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1 National Conference for Insurance Managers in Higher Education 23rd-24th April 2008 at Aston University Snakes and Ladders – Managing Risk in Higher.

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Presentation on theme: "1 National Conference for Insurance Managers in Higher Education 23rd-24th April 2008 at Aston University Snakes and Ladders – Managing Risk in Higher."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 National Conference for Insurance Managers in Higher Education 23rd-24th April 2008 at Aston University Snakes and Ladders – Managing Risk in Higher Education The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education Susanna Reece Senior Assistant Adjudicator Fiona Draper Assistant Adjudicator

2 2 Overview Establishment and structure of OIA OIA jurisdiction and approach Some statistics and case examples Discussion

3 3 Establishment of the OIA Framework set out in Higher Education Act 2004 Designated operator of the student complaints scheme All HEIs in England and Wales covered by Scheme Rules from 1 January 2005 and must have compatible procedures in place

4 4 OIA structure OIA Board: Higher education sector nominates 6 Directors Plus 7 independent Directors Our Staff: Independent Adjudicator Deputy Adjudicator Team of Adjudication Staff Administration Support

5 5 What do we do? We review complaints to see whether they are justified: Did HEI properly apply regulations and follow procedures? Was HEIs decision reasonable in all the circumstances? Recent Court of Appeal decision: Siborurema v OIA [2007] EWCA Civ 1365 We also make good practice recommendations

6 6 Bringing a complaint to the OIA Registered students or former registered students of an HEI Students registered at other institutions studying on a course leading to an award of an HEI Students must first exhaust internal complaints procedures University must issue a Completion of Procedures Letter (COP) Students have 3 months to come to the OIA from date of COP

7 7 What we can look at: Complaints about any act or omission of an HEI e.g. Teaching and facilities Student accommodation Research supervision Welfare issues Discrimination Poor or unfair practices Disciplinary cases, including plagiarism Fitness to practise procedures

8 8 What we cannot look at: Academic judgment Admissions Student employment issues Matters already considered by a court or tribunal

9 9 The Review process: Scheme Application Form received Copied to HEIs Point of Contact Initial assessment of eligibility Fast Track Procedure Full Review

10 10 Types of Recommendation Refer back to HEI to reconsider a final decision, allow another opportunity to take an assessment or take some other action HEI to change its internal procedures and report back HEI to implement staff training Financial compensation

11 11 After OIA Review HEI is expected to comply Non-compliance is reported to Board/publicised in Annual Report Non-binding on students unless offer accepted

12 12 Advantages of the OIA scheme Common system for all HEIs User friendly Appropriate remedies for HE world Free to students, low cost for HEIs Feedback to HEIs and student unions Reduces litigation

13 – Some Statistics 1374 enquiries 734 applications (up 25% from 586 in 2006) 600 complaints taken on for investigation 64% of complaints related to academic results 10% to contract matters Disciplinary matters/plagiarism accounted for 11%

14 14 Who complains? 36% of complainants were postgraduates (compared with 23% of UK students) 64% were over 25 years old 47% female/53% male 65% British Fee classification- 78% Home/EU 22% International

15 15 Complaints closed in % of 639 closed complaints were upheld to some extent (up 3% from 2006) 8% settled £173,000 compensation

16 16 Examples of compensation awarded £ for delay in dealing with appeal £500 for loss of opportunity to have disability complaint considered £979 each for 22 Masters students for misleading information on fees £3000 for PhD student not given proper notice of termination and put at risk of prosecution

17 17 More examples …. £5000 for inadequate PhD supervision £7000 for losing an academic year £14,500 for loss of opportunity and a possible further £12,000 to obtain accreditation.

18 18 How to contact us By post: Fifth Floor,Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading RG1 1LX Tel: (ask for Helpdesk) Fax: Online:


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