Complaints & The OIA

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) runs a free, independent and impartial scheme to review student complaints. They can only review complaints that have completed the university’s own formal complaints process.

When a student complains to the OIA, they will check whether they can review the complaint under their rules and then give the case to a case handler, who can gather more information from the students or the provider. They explore whether it’s possible to settle or mediate the case and then decide if your case is not justified, partially justified or justified.

Complaint topics can cover a range of areas such as:

  • Academic complaints
  • Halls, e.g. maintenance issues not satisfactorily dealt with, problems with security etc.
  • Professional/Student Services e.g. taking too long to respond to requests, admin errors etc.
  • Fees – e.g. being mischarged, given incorrect information etc.
  • Employment – e.g. problems whilst volunteering or working for the university

If possible, before making a formal complaint formally to the university, you need to try complaining directly to the staff or service you have an issue with. This is called informal resolution, and is a prerequisite to using the university’s formal complaints process.

Formal complaints with the University must be presented within three months of the incident you’re complaining about. Each service and academic department should seek to resolve issues as soon as possible to avoid it escalating into a formal complaint.

Before making a complaint, you can talk about your case with your personal tutor or explore other remedies such as academic reps' feedback and getting guidance from our Advice Centre.

At the end of the formal complaints process, the University issues a Completion of Procedures (COP) letter. If you believe that your complaint was not processed correctly or fairly, then you have 12 months from the date the COP was issued to take your complaint to the OIA.

The possible outcome can vary hugely depending on:

  • If you have the right evidence
  • If you have grounds to complain about

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