The OIA released a special edition of their newsletter on 3rd April 2018:

New Rules of the OIA Scheme from 1 April 2018

The revised Rules of the OIA Scheme apply to complaints we receive on or after 1 April 2018. Our Guidance on the Rules explains what some of the terms we use in our Rules mean and how we apply them.

We needed to change our Rules because of provisions in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA 2017) which came into force on 1 April 2018. HERA 2017 extends membership of the OIA Scheme to all providers on the new Office for Students (OfS) Register and all providers in England providing higher education courses leading to the grant of an award by another OIA member provider in England, to the extent that they are not already members. We needed to change our Rules to reflect this new legislation.

Students can only complain to us about some providers if they are on a higher education course. These providers are identified on our list of members. They joined our Scheme under amendments to the Higher Education Act 2004 made by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and HERA 2017. Our Guidance on the Rules explains what we mean by higher education course for these purposes. We have revised our definition to reflect the scope of higher education in the new regulatory framework in England and our wider definition applies to complaints about events which happened on or after 1 April 2018, when our new Rules came into effect. This means that more higher education students in England and Wales will now have access to independent redress of their unresolved complaints.

The content of the Rules remains broadly unchanged but we have adapted the tone and style of the Rules to them clearer and more accessible, so that they communicate our purpose and review processes more effectively. As well as changes required as a result of the implementation of HERA 2017, we also made minor changes to take account of judicial review judgments, and suggestions from Chartered Trading Standards Institute, which is our auditing body as the Alternative Dispute Resolution body for higher education.

Before we finalised the new Rules, we ran a consultation explaining why we needed to change our Rules and asking for views on the changes that we proposed to make to the Rules. The majority of responses were positive about the changes and found the new draft Rules to be clear. We have published our consultation response to the main themes arising from the consultation.

If you have any questions, please email or ring our Casework Support team on 0118 959 9813.

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