Appointment of the Head of Student Resolution Service


Dear Candidate

Thank you for expressing an interest in joining the University of Bristol as Head of the new Student Resolution Service.

The Student Resolution Service is an innovative intervention to improve the Student Experience through the development of a service that provides enhanced support and resolution for students whose experience does not go smoothly, and that manages risk associated with these matters on behalf of the University.

By establishing this role and the Service it leads, we aim to provide a new focus for a holistic and designed approach to improving the circumstances around adverse events (academic and otherwise) which can have such a large impact on a student’s university journey and the University’s reputation.

We want to appoint a Head of the Student Resolution Service who can engage at strategic level with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that resolution is part of our holistic delivery of the student experience. The role holder will be instrumental in working with senior stakeholders to identify, plan and implement such developments which will encompass changes to policies, processes and student engagement approaches.

You can find out more about the University and the role on this website, and our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley would be pleased to discuss the role with you in confidence – their details are also on this site.

This is a challenging yet incredibly important role and a significant step forward in the delivery of our student experience strategy. If you feel that you can contribute to our University and are enthused by the opportunity to provide enhanced support and resolution for students then I hope you will make an application.

Yours faithfully

Paula Coonerty 
Executive Director for Education and Student Experience and Academic Registrar

About us

The University of Bristol was one of the six civic universities created in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. With a global reputation for academic and research excellence, we are a top 10 UK university and 62nd in the world (QS Rankings 2022).

At Bristol, we have a strong tradition of pioneering innovation, and meeting external challenges with new ideas and adaptability. A university for Bristol and for the world, we value deeply our social mission and engagement with a diverse set of constituencies, from our students to business and industry, non-profits, media, culture and the arts, government, and our staff.

A member of the prestigious Russell Group, our university comprises 29 academic schools divided among six faculties. We are home to five world-leading University Research Institutes which draw together thematic, multidisciplinary research spanning the breadth of the University, and seven Specialist Research Institutes which reflect our strength and depth in key specialist areas.

We are proud to consistently rank in the world’s top 100 and UK’s top ten universities in global league tables, and of our performance in major national league tables. The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020 places us eighth in the UK and 78th in the world; and in the QS World University Rankings 2022 Bristol was ranked 10th in the UK. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked Bristol among the UK’s top research universities.

Our mission is to make a positive impact locally and globally by addressing society’s greatest challenges through our distinctive education, innovative research, and the value we place on excellence, inclusivity, and partnership. This is underpinned by our vision which, by 2030, will see us firmly established among the world’s top 50 universities, providing an education and student experience that attracts the very best from across the globe and benefiting from a culture of innovation, inclusivity, community, and partnership.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is ongoing, with a clear commitment to diversifying our workforce, being anti-racist and supporting a more inclusive staff and student base.   Our schools continue to win recognition for their commitment to good practice in gender equality, with nine Bronze and seven Silver Athena Swan Charter awards.

Our values

  • Curious & Creative: we ask questions, we innovate, and we embrace the new.
  • Listening & Learning: we continually add to and share our own knowledge, we are open to the ideas of others, and we value partnership working.
  • Caring & Inclusive: we are a diverse and welcoming community, respectful in our interactions with others and with our environment.
  • Bold & Bristolian: we are proud of our place in our vibrant city and the role we play to co-create innovative and ambitious solutions to local, national and global issues.

Our campuses

Located close to the heart of Bristol, our Clifton Campus features a mixture of iconic buildings and state of-the-art teaching, research, and student support facilities. 14 miles south of Bristol, our 255-hectare Langford Campus is home to state-of-the-art facilities that are ideal for staff conducting a large variety of research activity. Our clinical schools are co-located in hospitals across the city.

The Bristol & Bath Science Park is home to the National Composites Centre, which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The Science Park, a collaboration between government and local universities, is a world-class environment that provides the space, flexibility and support for science and technology businesses and universities to accelerate their growth and success.

In addition to excellent research and teaching facilities, our campuses are hubs of culture, boasting significant public art and calm, green surroundings.

We are investing in significant infrastructure development to meet the changing needs of 21st century students and staff and keep our work at the cutting edge, with more than £700m committed in capital developments.

A key focus of the University’s next era of strategic growth is the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Located adjacent to the iconic Temple Meads train station, our £550m development will be at the heart of a new innovation district, delivering a large-scale multidisciplinary research and teaching campus focusing on areas that address the challenges of disruption at the intersection of technology and the human experience.

Further reading

For further information, please visit

The City of Bristol

An extraordinary global city with a powerful tradition of enterprise, exploration and non-conformism, Bristol is a Social Enterprise City and the UK’s first European Green Capital.

