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Complaints procedure

The Open University Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre (VQAC) is committed to providing high-quality services and will resolve any problems in our services as quickly as possible.  We also consider complaints to be an important source of information for improving our services for the future.

Definition of a complaint

We define a complaint as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction concerning the provision of a vocational qualification when the complainant has drawn his or her concern to the attention of VQAC and is not satisfied with the response’.

Formal appeals are excluded from the complaint procedures.

If you want advice before making a complaint or taking a complaint to the next stage, VQAC will be happy to help you.  We will not register a formal complaint unless you ask us to.

Before you make a complaint

If you experience problems with any aspect of our services you should contact VQAC as soon as possible so that we can act quickly to put things right.  It is essential that you act immediately if there is a possibility that your progress will be affected by any problem you have experienced.

We cannot accept responsibility for problems that affect the outcome of your qualification if you delay telling us about them until it is too late for us to put things right.

If you have told us about problems and you are not satisfied with our response, you are entitled to make a formal complaint.

Making a formal complaint

Time limits

You must make your complaint within a reasonable time following the matter that prompted your complaint.  This should be no more than three months after completion of or withdrawal from the qualification in which the complaint arose, after which your complaint will be considered to be ‘out of time’, save in exceptional circumstances that prevented you from submitting it.  Ideally you should make your complaint as soon as possible, to enable VQAC to investigate and respond to your complaint in a timely manner.

The VQAC is committed to dealing with all complaints as quickly as possible and will normally follow the time limits set out in this procedure.  You will be informed of any delay and the reason for it if one should arise.

Stage One

The complaint should be submitted to VQAC in writing by post, fax or email.  You should expect to receive a reply within 10 working days of VQAC receiving your complaint.  If we can’t give you a full reply within that time, we will tell you when we will be able to do so.

Stage Two

If, when you receive our reply to your complaint, you are not satisfied that we have done everything possible to answer it, you can ask the VQAC Centre Manager to review your case.  You must put your complaint in writing. You should include:

  • full details of your complaint and all matters related to it;
  • copies of any previous correspondence with us related to your complaint, or enough information to help us trace this correspondence quickly.

You should also tell us what you think we should do to resolve your complaint.

An acknowledgement of your complaint will be sent within three working days of receiving it.  The VQAC Centre Manager will send you a full reply within 10 working days of the date of the acknowledgement letter or, if that is not possible, contact you again to let you know when you can expect a full reply.

Stage Three

If, when you have a full reply from the VQAC Centre Manager, you are still not satisfied that we have done everything possible to answer your complaint, you can ask for it to be referred to the Head of Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre. 

You must clearly set out the reasons for requesting a review and enclose any additional evidence in support of your complaint.  You should also explain what you would like to happen to resolve your complaint.

VQAC will acknowledge your request within three working days.

The Head of Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre will investigate whether we have handled the matter fairly in line with our policy and procedures, and whether we should do anything else.  The Head of Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre will reply to your complaint within 10 working days of the date of the VQAC acknowledgement letter or, if that is not possible, contact you again to let you know when you can expect a full reply.

The reply from the Head of Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre will explain the basis of his / her decision.  This decision is the final decision on behalf of VQAC. If you remain dissatisfied with this decision, you are then entitled to apply for an independent review by the relevant awarding organisation. VQAC will provide you with the necessary contact details upon your request.

Rights and responsibilities

We will:

  • deal with all complaints within the time limits set out in these notes;
  • make sure that we deal with all the points you raise, and that our replies explain the outcomes clearly;
  • handle your complaint confidentially and only give people the information that is needed to carry out a proper investigation and make a full response;
  • keep records of complaints separate from other records;
  • make sure that no complaint you have made in good faith will be used to your disadvantage in the future
  • always be polite.

If you are making a complaint, you should:

  • give us full details of your complaint;
  • deal sensitively with issues that involve other students or staff, and not name them unless it is necessary; and
  • always be polite.

Contact details

Vocational Qualification Assessment Centre     
1st Floor South Joe Clinch Building
Hammerwood Gate
Milton Keynes
MK7 6BY   

Tel: +44 (0) 1908 653774    

Email us

Awarding Organisation

VQAC is an approved centre with a number of awarding organisations. Please contact us and we will provide you with the contact details for the awarding organisation that is relevant to you.


If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to send a written complaint, please contact the VQAC so that alternatives can be discussed.

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions

contact us by email

or call 01908 653774