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 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 designated to operate this scheme in 2005. From the outset, all universities in England and Wales were required to subscribe to the Scheme.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015, the relevant section of which came into force on 1 September 2015, has since extended the range of higher education providers that are required to participate in the Scheme to include providers offering higher education courses that are designated for student support funding, and institutions with degree awarding powers.

Our membership now includes some 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 HEFCE, 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 policy 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 09/07/2015
Delivering learning opportunities with others
Good Practice Framework - March 2017 - pdf
Supporting disabled students
Good Practice Framework - October 2017 - pdf