Complaints Procedure

IADT General Complaints Policy and Procedures


1. Introduction and Context
IADT periodically reviews all Institute services and provisions. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction concerning the provision of a service or services by IADT. The General Complaints Procedure is the reference point any individual who believes they have a legitimate complaint for investigation. Staff and registered students of the institute should use other IADT policies and procedures available to them if they wish to make a complaint.

This General Complaints Procedure enables matters of complaint to be brought to the attention of the Institute, and to enable investigation of those complaints with the aim of a satisfactory resolution. IADT’s aim is that most matters can be dealt with through informal processes in a spirit of conciliation.

2. Principles and Scope

  • This procedure is to guide members of the public through our complaints process.
  • Any IADT service users, stakeholder or member of the public may use this policy and procedure
  • Complaints will be handled sensitively and with due consideration to confidentiality of all parties involved, subject to the requirements of natural justice
  • Any person named in a complaint will be given a copy of the complaint and will have the right to reply as part of the investigation
  • Information contained within the complaint will be made available only to those involved in its resolution
  • It should be noted that in the interest of natural justice to all parties, anonymous complaints will not be processed
  • IADT aims to resolve as many complaints as possible through the informal process

No one bringing a complaint under this Procedure will be treated less favourably or discriminated against by any member of staff of the Institute. If evidence to the contrary is found in this regard the member of staff may be subject to disciplinary proceedings under Institute policy.

This procedure concerns complaints relating to delays, mistakes or instances where the complainant feels that IADT did not provide the level of service they were entitled to or decisions about which they are dissatisfied.

The following list indicates examples of the types of complaint covered by this procedure:

  • Deficiencies in information published by the Institute
  • A failing in an Institute service, academic or non-academic
  • Complaints around facilities
  • Problems arising within the behaviour of students in public whilst representing IADT
  • Difficulties with a member of Institute staff

IADT reserves the right to re-direct submissions to the appropriate procedure. Where any legal action is pending in relation to a complaint, the IADT General Complaints Procedures will not be the conduit for resolution of this complaint.

3. IADT’s Commitment when dealing with Complaints
We will acknowledge all formal complaints by e-mail within five working days of receipt of the complaint. Where an e-mail address is not provided we will issue and acknowledgement by general post within five working days.

We will investigate all complaints and issue a response to the complainant within twenty working days or, where this is not possible, an interim reply will issue from the Cross Institute Administrator, explaining the position and advising when a substantive response will issue.

All complaints will be treated promptly, fairly, impartially and in confidence.

We will keep records of complaints in accordance with IADT’s Record Management Schedule (2008): ‘Office of the Registrar’ – Documents and correspondence relating to litigation or disputes which have been completed or settled will be held for three years.

We will ensure that any complaint lodged in good faith will not be used to disadvantage any complainant in the future.

We will endeavour to resolve complaints as close as possible to the point of origin.


4. Stages of Complaints Procedures

Informal Complaints Procedures

In order for the complaint to be dealt with effectively and efficiently, it should be drawn to our attention as soon as possible, and normally not later than ten working days after the alleged failure in, or dissatisfaction with, services or the incident that gave rise to the complaint.

The complaint may be made in oral or written format and an appropriate response shall be communicated to the complainant, normally within ten working days of receipt of the complaint. Initial informal complaints should be addressed to:

Alice Brennan
Senior Quality Officer
Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Kill Avenue
Dun Laoghaire
Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 1 239 4591

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and as close to the source as possible. This could mean an apology and/ or explanation if something has clearly gone wrong and immediate action to resolve the problem.

We will respond to you within ten working days or contact you to tell you why we are unable to deal with your complaint if that timeframe is not possible. If the complainant believes there is no satisfactory resolution to an informal complaint the formal complaints procedure may be used.

Formal Complaints Procedures
If there is no resolution following the informal stage, a formal complaint can be submitted to the Senior Quality Officer (see details above), who will ensure the complaint is investigated and an Institute response will be sent to the complainant within twenty working days.

The Senior Quality Officer will forward the complaint to the relevant Head of Faculty or Directorate in IADT and will request a formal written response within fifteen working days of receipt of the complaint. The Head of Faculty or Directorate will carry out an investigation of the complaint and will make a decision as to whether the complaint is upheld or not. If anyone is named in the complaint the Head of Faculty or Directorate will forward a copy of the complaint to this person. This formal written response is completed by the Head of Faculty or Head of Directorate and returned within fifteen days to the Senior Quality Officer, for the attention of the Registrar.

