Tips for bringing a complaint to the OIA

Before you complete the OIA Complaint Form

  1. Read our Introduction to the OIA leaflet to check that your complaint is about something we can look at under our Rules.
  2. Check that your university participates in the Scheme. Please note that if your institution is an Non-Qualifying Institution, please contact us for details of which courses are covered under the NQI Protocol.
  3. Use our 'Complaints Wizard' to check whether we can look at your complaint at this time.
  4. We can provide information about our service in different formats and adapt the way we communicate with you depending on your needs. Please contact us to let us know what your particular needs are, and we will try to help.

Filling in the OIA Complaint Form

  1. Provide as much relevant information as possible on the OIA Complaint Form.
  2. Explain briefly what you think the university has done wrong and why the final decision of the university is unsatisfactory to you. Tell us what you would like to be done about it - be realistic.
  3. Don't forget to sign your OIA Complaint Form. If you are sending your OIA Complaint Form by email, please either type your name in the signature box or scan and attach the Form, so that we have your signature.
  4. If you appoint a representative to handle your complaint you must still sign the OIA Complaint Form.

Sending us your Complaint Form

  1. We must receive your signed OIA Complaint Form in our Office within three months of the date of the Completions of Procedures Letter.
  2. If you send us your OIA Complaint Form by email we do not need an additional copy in the post.
  3. Keep proof of posting or sending your OIA Complaint Form to us.
  4. Send us a copy of the Completion of Procedures Letter with your OIA Complaint Form. (If you do not have one, there is a space on the Form to say why not.)
  5. If your Form is received after the three month deadline, we may consider it to be out of time. If there are exceptional reasons why you were unable to send us your Form on time, enclose a covering letter (explaining these reasons) and any relevant evidence (for example, a medical certificate).
  6. If you have sent us your Complaint Form online, you will receive a copy by email. Please allow up to 24 hours for the confirmation email to arrive. Please also check your spam/junk folder for emails throughout the complaint process.

Sending us other documents

  1. We send all the information that you send to us to the university. Before you send us anything containing personal data of another person, please make sure that you have their permission for this to be sent to the OIA and the university.
  2. If you have a copy of the complaint or appeal you submitted to the university (with any enclosures) you should send this to us with your form. This may help us to deal with your complaint more quickly. However, if you have not kept a copy, do not delay sending us your form while you obtain this information from the university.
  3. If you wish any documents to be kept confidential and not forwarded to the university, please make this very clear and identify any such documents. Please also explain why you wish the documents to be kept confidential. We will consider your reasons, but please be aware that as we are an open and transparent Scheme we may then not be able to look at certain aspects of your complaint.
  4. Please enclose only relevant information. Do not include any duplicates or long email trails that are not relevant.
  5. Please highlight important sections of the regulations or documents.
  6. Include a list of the full names of all the people involved in your complaint and who they are (for example, your Tutor or the Head of Department).
  7. Please put all your documents in date order (newest correspondence at the front of the file).
  8. All documents sent to us need to be photocopied so please do not bind them or put anything in plastic sleeves. It is quicker for us to process your documents if they are hole-punched and held together with treasury tags, rather than in files or folders. Do not staple documents or use post-it notes: include a separate sheet if you need to make notes. If you need to separate sections, use a separate sheet or dividers.
  9. Send us copies, rather than original documents. We do not normally return your documents to you.

General

  1. If you change your address or contact details please let us know.
  2. Check your email inbox, spam and junk folders regularly throughout the complaint process to make sure you do not miss any emails from us.
  3. Do not let the fact that you have brought a complaint to the OIA affect the course of action you would otherwise take: in other words do not assume that we will uphold your complaint.
  4. Please be patient, your complaint will not be resolved immediately, it can take six months or more for us to look at your complaint.
  5. Remember that we are independent and we are therefore unable to give you advice or discuss the merits of your complaint with you.

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