Settlement can be an effective way to resolve a student’s complaint to us. Reaching an agreement informally can be especially helpful if the student’s studies are ongoing and they will have a continuing relationship with the provider.
If we think settlement may be possible the case-handler dealing with the complaint will get in touch with our Point of Contact at the provider to discuss this further. The provider is also welcome to make an offer to settle the complaint at any stage of our process. For example, the provider might spot that there was a procedural error in the way it dealt with the student’s case. Or maybe the provider wants to offer the student a different remedy to one it proposed earlier. Settlement can take many forms, such as an offer to re-hear an appeal or reconsider a complaint, an offer to re-instate the student or give them an additional assessment attempt, or a financial offer. These examples are not exhaustive; the provider is welcome to make any offer that it thinks will help to resolve the complaint informally. Our guidance on putting things right sets out the approach we normally take to making Recommendations when we review complaints.
The provider should let us know as soon as possible if it would like to make an offer to settle a complaint. When we receive an offer, we will normally correspond with the provider and the student to see whether both parties are willing to agree to settle. Or we might decide to suspend our review to allow the provider and the student time to see whether you can reach an agreement. If we do this, it’s important to keep us updated on the progress and outcome of any discussions with the student.
Settlement is optional, both the student and the provider will need to agree to any proposal to settle the complaint. If both parties agree to settlement, we will close the complaint and end our review. But if the provider does not do what it agreed to do, the student can ask us to reconsider their complaint.
If an offer to settle the complaint has been rejected, we will normally continue with our review. However, if we think the provider’s offer to settle the complaint was reasonable we might decide to terminate our review of the complaint. If we do this, we will explain our decision to the student and the provider and we might ask the provider to hold the offer open for a reasonable period of time. We might also take any offer made by the provider into account when we review the complaint.