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 If the situation is not resolved by the informal process or the matter is particularly serious, the complainant may decide to make a formal complaint to his/her Head of Institution.

The Head of Institution is accountable for the management of the institution and references will be made to this role throughout the procedure. However, the Head of Institution may delegate responsibility for appropriate action to a University colleague (who may or may not be a member of the institution concerned).  Where (because of particular circumstances) it would be inappropriate for the Head of Institution to take part in the process, the matter should be referred to the Director of Human Resources who will ask the Head of the School or other appropriate senior person, or in Council institutions, the Registrary, to initiate action. References to the Head of Institution herein will include, where relevant, references to their appointed deputy or alternative.

Head of Institution will generally instigate a formal investigation.  However, if the Head of Institution considers at this stage that an informal resolution may still be feasible and appropriate, s/he will discuss this option with the complainant. There may be circumstances in which a complainant is not willing, or able, to make a formal complaint but where the Head of Institution considers that the implications for the complainant or others actually or potentially affected are so serious as to warrant an investigation being taken forward. In this case the Head of Institution, having taken advice from the Director of Human Resources, may initiate a formal investigation, or informally look into the matter, and make a decision on further action on the basis of such evidence as is available.

The formal procedure incorporates a number of possible routes and outcomes. This is necessary in order to balance the rights and needs of both parties. The intention is to facilitate a non-confrontational approach to resolution, while ensuring that there is a clear formal route should it be necessary. The procedure is set out below, and a summary is provided in the Formal Procedure flow-chart.