The purpose of this policy is to outline Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd.’s appeals and complaints procedures. It is intended for all apprentices, learners, tutors and staff to ensure everyone involved is aware of the procedures, how they are implemented, how to undertake their role within the process and the timescales involved in resolution. The policy is part of the overall quality assurance strategy and falls under the responsibility of the Operations Manager. The policy is published on our website for stakeholders to access and it is reviewed at least once per year.

SCOPE

Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd. is committed to delivering the highest level of customer care and teaching provisions. We welcome dialogue with our delegates on all aspects of our provision and their study experience. We accept that very occasionally we might get things wrong and that delegates will need to let us know that they are not satisfied.

We consider any communication of dissatisfaction to be a complaint and as such we would distinguish for the purposes of this policy between informal complaints – any statements, verbal or written, containing negative feedback or requiring simple corrective action, and formal complaints – any written statements expressing details of one or more specific grievances which, for apprentices, contravene the ESFA funding rules, Ofsted EIF, relevant statutory legislation, apprenticeship agreement or commitment statement and for other learners the registration agreements of the relevant awarding body and relevant statutory legislation.

Informal complaints from apprentices, learners or employers will be received and in most cases solved by Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd.’s student support team.

  • All individuals can contact this team on 01223 365505
  • Apprentices should email advice@professionalacademy.com
  • Qualification students should email support@professionalacademy.com

Any informal complaint not resolved or acknowledged with a resolution timescale within 48 hours will be considered a formal complaint and will be logged as such.

Formal complaints should be emailed to the student support team using the following email addresses:

  • Apprentices should email advice@professionalacademy.com
  • Qualification students should email support@professionalacademy.com

The complaint will be logged as a case on our learner management system and acknowledged within 48hrs with an email outlining the communications the apprentice, learner or other stakeholder can expect to receive throughout the complaints process.

OUR EXPECTATIONS

We would expect apprentices, learners and other stakeholders to bring their complaint to our attention within 12 weeks of the incident occurring. We would expect the complainant to explain their concern as clearly and as fully as possible, including what they would like the solution to be and any action taken to date.

The support team have authority to make the decisions necessary to resolve the complaint as efficiently as possible. Our cultural approach is not to engage in drawn out investigations but to resolve issues swiftly. If the support team feel they need additional intervention then they will involve the Operations Manager who can authorise solutions of a financial nature, change of personnel, the re-scheduling of face-to-face tuition or other support as required and appropriate.

Finally, if the complaint is of a severe nature, Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd.’s Managing Director will become involved and make the final decision necessary to satisfy the situation.

If the apprentice, learner or employer is unable to secure a satisfactory resolution with us directly then we will encourage them to talk to the appropriate institute and we will then work with them to resolve the matter.

At all points the contact between Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd. and the delegate is recorded and stored on our learner management system, with final resolutions often being confirmed in writing where appropriate.

RESOLUTION TIMESCALES

  • You will receive an initial response within 48 hours of receipt of your formal complaint
  • Your complaint will be investigated and a response sent to you within 10 working days, detailing our findings
  • A further, more detailed response will be sent on conclusion of a full investigation if relevant.
  • You may be offered a meeting with the parties involved if appropriate
  • All informal and formal complaints will be logged on our central log and your record on the learner management system
  • These will be retained for a period of 2 years following resolution and closure of the complaint after which point all information relating to the complaint will be deleted

APPEALS AND ESCALATION PROCESS

You may appeal to Martin Hutchins, Managing Director, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint. Your appeal must be submitted within 20 working days from receipt of the complaint response. Your appeal should be sent, in writing, to martin.hutchins@professionalacademy.com or via telephone on 01223 365 505

For general apprenticeship complaints (not relating to an awarding body) if the complainant remains unhappy after the appeal has been heard appeals should be escalated to the ESFA (Education Skills Funding Agency).

The Education & Skills Funding Agency

The Complaints Team Education and Skills Funding Agency

Cheylesmore House

Quinton Road Coventry

CV1 2WT

Email: complaints.esfa@education.gov.uk

If you have fully exhausted our complaints procedure, have evidence of this and remain dissatisfied, you can contact the Awarding Body (CIM, CMI or ISM). You can also contact the Awarding Body if you are being prevented from exhausting our complaints procedure, or if you are no longer able to contact us because we are no longer trading.

