OIA publishes revised draft OIA Rules for Large Group Complaints for comment

The OIA has published revised draft Rules for Large Group Complaints for further comment following consultation last year.

In recent years there have been events affecting the higher education sector that have had the potential to lead to large numbers of complaints to us, including the impact of Covid-19 and the unprecedented disruption it continues to cause. While such events don’t necessarily lead to large groups of students complaining to us, it’s important that we are properly prepared and that we can handle large group complaints in a way that works for everyone involved.

Our proposed Large Group Complaints process builds on our existing approach to group complaints by developing a bespoke approach to handling complaints from large groups of students. The proposed process is intended for complaints from large groups of students at a single provider where there is a high degree of commonality between the complaints and where the complaints could be considered collectively.

Although the process we are proposing would be more streamlined than our current process for group complaints, our approach to decision making would be the same: we would still consider what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

The proposed process would require an amendment to our existing Rules and additional Rules for Large Group Complaints. We consulted on these in November 2020, and we have revised the draft Rules for Large Group Complaints and provided further information about the proposed process in response to the feedback we received. We are now inviting further comment.

Felicity Mitchell, Independent Adjudicator said:

“The aim of our proposed Large Group Complaints process is to ensure that, if a large group of students were to complain to us, we can handle their complaint efficiently as well as fairly. We hope the revisions and further explanations address concerns raised and provide additional reassurance about our proposals. We are grateful to everyone who responded to the initial consultation and we welcome further comments.”

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