As well as asking higher education providers for information relevant to individual complaints we are reviewing, we also ask providers to compile and send us more general information. For example, we ask providers to send us information about the Completion of Procedures Letters they send to students each year, and copies of regulations and procedures. We also ask providers to respond to our draft Annual Statements so that we can make sure they are accurate before we publish them. We need this kind of information to help us carry out our work. Providers have a duty under section 15 of the Higher Education Act 2004 to comply with our requests.
When we ask for information we need to help us carry out our work we will normally set a deadline within which to respond. The provider can contact us if it is unsure why we have asked for something or has concerns about what we have asked for, or to ask for more time to respond.
If a provider has not given us the information we have asked for by the deadline we have set, and has not been given more time, we will contact the provider to ask for the outstanding information.
Stage 1 – formal warning
If the provider doesn’t respond or provide the information requested we may decide to pursue this formally. If we do, we will write to the provider setting a new deadline and warning that if we don’t receive the information that we have asked for by that date, we will report that to our Board. We will send a copy of this letter to the Vice Chancellor, Principal, Chief Executive or equivalent.
Stage 2 – decision that the provider has not complied with our request for information
If the matter is not resolved at stage 1, the Chief Executive will decide whether the provider has complied with our request for information. If it has not, the Chief Executive may decide to pursue this further by writing to the Vice Chancellor, Principal, Chief Executive or equivalent giving a final opportunity to respond. A copy of this letter will normally be sent to the Chair (or equivalent) of the provider’s governing body.
If the provider still does not give us the information we have asked for and hasn’t given us a good reason why it can’t, or if at any time the provider tells us that it is refusing to give us the information, we will record that as a failure to comply with our request for information, even if the provider gives it to us at a later date.
Stage 3 – reporting non-compliance
When the Chief Executive has decided that the provider has not complied with our request, they will inform the Chair of our Board, who will normally inform the Chair (or equivalent) of the provider’s governing body that the failure to comply will be reported to our Board.
When we have decided that a provider has not complied with our request for information we may give an account of the provider’s actions in our Annual Report. This will include any steps taken by the provider to give us the information we have requested after a report to our Board has been made. We may also include information about compliance and timeliness in the provider’s Annual Statement, and we may report it elsewhere.
If a provider does not respond to our request for information and we decide this indicates concerns about systemic issues we may share information about this with the Office for Students, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and/or other relevant bodies.
Last updated August 2021