Situated in the South-West with a regional focus on inclusive growth and innovation in infrastructure, Bristol is consistently named as one of the best places to live and work in the UK. The city has undergone an extensive programme of regeneration and rejuvenation implemented over the last decade, restoring many of Bristol’s Grade I and Grade II listed buildings and transforming it into the modern, cosmopolitan, and forward-thinking location that is attracting professionals, students, and investors in their droves.

Recently voted one of the UK’s five Centres of Cultural Excellence, Bristol is home to the most educated workforce in the country and exceptional cultural institutions – including the Watershed, Spike Island, Bristol Old Vic and the Bristol Beacon – delivering a world-class programme in the arts.

With ‘bucketloads of history and heritage from Brunel to Banksy, along with a great choice of housing, fantastic transport links and a real sense of growing economic importance and creative energy’ (2017, Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’), it’s no surprise that many of our alumni remain in the city and local region, providing a skilled workforce and contributing professionally to the city, region and country.

Known for its multicultural community, Bristol has a proudly diverse and inclusive culture. Bristol’s residents celebrate more than 45 religions, more than 187 countries of birth – more than 91 main languages are spoken on the city’s streets.  This multiculturalism has shaped the cultural scene, leisure activities, shops, and cuisine and helps the University attract students from more than 145 countries around the world.

The city is home to world-class high- tech and creative companies such as Airbus, Rolls Royce, Toshiba, Aardman, BBC Natural History, Oracle, Cray, Amazon, IBM, and Sony, and to a rich proliferation of SMEs and early- stage enterprises. As a research-intensive university, we contribute to cross-sectoral innovation and productivity in the region alongside our industrial partners.

About the role

The University is establishing a Student Resolution Service: an innovative intervention to improve the Student Experience through enhanced support and resolution for students whose experience does not go smoothly, and this role will manage the risk associated with these matters on behalf of the University. This role will be responsible for establishing and leading the Student Resolution Service, developing it as a new service offer within the Education and Student Experience [ESE] division. They will develop the service such that it sets the agenda in relation to policy direction and management of difficult, complex and multi-disciplinary student cases across the University, before they become legally led matters.

Using their professional expertise and experience, the role holder will lead the Student Resolution Service to (a) set policy and approaches to a developing portfolio of student areas; (b) manage a portfolio of casework expeditiously and effectively, ensuring standards of service are met throughout the processes; and (c) deal with complex cases directly, using expert knowledge and strategic judgement in taking decisions across all casework, a proportion of this directly on behalf of the PVC Student Experience (PVCSE). They will design and deliver a new structure and set of processes, leading for the PVCSE in the investigation, referral, resolution and responses to such matters on her behalf. These will be sensitive and often high-profile matters. Effective casework management is critical to maintain the University’s relationship with its student body, to support individual students and manage reputational and compliance risk on behalf of the University.

The role holder will engage at strategic level with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that resolution is part of our holistic delivery of the student experience. The role holder will be instrumental in working with senior stakeholders to identify, plan and implement such developments which will encompass changes to policies, processes and student engagement approaches. As well as working with established teams and services, the role holder will work closely with the team undertaking the Student Journey Project to this end. Moreover, the role holder will partner closely with the PVCSE to transform the current ad hoc approach to the range of complaints, queries and concerns raised with the PVCSE by students, alumni, parents, student support networks and members of the public.

About the Education and Student Experience Division

Education and Student Experience Division

Our purpose as a division is to support success for all students – creating the conditions for, and with, students to realise their academic potential, thrive during their university journey, and be ready for their careers and lives after Bristol.

Our division comprises of approximately 500 staff delivering a range of activity across the entire student journey. This includes:

  • Supporting the development of teaching, learning and assessment, and overseeing academic quality and enhancement
  • Developing, managing and maintaining student record and education administration processes
  • Managing timetabling, exams and graduation activity and processes
  • Providing employability support, in partnership with employers and academic schools
  • Supporting the development and governance of Education and Student Experience Strategy
  • Providing information and advice on aspects of student life including visas, funding, accommodation and finding academic and other support
  • Providing advice and guidance to enable students to manage their mental health and wellbeing
  • Supporting students to build communities, including in our residences

We work in partnership with academic and professional services colleagues in schools, faculties and central divisions to support the delivery of academic excellence and a first-class student experience.

Services and Teams

Our Division is made up of seven service areas, each led by a member of the Senior Team:

  • Academic Quality and Policy Office
  • Careers Service
  • Education Administration Office
  • Education Innovation
  • Student Health and Inclusion
  • Residential Life and Wellbeing
  • Student Operations

Other teams

In addition to our services and offices, we have two teams who work across the Division.

