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 provider participates in the Scheme.
  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.
  5. Create a MyOIA account if you want to complete your OIA Complaint Form online. MyOIA is a new secure online portal which provides an easy and more intuitive way to submit a complaint, and to track the progress of cases.

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 provider has done wrong and why the final decision of the provider 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 e-mail, 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 OIA Complaint Form in our Office within 12 months of the date of the Completions of Procedures Letter.
  2. If you send us your OIA Complaint Form by e-mail 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.)

Sending us other documents

  1. We send all the information that you send to us to the provider. 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 provider.
  2. Please do not send us any other documents related to your complaint at this stage. We will ask the provider for a copy of all the information that is relevant to your complaint, including copies of all the documents that the provider considered and any record of how the provider considered your case before it reached it final decision. We will share details of our information request with you and when the provider has sent us the relevant information, we will send you a copy and give you an opportunity to comment on this information. If you think any information is missing or there is something else you want us to see, you can send it to us at that stage.
  3. If you wish any documents to be kept confidential and not forwarded to the provider, 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 by post 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. Please send us copies, rather than original documents. We do not normally return your documents to you.


  1. If you change your address or contact details please let us know. If you have a MyOIA account you can update your contact details by logging into your MyOIA account.
  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.