Providers which have recently joined the Scheme

This webpage gives some background information for providers which have recently joined the OIA Scheme. It aims to summarise the key points of the OIA Scheme. The ‘Useful Resources’ section below includes some documents, such as guidance notes and our Scheme Rules, which you may find useful. Those documents, together with more detailed guidance on our Scheme, can also be accessed on the rest of our website.



The OIA is designated under the Higher Education Act 2004 (the "2004 Act") as the operator of the complaints scheme for higher education students in England and Wales.

The 2004 Act defines the providers - "qualifying institutions" - that are required to be members of the OIA. 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 areregistered 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 many FE colleges and Sixth-Form colleges which provide higher education, alternative providers and providers of School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, as well as universities.


Will the OIA contact providers which are required to join the OIA Scheme?

The OIA is notified by the Office for Students, the Department for Education or the Welsh Government, as applicable, of providers which are required to join the OIA Scheme. We then contact those providers directly to explain what they need to do in relation to joining the OIA Scheme.

Providers which have not been contacted by the OIA but consider that they may fall within the group of providers which are required to join the OIA Scheme, should contact


Key principles of the OIA Scheme

On this webpage, we have set out some Frequently Asked Questions which summarise some of the key principles of the OIA Scheme and seek to answer what we anticipate will be common questions from our new members.

Importantly, we will normally only consider complaints about events that occurred after the relevant provider became a member of the OIA Scheme and where the student has first exhausted the relevant internal procedures of the provider.

More detailed information about the OIA Scheme can be found in the guidance on the remainder of our website.


OIA workshops and events

The OIA runs an outreach programme which includes webinars and workshops.

All of our webinars and workshops are open to providers and students’ unions. They are a good opportunity for providers to share their thoughts and experiences with colleagues from other providers as well as with the OIA.

Details of upcoming events can be found on our website.


Useful resources

Rules of the Student Complaints Scheme
Scheme rules apply to complaints received on or after 01/04/2018
Delivering learning opportunities with others
Good Practice Framework - March 2017 - pdf
Supporting disabled students
Good Practice Framework - October 2017 - pdf