Governance of the OIA

Governance of the OIA

The Higher Education Act 2004 established an independent Scheme to adjudicate on student complaints against universities in England and Wales. The OIA, which operated a voluntary Scheme from March 2004, became the Designated Operator of the student complaint scheme under the 2004 Act in January 2005. Initially, all universities in England and Wales were required to subscribe to the Scheme. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 extended the range of higher education providers that are required to participate in the Scheme. Providers offering higher education courses that are designated for student support funding, institutions with degree awarding powers and providers in England delivering courses that lead to an award granted by another member of the OIA Scheme in England or the Office for Students are now required to subscribe to the OIA Scheme. All providers on the Office for Students Register must also subscribe. Our membership now includes some FE colleges and Sixth-From colleges which provide higher education, alternative providers and providers of School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, as well as universities.

The OIA is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association. The OIA is also a registered Charity, regulated by the Charity Commission. The OIA subscribes to the Nolan Rules of fair and open competition in Board appointments.


The OIA has the duties of a Designated Operator under the 2004 Act to publish the Scheme Rules and supply relevant information to the appropriate UK and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own separate arrangements.

Board of Directors

The OIA is overseen by an independent Board. The duties of the Board include a duty to preserve the independence of the Scheme and of role of the Independent Adjudicator.

You can view a list of our Member HE Providers on this website.