About Us


The Higher Education Act 2004 ("2004 Act") required the appointment of an independent body to run a student complaints scheme in England and Wales and the OIA was chosen to operate this scheme in 2005. The 2004 Act defines the providers - "qualifying institutions" - that are required to be members of the OIA Scheme. At the outset, this was universities and some other higher education institutions. Subsequent amendments to the 2004 Act, made by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, have extended membership of the OIA Scheme to a wider range of higher education providers including those providing courses which are designated for student support funding, providers which are registered on the Office for Students Register and providers in England delivering higher education courses that lead to an award granted by another OIA member in England. Our membership now includes many FE colleges and Sixth-Form colleges which provider higher education, alternative providers and providers of School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, as well as universities.

A list of our current members can be found on the OIA Scheme members page.

Our role is to review individual complaints by students against higher education providers. We have no regulatory powers over providers and cannot punish or fine them.

The current Independent Adjudicator is Felicity Mitchell.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator is a Company Limited by Guarantee and is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association as amended. The members of the Company are:

The OIA has a collaboration agreement with the Office for Students (OfS). The OIA also has a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Education, theĀ BAC, the GMC, the QAA and with HEFCW.

The OIA is the ADR Entity for Higher Education, appointed by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute on 7 July 2015.

The OIA is a registered charity, registered in England and Wales.