Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

office of the independent adjudicator (OIA) completely unfit for purpose? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Is the office of the independent adjudicator (OIA) completely unfit for purpose?
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alma mater)
    Is the office of the independent adjudicator (OIA) completely unfit for purpose?
    No, I wouldn't say so.

    I read a few of its reports. I think it has weaknesses, particularly about its definition of academic judgement. When I have seen people on TSR post their experiences, I can usually understand the OIA's reasoning even if I wouldn't have come to the same conclusion.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks for your post nulli. I think it is completely unfit for purpose for a number of reasons. You are quite right that the issue of 'academic judgement' forms the central 'weakness' of the OIA. The concept itself is far too nebulous to be fairly and reliably workable, and it was legally 'defined' to be unfair; but more importantly, the OIA regards everything that HEI's (uni's) do and say as 'academic judgement'. This shield of 'academic judgement' is used by the OIA to protect uni's from proper and fair scrutiny and accountability. The OIA is 100% biased in favour of uni's. Students may ask why this is so. The answer is that it is in the interest of the OIA to nearly always 'find' in the favour of uni's because if they did not then uni's would simply cease to use the service of the OIA - they are not obliged to do so.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    When I say that uni's are not obliged to use the service of the OIA, I meant that they can choose to settle a student complaint themselves during their internal investigation. It is a requirement that all uni's sign-up to the OIA scheme, but they are not 'obliged' to use it in most cases. Uni's know that their buddies at the OIA will nearly always see them right, and so they have absolutely no incentive to look at student complaints in a fair and reasonable manner. After all, students pay to go to uni and some of this money is used to pay for the OIA. Uni's also know that complaining to the OIA is like banging your head on a brick wall - most students would rather catch the plague than go anywhere near the OIA. The OIA's hand was also further strengthened against students back in 2014/15 with the Grayling cuts to legal aid, which means that it is now almost impossible for most students to bring judicial review proceedings against the OIA.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Several weeks ago the OIA published its 2015 annual report. The OIA found just 4 in every 100 complaints brought to it to be justified. This is in line with previous years. You have a greater chance of winning big on the Euro lottery than you have of receiving a fair hearing and a fair outcome from the OIA. The OIA believe that most students who complain to them are stupid, and undeserving of a fair hearing and outcome. But they are not.The OIA is run and staffed by lawyers who earn lottery jackpot sized salaries for looking after the vested interests of the universities that are subject to their admiring gaze. The establishment always looks after the establishment. Students must always be the losers when they bring a complaint to the OIA. I would never discourage a student from bringing a complaint to the OIA, but I would warn them that they will almost certainly find the whole process and the outcome to be depressingly not worth their time or their effort.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    In 'The OIA and Judicial Review: Ten principles from ten years of challenges', and from principle 7, which states: 'The OIA...will look at...whether there was any unfairness in the decision-making process.'
    From my experience and from reading about the experiences of other students, I don't believe that the OIA ever look at the fairness of decision-making of HEI's; they only ever look at whether the decision-making was 'reasonable in all the circumstances', whatever that mumbo jumbo means. Has anyone ever received a complaint outcome from the OIA where they have bothered to adhere to their 'cherished' principle 7? I'd be interested to know.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alma mater)
    In 'The OIA and Judicial Review: Ten principles from ten years of challenges', and from principle 7, which states: 'The OIA...will look at...whether there was any unfairness in the decision-making process.'
    From my experience and from reading about the experiences of other students, I don't believe that the OIA ever look at the fairness of decision-making of HEI's; they only ever look at whether the decision-making was 'reasonable in all the circumstances', whatever that mumbo jumbo means. Has anyone ever received a complaint outcome from the OIA where they have bothered to adhere to their 'cherished' principle 7? I'd be interested to know.
    Look at case 76

    http://oiahe.org.uk/news-and-publica...e-studies.aspx

    That was a pure decision about the fairness of the process. No decision has been made about whether the ultimate decision was reasonable in the circumstances.

