About Us


The Higher Education Act 2004 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. Initially, all universities in England and Wales were required to subscribe to the Scheme. However, the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the relevant section of which came into force on 1 September 2015, extended the range of higher education providers that are required to participate in the Scheme. Our membership now includes FE colleges providing 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 first Independent Adjudicator was Baroness Ruth Deech. The current Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive is Robert Behrens.

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 memorandum of understanding with the GMC and with the QAA.

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.