  • The Education and Student Experience Strategy Team support the Pro Vice-Chancellors (PVCs) Education and Student Experience to develop and deliver their education and student experience portfolios, coordinating the development and monitoring of the Education and Student Experience Strategy, and supporting institutional planning and governance for Education and Student Experience.
  • The Divisional Development and Operations Team supports the Executive Director with the development and management of the Division, including strategic planning, risk management, divisional operations and the provision of executive support.


The role

Head of Student Resolution Service

Job reference:

Professional Services Division: Education and Student Experience
Job title: Head of Student Resolution Service
Job category: Administrative & Professional Services
Line manager: Director of Registry Services
Line manager to: (first phase investment)

  • 1 x Casework Manager
  • 3 x Student Case and Liaison Officers

Main statement of responsibilities

Decision making

  • Monitor the national environment for issues that affect resolution services (including, for example OfS and OIA outputs and priorities, data trends relating to student behaviour etc) and use this intelligence to provide expert advice to senior stakeholders and develop and extend the Student Resolution Service (SRS).
  • Steer the development of strategy and policy through the provision of high-quality analysis and papers to relevant committees, leading working groups on these where appropriate.
  • Direct decision making across complex cases, in which the evidence and context may be contested, and professional leadership of all outcomes, with authority to issue sanctions and resolutions in-line with relevant policies.
  • Act independently with delegated authority from the PVCSE in the management and resolution of complaints, queries and concerns.

Planning & organising

  • Design and develop the SRS as a strategic and operational unit within the Education and Student Experience (ESE) division, adopting a multi-phase and multi-year approach to its growth and maturity.  This will involve identifying start up priorities and longer-term objectives that support the University strategy and divisional, faculty and school priorities.
  • Lead on developing the SRS as a new service that support students whose University experience does not go smoothly, securing its professional reputation as a service that enhances student and staff experience in line with the broader aims of the Student Experience Programme and the ESE division.
  • Manage and coordinate University-wide projects and workstreams relating to the extension of the SRS (e.g. manage and coordinate changes to organisation structures and processes) to ensure quality assurance of activities, compliance with external requirements, and developing methodologies for continuously enhancing the SRS’s services to internal stakeholders.
  • Lead in planning the delivery of a rolling programme of improvements across policy, process, information provision, data management, casework management, record guidance and reporting, working closely with the Director of Registry Services to agree short (1-2 years) and longer-term objectives (3-5 years) for the service.
  • Lead on planning a complex caseload across the Student Resolution Service, sometimes replanning under pressure when faced with urgent and high stakes situations, ensuring service level agreements are met.
  • Respond effectively to unplanned developments that may impact on casework, rapidly establishing processes to support the University management of these e.g. Industrial Action.
  • Devolved budgetary responsibility for the SRS on behalf of the Director of Education and Student Experience and Academic Registrar, and the Director of Registry Services.

Customer services & support

  • Act as a point of expert advice to colleagues across the institution on issues within the SRS portfolio which may involve the interpretation of compliance, policy or procedural areas and have a long-term impact for those involved.
  • Professional Leadership of the Student Resolution Service (SRS), including setting service priorities; understanding trends and best practice in the sector; identifying opportunities for innovation and improvement; facilitating change management; management of risk and business continuity; ensuring compliance with policies and internal/external regulations.
  • The SRS will:
    • manage investigations under relevant regulations, ensuring these are conducted fully and within the relevant procedure.
    • ensure casework is managed in a fair, professional and timely manner.
    • ensure that recommendations, both case-specific and generic, arising from the investigation of particular cases are acted upon appropriately.
    • deliver the appropriate training and guidance for staff in faculties, schools and the Student Services in relation to these matters.

Problem solving

  • Work continually to improve the way in which the SRS team co-ordinates and facilitates University-wide and division-wide processes within its remit and ensuring they are fully integrated and appropriately student-centred.
  • Manage a complex broad range and depth of issues, resolving problems to ensure University compliance and handle any associated risk, also interpreting and advising on gaps in key areas of activity.  This includes an appreciation of the legal context and implications of the work and the ability to act independently, using professional judgement in seeking advice and/or referring cases to the Secretary’s Office as required.
  • Identify opportunities for University level improvements in the ways that students are supported and held to account when their student journey goes awry, including working with other professional service teams in divisions and faculties and schools to identify and implement improvements. In particular, to lead on work with the Student Journey Project to identify and redesign relevant processes.

Continuous improvement

  • Liaise with a wide range of staff including PVCs, divisional heads, FEDs, SEDs, FEMs, SAMs etc in identifying and implementing improvements to policy and procedures to resolve issues arising from individual cases or University trends.
  • Systematically gather feedback on the way in which the SRS supports staff and students, using key performance metrics to ensure Service Level Agreements are met, or take mitigating actions where service levels and standards are not being met.
  • Improve own specialist/professional capability and expertise through personal and professional development initiatives.

