OIA announces appointment of new Independent Adjudicator

The OIA is very pleased to announce that our Board has appointed Helen Megarry as the next Independent Adjudicator.

Image of the new Independent Adjudicator, Helen Megarry

Helen will take up the post in May 2023, and will jointly lead the organisation with Ben Elger, Chief Executive.

Helen is currently the Independent Adjudicator for His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and Valuation Office Agency, and independent reviewer of decisions made under the Windrush Compensation Scheme. She was previously Deputy Housing Ombudsman at the Housing Ombudsman Service, and a Board member of the Ombudsman Association.

Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the OIA Board, said:

“Helen has extensive experience of leading a complaints-handling organisation. She brings a deep understanding of impartial adjudication and a strategic approach to using learning from complaints to improve practice. We are delighted to welcome her to the organisation to take forward the OIA’s important work.”

Helen Megarry said:

“I am delighted to be joining the team at the OIA in May and look forward to leading the organisation with Ben. I have over 25 years of experience of independent decision making in complaints and promoting good practice and improved services through learning from complaints. I hope that will stand me in good stead to build on the valuable work done in the OIA to achieve its vision to protect and promote fairness for students.”

Ben Elger, Chief Executive said:

“I’m looking forward to working alongside Helen and to together leading our great team at the OIA. The experience and understanding she brings will be invaluable as we continue to undertake and develop our essential role at this challenging and important time for students and the higher education sector.”

The current Independent Adjudicator, Felicity Mitchell, will continue to jointly lead the organisation until her term of office concludes at the end of April 2023.


Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Sarah Liddell, Head of Leadership Office, mediarelations@oiahe.org.uk, 0118 959 9813.

  1. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) is the independent student complaints ombuds for higher education in England and Wales. It is the designated operator of the student complaints’ scheme under the Higher Education Act 2004.
  2. Our Scheme is free to students and has been designed to be accessible to all students, without the need for legal representation.
  3. We have a wide remit to review student complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales, as set out in the Rules of our Scheme.
  4. You can find further information about the Scheme and our work at https://www.oiahe.org.uk.
  5. The OIA has a joint leadership structure, with two equal positions of Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive.
  6. The Independent Adjudicator is normally appointed for a first term of five years, with the possibility of a second term of three years.
  7. Helen was appointed as the Independent Adjudicator at the Adjudicator’s Office in April 2016, leading the team there. In November 2020 she was also appointed as Independent Reviewer for the Home Office Windrush Compensation Scheme.  She was a Board Member of the Ombudsman Association for four years from May 2016. Helen previously worked for the Housing Ombudsman Service for 18 years in various casework and leadership roles, including as the Deputy Housing Ombudsman. She is a solicitor by profession and worked in private practice for several years before moving into complaint handling.