50Students do not have to pay a fee to bring a complaint to us.
Section 15(3) of the Higher Education Act 2004 says that higher education providers are obliged to pay fees to the OIA. Higher education providers must pay an annual subscription. A provider may also have to pay a case related element which is calculated from the number of complaints we receive about the provider. The annual subscription and case related elements are based on a published scale. You can find more information about the subscription and case related element on our website.
The Board (Rule 19)
51The OIA is overseen by an independent Board. The duties of the Board include a duty to preserve the independence of the Scheme and of the role of the Independent Adjudicator. You can find more information about the OIA’s Board on our website.
The Independent Adjudicator (Rule 20)
52Information about our Independent Adjudicator and our case-handling staff can be found on our website.
Publishing and sharing information (Rule 21)
53We publish case studies and other information about complaints and good practice in a number of ways.
54Every year we publish an Annual Report which includes information about complaints we have received and the decisions and recommendations we have made, whether higher education providers have complied with our recommendations, and our good practice work.
55We also publish information (Annual Statements) about each higher education provider’s record in handling complaints and appeals for the previous calendar year including information about the outcome of complaints we have received. This helps to increase students’ confidence in complaints handling processes and allows providers to look at their own record alongside that of similar providers.
56We also publish case studies and summaries of complaints from time to time. We may identify the higher education provider if we decide that is in the Public Interest. Our guidance on the criteria we apply when selecting cases for publication, and the process we follow, can be found on our website. The case studies and summaries we publish will not identify the student.
57The OIA is part of the regulatory framework for higher education in the UK. We are independent of Government and regulators such as the Office for Students, the Quality Assurance Agency, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. However, we exchange information with other bodies about higher education providers and about complaints. The information we share will not identify the student unless we have the student’s consent to identify them. We have entered into formal information sharing arrangements with some other higher education sector bodies.
58To help us to do our work we ask higher education providers to give us relevant statistical data and information about the complaints and appeals they receive. We will consult with providers before we ask for data or information we have not asked for before. We will explain why it will help us and discuss how and when to collect it.