HOW TO COMPLAIN TO THE AWARDING BODY

The Awarding Body only accept complaints in writing, by email or letter, except where they are required to make reasonable adjustments. Please let them know if this applies to you, either through a third party or calling them and they will arrange for someone to handle your complaint accordingly.

If you have difficulties in providing details in writing or if you are under 18, they will consider complaints made on your behalf by a third party. You will need to confirm that they can communicate with that third party on your behalf. If the complaint is on behalf of more than one person, they will need written permission from everyone.

When you contact them about your complaint, you will need to provide them with the following:

  • the name of our organisation
  • details of what your complaint is, together with the relevant documents
  • evidence that you have fully exhausted our complaints procedure, including any appeals process (for example, written correspondence confirming the outcome)
  • permission to disclose details of your complaint to us
  • if you are acting on behalf of a learner, evidence that you have their permission to do so

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

On receipt of your complaint, they will check:

  • if you are a registered student with them
  • if it falls into one of the categories they investigate
  • if the original decision or action complained about occurred more than 12 months ago
  • whether you have exhausted our complaints procedure including any appeals process

The Awarding Body will acknowledge receipt and send a copy of their procedure. They will also inform you of whether the complaint is one that they can investigate. If the Awarding Body cannot investigate your complaint, they may also signpost you to another organisation that may be able to help you.

The Awarding Body will appoint an officer with appropriate knowledge and expertise to investigate your complaint. If they can investigate, they will email a summary of the complaint to you. In some complex cases, they will request that you agree to the summary. Within 10 working days of agreeing a summary, the Awarding Body will send the information that you have provided along with a summary of the complaint to us. They will then ask us to share with them:

  • details and copies of the relevant procedure
  • confirmation that our procedures have been exhausted
  • a response to the summary of complaint, together with relevant documents
  • confirmation that they can share the information provided with you

If our procedures have not been exhausted, the Awarding Body will let you know that they will not investigate the matter further until that has happened. If they decide we have unduly delayed resolving the complaint or will not resolve the complaint within a reasonable timescale, they may continue to investigate.

If the Awarding Body need more information, they may contact those involved to get further information or evidence.

The Awarding Body aim to finalise the findings within 25 working days of your complaint summary being agreed. They will notify you of the outcome and their findings, and that will conclude the investigation.

If at any point during the investigation, they encounter a delay in responding to or providing correspondence, they will notify you of the delay and provide details of when you can expect a response.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd. will keep you informed of progress with your complaint and how we are handling the information provided under this Complaints Procedure. Where an investigation is required, your information may be shared with other Cambridge Professional Academy Ltd. staff members or external third parties. Before sharing your information, we would inform you of this, unless there were exceptional circumstances, for example, where doing so could pose a risk of harm to you or others.

In the case of apprentices or learners under the age of 18 raising a complaint, depending on the nature of the complaint, we may be obliged to inform their parent/guardian.

ASSESSMENT APPEALS PROCEDURE

In the event of a dispute over an assessment which has taken place for an individual piece of work, the following procedures will be followed:

a) All assessments identify performance and grading criteria. Assessment of student work is based on these criteria and the module tutor will have given written feedback to individuals regarding performance against these criteria.

b) Grounds for review:

I. There has been an administrative error in the assessment process

II. A delegate’s performance was adversely affected by serious illness or other significant factors which were unable to be discussed with the module tutor and Programme Director prior to completing the assessment (material proof may be required)

III. There is a dispute concerning the assessment criteria against the evidence/work submitted.

c) Initially, the claim for review will be submitted by delegate to the Programme Director. The claim for review must be in writing and occur within 3 days of the assessed work being returned to the delegate

d) The situation will be discussed at the next team meeting. If this is likely to mean a significant delay the Programme Director and module tutor will meet at the earliest opportunity,

e) If the dispute is unresolved the Programme Director will discuss the problem with the Senior Leadership Team who will act in an advisory capacity

f) The programme team, possibly in conjunction with the external moderator, may determine that grounds for review have been established or that the application is rejected

g) As a final resort, the appeal will be sent to the Awarding Body for arbitration. Their decision is final.