How we set deadlines
We will normally set a deadline whenever we ask for information to be sent to us. When we decide on the length of the deadline, we will try to balance allowing a reasonable period of time to respond with the need to progress cases as efficiently as possible. We will also look at the complexity of the case, the amount of information we are asking for and whether the complaint is one we need to prioritise. We will always try to make sure the deadline we set is proportionate to the individual case.
How we consider extensions
The provider should comply with any reasonable request for information that we make within the timescale set. This expectation is set out in our Rules. However, we know that there will be times when it is difficult for the student or the provider to meet a deadline. The guidance below sets out our approach to the most common extension requests we receive and aims to make sure that extensions are dealt with consistently.
|Reason for request||Our approach|
|Staff sickness||If the provider asks for an extension due to staff sickness, a one week extension may be given.|
|Annual leave||We won’t normally give extensions for annual leave periods|
|Busy periods||We won’t normally give extensions for busy periods. However, we may consider extensions if there is a large group complaint from the provider.|
|Complexity of a case||Case-handlers will consider the complexity of a case when setting an initial deadline. However, we will consider providing extensions if the complaint becomes more complex as the review progresses.|
|Bank holidays and provider closure days||
If the date of a deadline for the provider to respond to us falls on a bank holiday, we will add one extra day to the timeframe.For the holiday period in December, we will add an extra 3 days in addition to the bank holidays.
The table is not exhaustive and if the provider is having any difficulty meeting the deadline, it’s important to let us know as soon as you can. Case-handlers will use their discretion to consider any reasonable request for an extension.
Our process must be fair to all the parties involved. If the provider fails to meet a reasonable deadline, we will follow the process set out in Following up casework-related compliance, and we may make a decision on the complaint based on what the student has told us.