The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education published its 2012 annual report on 13 June 2013. The annual report highlights that 2012 saw the seventh year of increasing complaints from students in England and Wales, with a 25% increase in 2012. However that is still a very small number of the total student population.
From 2014 higher education institutions will have to pay a subscription fee for the OIA based partly on the number of complaints received. The scheme is free for students.
Although the OIA has no power to require an institution to comply with its decisions and recommendations, it can "name" an institution in its annual report for non-compliance and it did so in this year's report for one London university. Letters are also now sent annually to institutions with statistics about their complaints record. Such letters will have to be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The Independent Adjudicator has emphasised that institutions need to focus more on the early resolution of complaints before they reach the OIA.
Of the complaints received, 18% were found to be Justified or Partly Justified, or were settled before a decision made by the OIA.
On average, complaints to the OIA took 228 days to complete which the OIA accepts is too long. The OIA recommended that a total of £189k compensation be made to complainants.