Senate House Library Complaints policy


  1. Senate House Library (SHL) is committed to providing excellent service, and we invite feedback, to ensure the continuous improvement of our services and facilities. We want to know when we do things well and what aspects of our service our members appreciate; but we also want to know when things go wrong or when members feel that our service can be improved.
  2. This statement sets out how you can take up any matter you think is unsatisfactory about the service you have received at, or from SHL.


1. How to comment or complain

We will respond to comments and complaints, however presented, whether in person, in writing, by telephone or online.

We provide Suggestions and feedback forms, which can be returned through our suggestion boxes, by post, by email or handed to any member of staff. We also provide an online feedback form on the SHL website.


2. What is a complaint?

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf.


3. What can I complain about?

You can complain about any aspect of our service such as:

  • Delays in responding to your enquiries or book requests
  • Failure to provide a service
  • Our standard of service
  • Our policies
  • Treatment by or attitude of a member of staff
  • Our failure to follow proper procedure.
  • Our facilities


Your complaint may involve more than one service or be about services provided to us by the University of London.


3b. How do I complain?

You can complain in person at SHL or by phone, in writing, by email, social media or by using our comments and complaints forms at the service points or our online feedback form.


4a. Complaint in person

In many cases a problem can be resolved simply by speaking to a member of our staff or our duty manager on the day or at first point of contact or over the telephone, email or by social media at the time. If the member of staff is unable to resolve your problem there and then they will refer you to our printed Suggestions and Feedback forms (or the online feedback form) these are sent to our Customer Services Officers.


4b. Written Complaint:

You can make complaints in writing to us, by email, by using the comments and complaints feedback forms above or by writing to us here at Senate House Library.

When complaining in writing or online, tell us:

  • Your full name and address
  • Membership number
  • As much as you can about what has gone wrong
  • How you want us to resolve the matter.

Your comments and complaints or online feedback forms will be responded to direct by our Customer Services Officers who again will endeavor to resolve your problem without resort to formal procedure.


How long do I have to make a written complaint?

Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of the event you want to complain about. In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why.


What happens when I make a written complaint?

Our Customer Services Officers will always handle and deal with your written complaint at first instance


4c. Written complaints resolution

Our written complaints procedure has two stages:


i) Stage 1 — frontline resolution

We aim to resolve complaints quickly and with direct involvement of the section of SHL that provided the service. This usually means an on-the-spot investigation and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.

We will give you our decision at Stage 1 in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If we can't resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why and tell you what you can do next. We might suggest that you take your complaint to Stage 2.


ii) Stage 2 — investigation

Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and also those those that are complex and require detailed investigation, say involving different aspects of our service.


When using Stage 2 we will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • Where appropriate, discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
  • Give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days
  • If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days, we will tell you. We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.


5. What if I am still dissatisfied?

a) After our Customer Services team have fully investigated and reported to you, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask for the matter to be referred to the Senate House Librarian to investigate further.

b) To do so you should write to Customer Services team setting out why you are unhappy with the response you have received and why you believe that your complaint needs to be investigated further.

c) The Senate House Librarian will either review investigate or appoint another appropriate SHL senior manager to review the matter and commission and report their findings to you within 20 working days of your referral request.


6. Persistent and vexatious complaints

At times complaints can become vexatious and/or persistent, causing undue stress for staff and resulting in a disproportionate use of the Library’s resources.

In dealing with such situations the Customer Services Manager will ensure the complaints procedure has been correctly implemented and that no material element of a complaint has been overlooked or inadequately addressed.

Where a complaint deemed to be vexatious or persistent is considered to have no basis or genuine substance, then SHL reserves the right not to investigate. In this situation, we will notify the complainant within 20 working days.



Customer Services can be contacted at:

Customer Services, Senate House Library, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street London WC1V

email:  telephone: (0207)862 8460