News and Press Release Archive

News Archive

Press Notice: Memorandum of Understanding between OIA and QAA

(Dec 12)

 

Rob & QAA

 

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that recognises their complementary and distinctive roles, and commits both sides to sharing information relevant to developing the risk-based approach to regulation in higher education. Read the full press notice and the Memorandum.

 

 

(Rob Behrens and Anthony McClaran signing the Memorandum of Understanding)

Press Notice: Memorandum of Understanding between OIA and QAA

Download and view the Memorandum of Understanding between OIA and QAA

 

Press Notice: Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in OIA Disability Discrimination case

(Nov 12)

The Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the case of The Queen on the application of Shelley Maxwell v OIA on the grounds that the application does not raise “a point of law of general public importance.”

The Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the case of The Queen on the application of Shelley Maxwell v OIA on the grounds that the application does not raise “a point of law of general public importance.”

The OIA welcomes this decision by the Supreme Court which brings this long-running case to a conclusion. For more information, please read the Press Notice.


Pathway 3

(Oct 12)

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) has published its response to the ‘Pathway 3 Consultation - Towards Early Resolution and Effective Complaints Handling’ as requested in the Government’s Higher Education White Paper, Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System (Cm 8122, June 2011). The Pathway 3 Consultation sought views from across the Higher Education sector and beyond on effective strategies to promote the early resolution of complaints and appeals and better all-round complaints handling in universities.

Key issues in the Pathway 3 Consultation included consideration of:

  • Whether or not to create campus ombudsmen, and associated support networks;
  • The development of mediation on campus;
  • The creation of a good practice framework for complaints and appeals processes including the incorporation of effective time-frames for handling,
  • The possible development of an OIA ‘kite-mark’ accreditation;
  • The introduction of a revised funding mechanism for the OIA Scheme which contains a case-related element.

View and download Pathway 3

Press Notice: Pathway 3

OIA Annual Letters

(Sep 12)

The OIA has today published Annual Letters to all universities within the OIA Scheme, setting out the complaints handling performance record of each university, benchmarked against universities of a similar size. This follows two rounds of consultation with the sector, and change in the OIA Scheme Rules in December 2011.

The purpose of the Letters is to:

1. Increase public scrutiny of complaints handling records in universities;

2. Increase complainant confidence in university complaints handling processes;

3. Encourage universities to review their performance in a comparative context.

View and download the Annual Letters

Press Notice: OIA Annual Letters

OIA hosting ENOHE 2013

(Nov 12)

The OIA announces it is hosting the 10th Annual Conference for the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education in 2013.

ENOHE 13 flyer

Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s Annual Open Meeting 2012 and Annual Report

(Jun 12)

Rob Behrens, the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England and Wales, presented his Annual Report on 14 June 2012 in London.

Download the 2011 Annual Report

Press Notice for the 2011 Annual Report

Higher Education Advisory Panel – new appointments

(Apr 12)

In April 2009 we established our HE Advisory Panel as an informal, non-executive body of members from across the sector (including a students’ union member) to support OIA staff involved with adjudication decisions and the dissemination of good practice. The founding seven Panel members served a full two-year term and we are grateful that all agreed to stay on for a further one or two years.  Now four members have stood down and we have just completed a rigorous selection process to replace them.  We have decided to increase the Panel membership to eight to allow for an additional student union member. You can view who is on the Panel on the Higher Education Advisory Panel page.

Compliance with OIA Recommendations and Requests for Information during an OIA Review

(Mar 12)

Recommendation 28 of the Pathway Report (2010) has led us to review the arrangements for monitoring and disseminating the way in which universities comply with OIA Recommendations. The OIA have now produced procedures for monitoring compliance, and escalating compliance issues and setting out how we will correspond with a university.  This includes compliance with requests for information during a Review, as well as compliance with Recommendations made in a Formal Decision.

Download the procedures

Amendments to the OIA Rules

(Feb 12)

Amendments to the OIA Rules and relevant Guidance regarding the publication of Decisions are now availableA revised copy of the Rules, in effect from 1 February 2012, can be found in the leaflets section. As the guidance sets out, the publication of summaries will become operational in relation only to complaints arriving at the OIA on or after 1 April 2012.

(Please note that this is no longer an active document)

Revised Arrangements for Publication of OIA Decision Summaries

(Dec 11)

At its Quarterly Board Meeting on 9 December 2011, the Board approved the revised arrangements for the publication of summaries of OIA Decisions by name of university and, on the OIA’s website, an annual letter to each university documenting a summary record of its complaints handling. This followed two rounds of sector-wide consultation and (subsequently) Legal Advice from lawyers acting for the OIA. Revised Rule changes and relevant Guidance will be disseminated to the sector in January 2012 and publication of summaries will become operational in relation only to new cases arriving at the OIA after 31 March 2012.

Ombudsman Membership of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association (BIOA)

(Dec 11)

The Executive Committee of BIOA unanimously approved OIA application for Ombudsman Membership with immediate effect at its meeting on 7 December 2011. Up until that date, OIA had been a ‘Complaint Handler Member ’. The upgrade in membership status constitutes peer endorsement, following application and scrutiny, of the OIA’s independence in relation to universities, and its effectiveness, fairness and public accountability. This is a welcome development.

The Ashtiany Report: Review of Disability Policy & Practice

(Oct 11)

The OIA is today publishing, as promised in Recommendation 16 of Pathway 1 (February 2010), the review and recommendations of a report on policy and practice in relation to complaints from disabled students, commissioned from the eminent employment lawyer, Sue Ashtiany. The publication of this report was delayed pending the publication of the Court of Appeal's Judgment in the case of Shelley Maxwell and the OIA. We are grateful to Sue Ashtiany for her constructive and independent assessment.

Download the Report.

OIA launches Pathway 3 Consultation

(Oct 11)

The OIA has launched its Pathway 3 Consultation - Towards early resolution and more effective complaints handling. A copy of the Press Notice can be found below.

Download the consultation.

 

Press Notice Archive

2012

Press Notice: Memorandum of Understanding between OIA and QAA (Dec 12)

Press Notice: Maxwell Supreme Court Decision (Nov 12)

Press Notice: Pathway 3 (Oct 12)

Press Notice: OIA Annual Letters (Sep 12)

Press Notice: OIA Annual Report 2011 (Jun 12)

2011

Press Notice: Sandhar Court of Appeal Judgment (Dec 11)

Press Notice: Maxwell Court of Appeal Judgment (Oct 11)

Press Notice: Pathway 3 Consultation (Oct 11)

OIA's Response to the White Paper (Jun 11)

Press Notice: OIA's Response to the Higher Education White Paper (Jun 11)

Press Notice: OIA Annual Report 2010 (Jun 11)

2010

Press Notice: Pathway Consultation: Second Round (Nov 10)

Press Notice: OIA's response to the Browne Report (Oct 10)

Press Notice: Budd Judgement (May 10)

Press Notice: The Pathway Report (Feb 10)

2009

The OIA comment on the HE Framework (Nov 09)