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Complaints procedure for allegations against members of RAE panels

Members and chairs of main and sub-panels for the 2008 RAE were appointed by and acted on behalf of the four funding bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In undertaking their RAE roles, panel chairs and members were both guided by procedural advice from the RAE team and bound by certain undertakings. These included the panels' own published statements of criteria and working methods, confidentiality agreements, and arrangements for declaring interests and avoiding conflicts of interest. The guidance and the undertakings are described in the following documents:

These documents also explain the context in which panel chairs and members collectively exercised their professional judgement to make decisions during the assessment process.

If you wish to make a complaint (that is an allegation of impropriety, irregularity, misconduct, poor performance or ineffectiveness) about a member or chair of an RAE main or sub-panel, strictly in relation to their RAE role, you should first raise your concern by letter with the RAE Manager. In your letter you should set out the details of your complaint, the consequences for you as a result, and the remedy you are seeking. You can expect your complaint to be acknowledged within three working days of receipt. You should get a response and an explanation within 20 working days.

If you are not satisfied with this response, then you can write to the HEFCE Chief Executive and ask for your complaint and the RAE Manager's response to be reviewed. You can expect your request to be acknowledged within three working days of receipt.

The HEFCE Chief Executive will usually act to investigate any complaint about an RAE panel chair or member that is referred to him under the terms of this policy. Because the RAE panel chairs and members were appointed on behalf of all four funding bodies, he will also inform his counterparts (Chief Executive or equivalent) in SFC, HEFCW and DEL of the complaint and his response. However, if he judges that one of his counterparts should more appropriately investigate the complaint, particularly where there could be an inference of bias, the HEFCE Chief Executive will invite one of them to act and will inform both the complainant and the other Chief Executives or equivalent officers.

You can expect the HEFCE Chief Executive (or counterpart to whom the complaint is referred) to respond to you within 20 working days. The response will give you reasons for upholding or revising the original response.