Academic Appeals and Grievance Process

Complaints and Appeals Procedure

It is an over-arching principle that all candidates have the right to fair; valid and reliable assessment and those decisions on assessment should be provided with clear and constructive feedback. ABS will always seek to uphold this principle.


A complaint from a student refers to any dispute other than one regarding assessment (which is dealt with by the Appeals Procedure.) Any such complaint cannot be referred externally unless and until the internal processes of ABS have been exhausted. The only exception to this is the case where internal processes have become overly protracted.

Complaints Procedure

ABS operates a specific complaints procedure relating to issues not covered by the appeals procedure. Disputes, other than those relating to assessment (which are to be dealt with through the appeals procedure) may involve issues such as alleged discrimination, non-professional practice or personality difficulties, e.g. between assessor and candidate. Where complaints remain unsettled at a local level, the complainant can raise the issue with an external body (e.g. accreditation or quality assurance body).

Stage 1 - Informal Procedure

The complainant raises a grievance with/against a member of staff. Where possible this should be resolved informally between the individuals concerned. Where resolution is not possible or where the complainant feels it is appropriate, the procedure may proceed to Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Formal Procedure

The following steps outline the formal complaints procedure:

  • The student makes a complaint against a member of staff or action or policy of the organisation.
  • The candidate makes a complaint in writing and addresses it for the attention of the Directors of ABS.
  • The Directors or their nominee will respond acknowledging the complaint within 5 working days.
  • The Directors or their nominee will investigate the complaint and will seek to resolve the complaint within 30 working days.

The Directors decision is final as far as the internal procedure is concerned. If the candidate is still dissatisfied at this stage, they can raise the issue with the relevant external body.


As previously stated all candidates have the right to fair, valid and reliable assessment decisions and to the provision of clear and constructive feedback. They have the right to pursue an appeal where they feel any of the above criteria are not met. It is vital that all candidates receive details of the appeals procedure upon registration and this will be part of the student information pack.

Appeals Procedure

Candidates should have access to fair and reliable assessment in which (s)he plays a full part. If this ‘access’ is to be meaningful the candidate must have the right to appeal against assessment decisions that are unclear or seem unfair. The Appeals Procedure must provide an appropriate audit trail of the process and be clearly logged with concise detailed information at each stage. If a candidate is dissatisfied with an assessment decision then they must have a right of appeal. The ABS appeals procedure consists of the following stages:

Stage 1

The candidate should raise the issue with the assessor during /at the end of an assessment session or within 7 days of the assessment. The assessor must reconsider the reasons underpinning the decision and provide clear feedback. If the assessor is upholding the original assessment decision, then the candidate must be provided with full information describing what is required to demonstrate their achievement. This should be provided in writing, and relate specifically to the standards relevant to the assessment decision. If the candidate remains unhappy with the decision, the candidate then completes an Appeals Form, which will be forwarded to the internal moderator.

Stage 2

The Internal Moderator is appointed by the course leader as someone not directly involved with subject delivery. The Internal Moderator reviews all evidence and assessment records in order to consider the appeal. A decision should be made within 5 working days and the candidate and assessor must be informed orally and in writing using the appropriate section of the Appeals Form. If the candidate is dissatisfied with the decision, the appeal proceeds to stage 3.

Stage 3

The third and final stage involves the right of appeal to the Assessment Appeals Panel. The Internal Moderator should pass all records to the Course Leader. The Course Leader will convene an Appeals Panel consisting of, for example,

  • The Course Leader
  • An alternative Assessor
  • An independent Assessor/Internal Moderator

Both the candidate and assessor will be invited to make their case to the Panel. The Panel will reach its decisions within 10 working days. Results of the appeals panel will be final. If the ABS's appeals procedure has been exhausted and the candidate is still dissatisfied, (s)he can make a final appeal to the relevant external accreditation/quality body.