The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
What is the OIA?
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) is the higher education sector’s independent body that reviews student complaints. The OIA can review complaints from any student studying a higher education programme.
The OIA is a review body. This means they consider how the University dealt with the complaint and whether they followed their rules and regulations to reach a reasonable conclusion. The OIA cannot consider complaints about academic judgement (i.e. assessment marks), teaching quality, or matters which have been considered by a court.
How does it work?
The OIA is free to students. The OIA does not act as a court and does not make legal findings, but does use the law to determine if the University has acted fairly. Students can go to the OIA with their complaint at any time but students are usually expected to complete the University’s internal processes (complaints, appeals, grievances, etc.) before going to the OIA.
How do I complain to the OIA?
To complain to the OIA you will need a Completion of Procedures letter from the University. This is issued as the outcome to a grievance, but if you are not eligible for a grievance, you can request a Completion of Procedures letter following the outcome of your appeal, complaint, academic misconduct, or discipline proceedings. Once you have received your Completion of Procedures letter you must submit your complaint to the OIA within 12 months of the date of the letter.
What will happen once I’ve submitted my complaint?
If the OIA find your complaint to be eligible for review they will usually contact yourself and the University to provide more information. They will then review all the information received to determine if the University has followed its processes towards you and that the outcome they gave was fair. You will receive one of three outcomes: Justified, Partly Justified, or Not Justified. If they find that your complaint is Justified or Partly Justified, they will usually make recommendations to the University. These could be to change processes which are unfair, to rerun the process you were already involved with, or if this is not possible, to award compensation or some other remedy.