Complaints to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) provides an independent, free, transparent scheme to review student complaints and appeals against individual Universities. Students can use this service once they have exhausted all of the internal university procedures and have been issued with a completion of procedures letter.
The OIA look at final decisions of the University on a number of issues including;
- Fitness to Practice
- Procedural Irregularities
- Unfair practices
The OIA are unable to deal with issues including the following;
- Academic Judgment
- Student employment
- Matters which are being considered or have been concluded by a court or tribunal
- Matters which the OIA have already dealt with
- Complaints where the main issue being complained about took place more than three years before coming to the OIA
More information about the scheme can be found on their website here.
If you have been issued with a completion of procedures letter you have 12 months from the date of that letter to submit an application for appeal/complaint to the OIA
When the application form is complete and submitted, it can take on average 6-18 months to get a decision from the OIA therefore any decision made by the University should be considered final until then. As this is a transparent scheme any information that you share with the OIA will also be shared with the University for a response. Any information shared by the University regarding your case will also be shared with you. If you want to know more about what happens after your have submitted your application form please read here.
If the OIA find that an appeal/complaint to be justified or partially justified they will normally try to put the student back into the position if there error had not occurred however sometimes is not always possible. Therefore the OIA may recommend;
- The University look at the matter again as they did not follow its procedures
- The complaint should be referred to another body
- The University should pay the student compensation
- The University to change the way it handles appeal/complaints
- The University should review policies and procedures
- The University should apologies for its mistakes or acting unfairly
The OIA expect the University to comply with any recommendations fully and within stipulated timeframes.
Once the OIA makes its final decision, there is no appeal against this. The decisions made are not binding on the student which means that you can reject any offer made by the University following the recommendation by the OIA. If you accept the offer from the University this is deemed as the full and final settlement of your case and you cannot appeal/complain any further.
If you still remain dissatisfied following the OIA final decision, you can, if you wish take legal action. We would, however, always advise that you seek advice from a reputable legal professional before doing so.