Tommy Geddes, who retired from his role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor this month, will take up the new post after working for more than 19 years at the University. As Ombudsman he will be responsible for ensuring the University's students, staff and external stakeholders have any complaints dealt with in a fair and independent way.
I am looking forward to working with staff and students to make Winchester an even better place to work and study, said Mr Geddes. With students paying much higher fees, it is more important than ever that any complaints are dealt with quickly and effectively. Whilst we get very few complaints, we must learn from those that are justified to try and make sure there is no repetition.
For most students, a university education will be the second most expensive purchase they will make in their lives; they deserve the very best service we can provide.
Another important role for the Ombudsman will be addressing any systemic failures or shortcomings in University procedures.
It is usually pretty straightforward to address a genuine complaint and to satisfy a complainant. The tricky bit is putting right a process or even a culture that has led to the complaint arising in the first place, added Mr Geddes. Another challenge will be ensuring that student perceptions are realistic. Lots of complaints arise through misunderstandings.
The Ombudsman will be Winchester's main point of contact for the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education. This independent body was set up following the Higher Education Act 2004 to establish a student complaints scheme in England and Wales.
Further information about the formal complaints procedure at the University of Winchester can be found on www.winchester.ac.uk
A print-ready image of Tommy Geddes is available to download by clicking here