The Registrar will review the formal written response and will contact the Head of Faculty or Directorate if further information or clarification is required.

The Registrar finalizes the Institute’s formal response to the complainant, having taken into consideration the formal response provided by the Head of Faculty or Directorate and the complaint submitted.

The Registrar communicates the Institute’s formal complaint response to the Senior Quality Officer and the Head of Faculty and/or Directorate.

The written response will clearly outline what action has been taken or is being proposed to resolve the complaint. In the event that a decision has been taken not to uphold the complaint, the reasons for that decision will be outlined in the response.

The Senior Quality Officer then sends the Institute’s formal complaint response to the complainant within five working days.

A copy of the response will also be issued by the Senior Quality Officer to anyone named in the response.

Where a member of the Executive is the subject of the complaint the President will deal with the complaint.

Where the President is the subject of the complaint the Chair of the Governing Body will deal with the complaint.

5. Outcomes of the Complaints Procedure
The Registrar may make recommendations to the Head of Faculty or Directorate

The Registrar may also make recommendations to the appropriate Institute committees in respect of quality assurance procedures or policies.

6. Appeal Procedures
In the event that a complainant or respondent is dissatisfied with the response to a complaint, they can make an appeal in writing to the Complaints Appeals Board within ten working days of notification of the response. This appeal should be addressed to the Registrar, outlining the reasons why the complainant/respondent is not satisfied with the response, and how, in their view, the complaint could be resolved.

If there is an appeal, any conclusions and recommendations will be communicated in writing by the Registrar to the complainant and the Head of Faculty or Directorate.

Grounds for an Appeal
A complainant/respondent who wishes to lodge an appeal may do so on a limited number of grounds. They must clearly identify the elements for which the appeal is being made. The application must also specify the grounds on which the appeal is sought and must contain all information that they require to have taken into account in the appeal.

An appeal may be submitted on the following grounds:
1. Procedural irregularity
2. Inconsistent implementation of procedures
3. Exceptional personal circumstances not previously reported for good reason; the appeal should explain the reason(s) for previous non-disclosure

The Registrar will acknowledge Appeals applications by e-mail or by post within five working days

The appeal will be directed to the Complaints Appeals Board who will handle the Appeal. The Registrar will have no role or function on the Complaints Appeals Board.

The Complaints Appeals Board will make a decision within fifteen working days from receipt of the application.

The Complaints Appeals Board may choose to meet with the complainant and the person(s) against whom the complaint is made and will conduct such investigations and seek further information as it deems necessary.

The Complaints Appeals Board will take into account the following when considering an Appeal; any previous attempts at resolution, the original complaint, the formal written submissions and the formal written Appeal.

The Complaints Appeals Board will provide the complainant/respondent with a decision in writing within fifteen working days of receipt of the request under the Appeal Stage.

The Complaints Appeals Board will be composed one member of the IADT Executive (who will act as Chair) and two members of the Management Team, not related to the area of complaint. The President will decide on the individual members of the Board.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, they have a right to appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is completely independent of the Government and the service is free. Nothing in this complaint procedure affects statutory rights under Freedom of Information, Data Protection or other relevant legislation.

Office of the Ombudsman
18 Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2

Phone: +353 1 639 5600
LoCall: 1890 22 30 30
Fax: +353 1 639 5674

If a child or young person under 18, or an adult who knows a child feels they have been unfairly treated, or if such persons are not satisfied with the decision of IADT on a complaint, it is open to them to contact the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. By law the Ombudsman for Children’s Office can investigate complaints about any of IADT’s administrative actions or procedures as well as delays or inaction by IADT in dealing with complaints. The Ombudsman for Children provides an impartial, independent and free complaints handling service.

Contact details are as follows:
Ombudsman for Children’s Office
52-56 Great Strand St
Dublin 1

Free Phone: 1800 20 20 40

7. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
The Registrar’s office will oversee the tracking and monitoring of complaints progressed through the Procedure and will ensure that records show the nature of the complaint, how it was dealt with, the time taken for each part and the outcome

The Registrar will produce an annual report on complaints for IADT Academic Council and Governing Body.

8. Training and Awareness
The Registrar’s Office will facilitate activities to raise awareness of the Complaints Procedure. Support and guidance will be provided for staff in handling complaints.