Imperial College London has put in place changes to their policies on academic appeals and student complaints, aimed to make the process clearer and easier.

The changes, which came into effect earlier this week, included separating out arithmetical mark checks from the usual appeals process, providing more information to students about how and when to escalate complaints, and providing clear timelines for those on both side of the appeal or complaint.

Registry, who deal with complaints and appeals, say the changes were made to make the process easier for students to understand, providing clear timelines and stages to the complaints or appeal process.

The changes came into effect from the 14th May, following approval from Imperial College’s Senate. It is unusual for such changes to be made in the middle of an assessment period; all appeals and complaints raised from the 14th onwards will fall under the new procedures. No student will be disadvantaged by the changes that have been made.

A working party from across the College, and including consultation with the Imperial College Union sabbatical officers and the advice centre made the changes based on recommendations that arose from existing sector guidance, such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s ‘Good Practice Framework’, as well as reviewing the cases they have handled. The College hope these changes will provide increased support for students making submitting complaints or appeals at what can be a difficult time.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator is an independent body that handles complaints made by students against universities in England and Wales. Last year they received over 1,500 complaints, and closed 1,640 cases, the majority of which were related to academic status.

Students are able to raise complaints where they “believe that there has been a failing of College with regards to the service that it has offered.” The College recommends they first attempt to resolve the situation informally, by taking to staff responsible for the area about which the complaint has been raised. If that does not lead to a solution, the student can submit a formal complaint to the College.

Students may raise an appeal where they believe that an error has been made during the marking, moderation and Exam Board processes.

Students who would like advice or guidance on complaints or appeals can get in touch with their programme team in the first instance or visit Imperial College Union’s Advice Centre.