that is set in the schedules of the constitution, and informed by additional Council and Internal (Trustee) policy. It therefore follows a format, and those wishing to make a formal complaint must do so in writing, stating that they want to submit a complaint, the specifics of the complaint, the harm caused, and a correspondence address (weather by mail or electronic). Formal complaints are treated with a degree of practical confidentiality, but if the complaint deal with individuals we may have to refer to the incident. If the complaint moves to a formal disciplinary, the defendant will have the right to question the witness statements. Therefore we cannot guarantee complete anonymity. 

An informal complaint has a higher degree of flexibility, and may be more appropriate for minor cases. This would not infringe your right to submit a formal complaint on the same topic, and to some extent we encourage individuals (if it is appropriate) to seek to resolve the issue brought up early to help stop undesirable consequences early . This would either be to look to improve a service or used by a line manager to monitor behavior and to organise training where appropriate. 

 

What can I complain about, and what Complaint types are there? - all the information here is based on Schedule G of the constitution, as well as the staff handbook

You can complain about anything the Union, its staff, trustees or Officers have done (please note that MCR Officers, Faculty Representatives, University Council and General Board representatives are not GU reps, - the President/Vice-President will be able to advise how to hold them to account)  .

Though democratic decisions (as opposed to democratic process') will be probably referred to GU Executive or GU Council under the banner of holding Officers to account. 

 Schedule G of the constitution (complaints) can be found here

 

Complaints Principles and Revision Limitations

1. Preamble: That the GU has a Complaints Procedure is, as of November 2008, a requirement of national law, as required by the Education Act 1994.

2. References are made in this section to the Junior Proctor of the University of Cambridge as an avenue of appeal regarding decisions made about complaints. This is because the Education Act 1994 requires that “an independent person should be appointed by the governing body of the University to investigate and report on complaints”; the Junior Proctor is designated by the University to be this independent person. Should the University designate another person for this role, then the part played by the Junior Proctor in this section should instead be played by whatever person is so designated.

3. Principle of adjudication: GU Officers or Trustees should consider complaints first and foremost on the basis of fairness. While they must consider the health of the GU, financial and otherwise, in any decision, Officers and Trustees should seek to rule on the basis of fairness to the furthest extent that is reasonable and feasible. They should not simply seek to minimise the GU’s exposure to criticism or financial outlay, except insofar as legally obliged to do so.

4. Transparency: GU complaints procedures should be made easy to locate and use. Any GU Officer or Trustee involved in advising on, processing, or adjudicating a complaint should not simply disclose required information but should also volunteer procedural information helpful to the making of a complaint. At each phase of any complaints process, the complainant and any other directly interested parties should be given full information about their potential avenues of appeal.

5. Merger and Severance: At any stage of a complaints process, relevant officers may rule that multiple complaints should be considered together or that a single complaint should be considered in separate parts or processes. Such officers have an obligation to ensure that the specifics of complaints being merged are still addressed or that the holistic merits of a complaint being separated are still