Annual Open Meeting
The Chair of our Board, Dame Suzi Leather, opened the meeting. She welcomed everyone and reflected on the OIA's unique role and the importance of our values in everything we do.
Our Chief Executive, Ben Elger, spoke about our role in a changing environment. He noted the rise in the number of complaints we received in 2018, our strong performance against our timescale targets, and our commitment to balancing our resource needs with keeping the cost of our Scheme proportionate. He talked about further widening access to our Scheme and our work with other organisations in the regulatory framework to positively influence policy, noting the importance of student protection arrangements.
Felicity Mitchell, the Independent Adjudicator, spoke on the theme of Increasing openness; delivering fairness. She talked about becoming more open in our work and about our approach to common issues in the complaints we see. She went on to speak about how important it is that students are treated fairly. She noted the need to keep in mind those students who face extra challenges, and to work towards a fairer approach to mitigating circumstances claims.
Following a Q&A session and a short break, we moved on to our panel discussion: Towards greater fairness: student perspectives on some current challenges. We were fortunate to have a panel of interesting and insightful guest speakers:
- Shakira Martin, President, NUS
- Matt Steele, Senior Education and Welfare Adviser, Keele University Students' Union
- Neil MacKenzie, Head of Advice & Representation, University of Sheffield Students' Union
- Sarah Wilmer, Student Adviser, Leeds Beckett University Students' Union
An interesting and lively Q&A session followed, before Dame Suzi Leather drew the meeting to a close.
For the first time, we broadcast the meeting live as a webinar, so that those who couldn't attend were able to attend the even remotely. Webinar attendees also had the opportunity to send in questions for the speakers.