As students become increasingly aware of their consumer rights, universities are seeing a surge in the volume of complaints. This Effectively Handling Student Complaints course aims to address this rise in student complaints and support your institution in avoiding prolonged disputes.

Attend this highly interactive training to receive practical guidance and perfect your complaints procedures by developing an action plan to take back to your institution.

Explore trends in complaints and appeals, and learn how to efficiently respond and resolve student complaints. Through a combination of expert inputs and practical case-studies, gain techniques to effectively handle different types of complaints.


About the Chair: David Riley
A career long customer service professional, with specialisms in customer experience, customer insight, complaints, contact centres, cultural transformation programmes, mergers, divestments, remediation programmes and operations management.

David earned his stripes in retail banking before the banking crash opened up opportunities to work in a variety of different banks. He then took the plunge and moved sectors to housing; gaining valuable insight into customer behaviour where often consumers find themselves without a choice of landlord.

David is pragmatic, likes to simplify situations and find solutions to often complex customer issues. An advocate for embracing technology and innovation in the workplace, whilst recognising that customers should always have a choice as to how they access a service.

09:15 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:00

Chair’s Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 11:00

Student Complaints Handling: Latest Developments

  • Understand the current landscape of student complaints and consider the findings of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s (OIA) Annual Report
  • Explore recent updates to the OIA Good Practice Framework regarding how to deliver learning opportunities with others and supporting disabled students
  • Identify key themes in complaints, appeals and extenuating circumstances claims
11:00 - 11:15

Morning Break

11:15 - 12:00

Responding to Complaints & Conducting Investigations

  • Effective communication techniques that will help to avoid escalation of a complaint
  • Undertaking fair and legally compliant investigations
  • Learn how to establish a robust compensation and refund policy
  • Approaching appeals and investigations and confidently deal with unacceptable complainant behaviour
  • Recognise how to provide a meaningful apology to complainants
12:00 - 12:45

Case Study: Learning from Student Complaints

  • Consider what student complaints indicate and how you can learn from their feedback
  • Examine different examples of complaints and investigation reports that have been managed effectively
  • Identify best practice when it comes to the style, tone, vocabulary and presentation of facts in complaint responses
  • Establish who should be managing different stages of the complaints process
  • Discuss the challenges of handling complaints


Lottie Cairns

Head of Student Policy and Case Work , Open University
12:45 - 13:45


13:45 - 14:30

Workshop: Responding to Different Types of Complaints

This afternoon workshop will allow you to work with the Chair and peers to understand the different approaches when it comes to categorising and responding to complaints.

  • Recognise how to deal with complaints, appeals and extenuating circumstances claims from students with mental health difficulties
  • Use a range of techniques including informal resolution, mediation and conciliation to resolve matters more swiftly
  • Establish straightforward disclosure procedures and develop a culture where students feel comfortable raising concerns
14:30 - 14:45

Afternoon Break

14:45 - 16:00

Workshop: Develop an Effective and Robust Complaints Procedure

During this afternoon workshop, work with the Chair and peers to develop an action plan for creating a robust complaints procedure in your institution

  • Understand how integrated resolution pathways can improve complaints handling across all departments and services
  • Develop a system for logging complaints
  • Provide information and guidance for staff when it comes to dealing with complaints
  • Improve the consistency and transparency of your complaints procedure by developing an action plan for your institution
16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation & Close

Central London

Q: Can I make a provisional booking?

A: Unfortunately, we do not accept provisional bookings. Registrations are subject to our terms and conditions. View terms and conditions here

Q: Can I book without a purchase order number?

A: Yes. Simply email after you have booked the course, with your Purchase Order Number. Please quote your order number and the course you are booked onto.

Q: Is lunch included?

A: Yes, a two-course hot buffet is served at lunch. Tea and coffee are served throughout the day.

Q: I have special dietary requirements, how can I request this?

A: Special dietary requirements can be catered for, please ensure you include this in the further information box when registering your place. If you have forgotten to add this, you can also send your requirements to or call 0800 542 9440. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can ensure your needs are met.

Q: I have just registered for the course, when will I receive the joining instructions?

A: You will receive the joining instructions and reminders, 6 weeks, 2 weeks and 3 days before the course date. Please check your spam box to see whether the joining instructions were sent there, if not please call 0800 542 9440 so we can have these sent to you immediately.

Q: Will there be WI-FI?

A: Yes, all our venues have the latest technology, offer full audio visual support and WI-FI.

Q: I can no longer attend the course, can a colleague attend in my place?

A: Substitutions may be made at any time but must be made no later than 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 0800 542 9440 or email with the replacement's details.

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

A: Cancellations must be received in writing 30 working days before the date of the event and will be subject to a £195+VAT administration fee. Cancellations received after this time will be subject to the full delegate fee.

Q: Why haven’t I received the speaker’s presentation?

A: Speakers presentations are sent a week after the event date. Please contact a member of the UMG team on 0800 542 9440 or if it has been more than a week.

Q: Can’t find what you are looking for?

A: Why not contact a member of the UMG team on 0800 542 9440 or email