Stage Two: Formal Complaint

You can submit a formal complaint to be looked at by an Investigating Officer.

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Industrial action (strike) complaints

What, how and when you can make a complaint about the impact of strike action at Goldsmiths.

This should be done when:

  • The student declines to engage with Front-line Resolution and initiates the formal process in line with College procedures
  • Front-line Resolution was attempted, but the student remains dissatisfied and initiates the formal process in line with College procedures
  • The issues raised are complex and will require detailed investigation, for example where a complaint relates to the conduct of staff members or covers a number of different incidents

Complaints should be raised within 3 months of the events you are complaining about. Complaints raised after this time will be considered invalid and dismissed unless you can satisfy the College with evidence that it was not possible or appropriate to complain within 3 months of the event

Submitting a complaint

For your complaint to be properly investigated, it is essential that you are specific when describing its cause and nature:

  • You should provide full details, including full name, student number and term-time address and attach all relevant documentation, such as evidence
  • You should explain:
    • What attempts have already been made to resolve the complaint
    • The main points of your complaint
    • When these took place and who was involved
  • Let us know what you are looking for as an outcome to your complaint - we will take this into account so far as possible

If a problem has affected a group of students, it may be useful to submit a group complaint.

You should nominate one member of the group, to whom Goldsmiths will respond and who will inform the rest of the group as to the progress and outcome of the complaint. 

A list of the names, student numbers and signatures of all students who are party to the submission of the complaint should be included with the Stage Two form.

Depending on the nature of the complaint, we may decide to contact individual students with personalised outcomes once the complaint has been investigated.

Process after submitting a form

Initial checks

The Complaints Team will determine if the complaint is in time and if it is submitted under the correct procedures. 

The Complaints Team aim to reply to you within 5 days with any questions they have and to tell you what will happen next and how long they expect the process to take.

Investigating Officer

An Investigating Officer will be appointed, who will usually make a decision on the complaint.

For academic complaints, this is normally the relevant Head of Department. For a non-academic complaint, it is an appropriate senior member of professional services. If they have been involved in your complaint an alternative member of staff will be found.

Normally the decision will be based on the evidence presented with the complaint form but you may be asked for more information or comments during the investigation. This would normally be requested by the Complaints Team.

In many cases, the Investigating Officer would not need to make direct contact with you. However, you have the right to meet with them if you wish to.


The outcome will be communicated in writing. The Outcome Letter will also give information about:

  • Your right to take the complaint to the Stage 3 review stage
  • The grounds on which you may do so
  • The time limit for escalating to the review stage
  • The appropriate procedure
  • Where and how to access support

If your complaint is not deemed to be valid (for example it was submitted more than three months after the event concerned), we will send a Completion of Procedures Letter (CoP) explaining the final decision of the College.

If you do not accept that outcome and are still unhappy with the College’s decision, this letter will explain how to seek a review by the independent ombudsman service, of the outcome of the College complaints process.

How long formal complaints take to be resolved

We aim to resolve all complaints within 90 days of submission, though, in practice, this timeline may vary depending on the complexity of the complaint and the number of staff that need to be consulted in the investigation.

We aim to provide a decision within four to six weeks after receiving your Stage Two form and you then have one month to request a review at Stage Three.

Complaints about staff conduct may take longer as they will involve our HR department and processes.

In any event, you will be kept informed of your complaint’s progress and will be notified if its resolution is likely to take longer than anticipated.


Your complaint will be treated confidentially as far as possible, although it is necessary to share information – including the identity of the complainant - to ensure that concerns are investigated fairly and thoroughly. This also helps ensure that anyone being complained about understands the background so they can respond fully.

For this reason, anonymous complaints will not normally be accepted for investigation.


We will treat you with respect and courtesy. We expect you to treat us in a similar way.

We will investigate all concerns that a student honestly and reasonably believes to be true. It is important to raise concerns courteously and to set them out as clearly and concisely as possible.

If concerns are being made in an inappropriate way or are causing distress to others, then the Complaints Team may raise those concerns with the student or seek support from an appropriate senior colleague. This may lead to a delay or to a decision to terminate a complaint investigation.

Other reasons for stopping an investigation

There may also be circumstances where a student’s complaint does not appear to set out serious concerns or may an attempt to revisit matters that have already been addressed.

In such cases, we may decide that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, and so cannot be considered under the Student Complaint Procedure. We will write to the student to explain why any decision to stop an investigation has been taken.

Advice and support

You are strongly encouraged to contact the Goldsmiths SU advice service before submitting a complaint. 

Goldsmiths' Wellbeing Service offers support to students who are finding it difficult to engage with their studies. The Service offers email support as well as face-to-face counselling sessions.

Advice on student appeals and complaints can also be sought from the Student Casework team by emailing complaints (

Students will have the right to be accompanied, assisted or represented by another member of Goldsmiths (a currently enrolled student, or a member of staff of the College, or a member of staff or elected officer of the Students’ Union), at any stage of the Student Complaints Procedure.

Goldsmiths will not enter into discussions about student complaints with third parties without explicit written permission from the student.