Issues with Third Parties

This article is for Third Party concerns and is intended as a helpful guide, for related processes see Issues with University, Issues with Students, Dealing with Housemates, or Mediation


If you have concerns about a third party you should seek to address this via the third party’s complaint procedure.
Third Parties include, but are not limited to;

  • Placements,
  • International Agents
  • Partner Colleges
  • Sunderland Students’ Union
  • Student Finance England
  • The Home Office

If you have exhausted the complaints process of the third party you may be able to raise the concern through the University’s Complaints process if it is appropriate. In some cases you may be able to raise informal concerns with staff, such as with placements, to see if anything can be done before making a complaint to the third party.

You may be able to get guidance from the Sunderland Students’ Union advisor who can explore the process and alternative options with you.

For concerns about student finance England, the Student Financial Guidance Team may be able to help.

For concerns about the Home Office, the University International Support team may be able to help.  

Who to raise concerns to
Most third parties have their complaint procedure publicly available online. If you are at a placement, this might be provided to you as part of your induction.

When to raise concerns
You should raise your concerns as soon as reasonable possible.

Raising concerns
when raising concerns try to include;

  • the nature and circumstances of the concern
  • the actions you have taken to resolve the concern
  • any responses you have received when raising informal concerns
  • why you remain dissatisfied
  • the outcome you are seeking
    • Consider outcomes that seek to prevent or reverse the impact the situation has had on you.

Tips to writing a complaint

  • act professionally; avoid being personal, using offensive language or acting in an inappropriate way- this is particularly important for students whose courses are professional regulated.
  • be constructive; if you want to achieve an outcome, this is best achieved when you are approaching the organisation in a constructive way.
  • Be firm and polite not aggressive or rude
  • Provide any evidence if needed and appropriate
  • Be concise; this doesn’t mean it has to be short, just avoid covering a point several times and keep the phrasing simple
  • Try not to be emotive in your language; it is important the reader can see the facts of your case. Emotional tangents do not add any factual points to your complaint and is likely to make your complaint longer than it needs to be. It is however fine to talk about, from a factual point of view, any emotional impact the situation has had on you or continues to have on you.
  • Find ways to break up information into bite sized chunks with bullet points, timelines, shorter paragraphs, headers etc
  • Use a short summative introduction which describes the main point(s) you are making in your complaint before going into details

False evidence for complaints or complaints that are malicious, vexatious or frivolous is an offence under both academic and disciplinary regulations and may lead to expulsion from the University.

Confidential information
How confidential information is handled varies from organisation to organisation; make sure you read the third party’s complaint process to see how your information is handled.

The third party’s complaint process should give information about what to do If you remain dissatisfied with the response to your concerns, in some select circumstances you may be able to take the matter further through a formal complaint with the university. Speak to Sunderland Students’ Union advisor to see if this might be something that is suitable for you. 

Page last reviewed: 01/03/2019
Next review due: 31/08/2020