Analysis, reporting and documentation

  • Establish and manage the SRS, including all processes, documentation, case management, record keeping, data management and information governance.  This will include analysis to establish and continually improve end-to-end processes in supporting complex areas where the student journey is not going smoothly, considering multiple factors (e.g. student experience, legality, compliance, risk, efficiency, communications, data and system requirements) to ensure the SRS is designed and managed to support the student journey.
  • Establish and report on student casework KPIs, identifying areas for improvement, and liaising across the institution to embed improved practices.  Report on casework on an annual cycle to inform ongoing decision-making, and annual review and objective setting.
  • Provide high quality student guidance to the Student Service in appropriate formats that meet the University student-facing style guides.


  • Proactively work with faculties and schools on the operation and delivery of all aspects of the Service’s remit; encourage good relations and communication channels and provide sophisticated and determined advice to enable them to discharge their activities.
  • Proactively working with the Student Wellbeing Service, Residential Life and faculties to support effective and efficient management of cases.
  • Draw on expertise across the institution, including the Secretary’s Office and other teams in ESE to support individual student casework and improvements to policy, process and the service.
  • Develop and maintain external networks to maintain expertise and awareness of best practice in casework across the sector.
  • Develop effective relationship management processes in order to support the service in effectively managing external organisations and individuals.

People management

  • Lead and manage a team, with responsibility for deployment, recruitment, staff development and performance management.
  • Review and manage the workload of staff within the team, also managing common staff welfare issues (e.g. disciplinary or other performance issues) that are covered by documented procedures, recognising when the matter should be referred to the Director of Registry Services or Director of Education and Student Experience and Academic Registrar.



Relevant experience, skills and knowledge


  • Proven experience in the development of strategic responses to complex policy and regulatory areas.
  • Experience of professional leadership of a similar or a cognate area.
  • Experience of managing a complex casework workload, and expert knowledge of policy and practice contexts for delivery of same.
  • Proven ability to implement and manage change.
  • Experience of setting and managing service levels and standards and reviewing processes, creating documentation, guidance, training etc.
  • Experience of leading and managing a successful team.


  • Experience of establishing and building a new service area/ team.
  • Experience of managing student casework and expertise of the policy context.

Relevant qualifications


Substantial experience and proven track record in leading a similar service, with in-depth expertise in developing, implementing and monitoring complex policies and procedures that relate to behaviour, conduct and complaints, and correct application of organisational policies (often with high stakes outcomes for individuals).


  • Professional qualification/relevant degree e.g. law, customer services and/or conflict resolution.
  • Experience and a track record in handling student complaints, and conduct, behaviour and support to study policies.

Communication and interpersonal skills


  • Strong interpersonal, communication and relationship building skills, with specific ability to influence, interact constructively and engage colleagues, often in stressful situations, as well as being an authoritative representative of the University in dealing with external parties.
  • Ability to engage well with students as a client group.
  • Ability to act sensitively but decisively whilst ensuring that, at all stages, proper process is followed.
  • Understanding of the principles of confidentiality and data governance legislation.
  • Ability to write refence documentation (guides, key facts, processes) and effective communications for staff and students in a variety of formats.

Additional criteria


  • Ability to review documentation and distil the essential facts.
  • Ability to analyse data and spot trends.
  • Resilience to handle challenging and fraught casework.

Terms of appointment

  • The anticipated salary range is £53,00 to £60,000.
  • Annual leave entitlement is 25 days plus 7 university closure days (including closure over Christmas) plus public holidays.
  • We offer a generous pension scheme with an employee contribution 9.80% and employer contribution of 21.40%
  • We offer a blended and flexible working environment, typically two days in the office and three days home working.
  • We also offer a range of family friendly policies – more information can be found at Work-life balance | Working at Bristol | University of Bristol

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University of Bristol. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Elliott Rae on +44(0)7584 078 534 or Sophie Rees on +44(0)7719 313 982.

The University of Bristol is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from all sections of the community, particularly from those who are not traditionally represented in leadership roles.

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 17 December 2021.

Applications should consist of:

  • A concise CV covering your full career history and relevant experience.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the role and person specifications for the post.
  • Please include current salary details and the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • We would be grateful if you would follow this link to complete an Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1275


Closing date: noon on Friday 17 December 2021
Longlisting: early January 2022 (TBC)
Preliminary Interviews with AQ: Monday 10 –  Wednesday 12 January 2022
Shortlisting: Friday 14 January 2022
Informal conversation with the University of Bristol: Friday 28 January
Final Panel Interviews: Monday 31 January 2022