OIA publishes second briefing note on complaints arising from the impact of coronavirus

We have published a second briefing note on our approach to complaints arising from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

OIA Briefing Note 2: our approach to complaints arising from the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The briefing note looks at issues such as the importance of clear communication, how we will look at consumer rights issues, and our approach to complaints about course delivery and quality. It makes clear our expectation that providers should engage with students’ concerns and complaints, and that blanket policies such as refusing to consider tuition fee refunds or students’ requests for deferrals in any circumstances are not reasonable.  

Felicity Mitchell, Independent Adjudicator said:

“We know that providers, students and those who advise and support them have responded with great ingenuity, hard work and resilience to the very significant challenges of the last few months. We hope that our briefing note will help all involved to continue to find ways through this complex and challenging situation. As we say in the briefing note, it’s not in anyone’s interests for students to have to raise formal complaints, when it might be possible to find solutions through working together.”


Notes to Editors

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

  1. An embargoed copy of the Briefing Note is attached. The Briefing Note will be published on our website, where you can also find other information we have published relating to the coronavirus situation, on 22 June.
  2. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) is the independent student complaints ombuds service for higher education in England and Wales. It is the designated operator of the student complaints’ scheme under the Higher Education Act 2004.
  3. Our Scheme is free to students, and has been designed to be accessible to all students, without the need for legal representation.
  4. We have a wide remit to review student complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales, as set out in our Scheme Rules.
  5. You can find further information about the Scheme and our work on our website.