43Where we decide that a complaint is Justified or Partly Justified, we will normally make Recommendations to the higher education provider. The Recommendations that we can make are wide-ranging and examples of the sort of Recommendation we can make are set out in Rule 14.3.
43.1Some of our Recommendations are designed to put things right for the individual student. The aim of these Recommendations is to return the student to the position they were in before the circumstances of their complaint occurred. You can find more information about our approach to remedies and redress on our website.
43.2Other Recommendations are designed to help the higher education provider to improve to its processes or practices. For example, we might recommend that the provider should change its procedures, review unfair regulations, or provide staff training. We call these ‘Good Practice Recommendations’.
43.3In some cases we might recommend that the complaint, or part of the complaint, should be considered in another forum. For example, a student might complain to us that their higher education provider has disclosed personal information about them to someone. We might decide that the complaint about the disclosure should be referred to the Information Commissioner.
43.4When we intend to make Recommendations we will send our proposed Recommendations to the student and the higher education provider with our Complaint Outcome. They each have the opportunity to comment on the practicality of the proposed Recommendations. For example, the higher education provider should tell us whether or not the timeframe we have proposed for changing its regulations will allow the relevant Committees to confirm those changes.
43.5We will set a deadline for commenting on the proposed Recommendations which will usually be 14 days, but we may extend the time for commenting on the proposed Recommendations when appropriate (paragraph 40.6).
43.6When the deadline has passed, we will consider any comments which have been made and then write to the student and the higher education provider confirming our Recommendations or making new or amended Recommendations. We may also decide to continue with our review (paragraph 45).
43.7We expect higher education providers to comply with our Recommendations within the timeframe we have set, and to tell us when they have complied and what they have done. If the provider does not comply with our Recommendations we will report the provider to our Board, and we will publish information about it for example in our Annual Report. We have a process for reporting this.
43.8The student may decide not to accept the Recommendations. In that case we would still expect the higher education provider to comply with any Good Practice Recommendations we have made.
43.9We normally recommend that any offer the higher education provider makes to the student to settle a complaint is in “full and final settlement” of the complaint, or the matters we have considered. That means that if the student accepts the offer they would not normally be able to pursue legal action about the same issues. They would have to show, for example, that the subject of the legal action was different to the subject of the complaint, or that they were unduly pressured into accepting the offer.
43.10If we have decided that the complaint (or part of it) is Not Justified, we may make suggestions to the higher education provider to improve its processes, review its regulations, or to repeat an offer it has made to the student.