The University of Southampton was today named as one of two higher education establishments which failed to comply with standards set by the Office of the Independant Adjudicator (OIA), the national body set-up to deal with student complaints.
In 2010, the University twice failed to comply with decisions and recommendations made by the organisation, in reference to a complaint made in March 2010. In one of these cases, it took the University four months to provide written confirmation that the complaint had been dealt with.
In a third incident, the University took ten months to provide evidence to the OIA for review despite repeated requests by the organisation. It was only once the OIA had written to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Don Nutbeam, that the issues were resolved.
Providing an account of their communications with the OIA, the University said “In 2010 the OIA brought to our attention a small number of cases where delays on our part had become unacceptable. Following contact with the OIA the Vice-Chancellor took decisive action and a small team, led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education, instigated immediate steps to resolve the outstanding student complaints.”
“More importantly, the interaction with the OIA has encouraged us to undertake a deeper review of our processes and systems for handling student complaints through the formal stages, but also including intervention and mediation at an earlier stage.”
The review of the complaints procedue has also involved SUSU, the students’ union in Southampton. VP Academic Affairs Rob Stanning said “The University has made a number of changes this year to ensure that Complaints & Appeals are dealt with in a timely fashion after working with SUSU and the OIA. I’m exceptionally keen to see this relationship flourish so that student concerns are resolved effectively.”
“SUSU is also delighted that there are now no longer any outstanding complaints.”
Westminster University was also named as an establishment that failed to comply with OIA regulations.