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Escalation of complaints for candidates studying NEBOSH qualifications at Scottish Further Education colleges

In Scotland, the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO - www.spso.org.uk) is the final stage in handling complaints about public services in Scotland. The SPSO will deal with complaints after they have been through the formal complaints process of the organisation concerned.

In December 2012, the SPSO introduced new arrangements for escalation of complaints in relation to public bodies, including Further Education colleges in Scotland:

The SPSO defines a complaint as: “an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more customers about [the college’s] action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by [the college] or on its behalf”.

The new process still requires candidates dissatisfied with the provision of services at a Scottish College to exhaust the College’s complaints process before contacting the relevant awarding body. 

Where a Scottish college student has a complaint related to an SQA-accredited NEBOSH qualification:

If the complaint is in relation to a NEBOSH qualification that is accredited by SQA Accreditation, the candidate will retain the right to complain to SQA Accreditation once they have exhausted the NEBOSH complaints process.  If the candidate remains dissatisfied at this point then they have the right to make a complaint to the SPSO.

A list of NEBOSH qualifications accredited by SQA Accreditation can be found here: http://accreditation.sqa.org.uk/accreditation/Qualifications/Accreditation_Qualification_Search

Where a Scottish college student has a complaint related to a NEBOSH qualification not accredited by SQA:

With regard to complaints in relation to NEBOSH qualifications undertaken at a Scottish College that are not accredited by SQA Accreditation, a candidate has the option of making a complaint to the SPSO once they have exhausted both the College’s and NEBOSH’s complaints processes.   

Where the SPSO process does not apply

Matters of academic judgement remain within the jurisdiction of the awarding body and are dealt with via the existing Enquiries About Result (EAR) and Appeals processes.

Escalation to the SPSO is also not open to students studying at private sector course providers based in Scotland.

Further information for students can be found here: http://www.spso.org.uk/college-or-university-complaints