    Reading between the lines, it looks like this case relates to disputed allegations relating to his children in care or divorce proceedings. Social services have passed on the allegations and the university have treated the allegations as fact without an investigation.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks for your post nulli. That was one example. Any others? The OIA's principle 7 states again:' The OIA...WILL look at...whether there was any unfairness in the decision making process.' The OIA clearly state they WILL look at whether decisions made were fair or not; they do not say they may very, very, very occasionally look at whether decisions made were fair or not. So the OIA are not nearly as 'principled' as they would have us believe. The OIA is like 99.9% of all politicians: they simply cannot be trusted or believed.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    The recent decisions of the OIA published as 1-86 on its website portray a very skewed and unrepresentative picture of the fairness of the OIA. The 2015 OIA annual report clearly states that nearly 60% of complaints were found to be not justified. This is in line with previous annual reports, which the OIA are obliged to publish, but would rather students didn't see. What the OIA want students to see is their selection of recent OIA decisions. Students might expect this selection to give a fair and representative picture of overall OIA decisions. It doesn't. It clearly attempts to mislead students. Just short of 20% of its 86 recent decisions were apparently found to be not justified, yet almost 60% of all cases brought to the OIA in 2014 and included in the 2015 annual report were found to be not justified. This is an attempt to mislead students into thinking that the OIA is not biased in favour of universities, when it very obviously is.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Let's look at another example of just how 'principled' and 'fair' the OIA really are towards students. In the OIA's 'Ten Principles..' (a bit like the Ten Commandments, only better... apparently!), Principle 9 states:
    'When assessing compensation for actual financial loss, or lost opportunity, the OIA must provide adequate reasons for the sum it recommends...'
    Yeah right, just like it didn't do in the Cardao-Pito Judgement. It offered a pitifully unjustified amount of compensation, and only when challenged via judicial review proceedings did it bother to offer a more reasonable and justified sum. So much for Principle 9. So that's both Principle 7 and Principle 9 shown up to be nothing but a bad joke. I'll comment on the other 'splendidly fair' Principles shortly.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Let's look at Principle 1: 'The OIA is subject to judicial review, but the courts should have regard to the expertise of the OIA, and few claimants will be granted permission to bring a judicial review claim.'
    Baroness Deech, the first 'independent' adjudicator of the OIA, fought tooth and claw to try and stop the OIA being subject to judicial review. If the OIA believe that they are always right, then why did her Ladyship try and deny poor students the right to judicial review? Principle 1 goes on to say that the courts should have regard to the expertise of the OIA. What expertise? A bunch of overpaid clowns does not constitute legal expertise. Then the 'much celebrated' Principle 1 goes on to state that few claimants will be granted permission to bring judicial review proceedings. That is because judges will always try and look after their friends at the OIA. Principle 1 should also now be amended to state that even fewer students will now have access to judicial review since Chris Grayling, the former Secretary of State for Justice, decimated the legal aid budget, ensuring that only rich Tory students should have access to, and receive, justice. In the UK if you are rich you can pay for justice; if you are poor you will always be denied justice.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Today let's look briefly at the 'lovely' Principle 2:
    'The OIA has a broad discretion in determining the nature and extent of its reviews... and may (but does not have to) investigate the underlying merits of the complaint.'
    So the OIA can decide whether its reviews are to be very narrow minded in extent, and whether to bother to investigate the merits of a complaint. Case handlers do as they wish and they do as much as they can be bothered to do. If they are having a bad day then they just don't bother looking at the merits of a case. They know that they are virtually immune from challenge. It's good to know the OIA are so very principled, isn't it?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alma mater)
    Thanks for your post nulli. I think it is completely unfit for purpose for a number of reasons. You are quite right that the issue of 'academic judgement' forms the central 'weakness' of the OIA. The concept itself is far too nebulous to be fairly and reliably workable, and it was legally 'defined' to be unfair; but more importantly, the OIA regards everything that HEI's (uni's) do and say as 'academic judgement'. This shield of 'academic judgement' is used by the OIA to protect uni's from proper and fair scrutiny and accountability. The OIA is 100% biased in favour of uni's. Students may ask why this is so. The answer is that it is in the interest of the OIA to nearly always 'find' in the favour of uni's because if they did not then uni's would simply cease to use the service of the OIA - they are not obliged to do so.
    Unis are obliged to use the service of the OIA in compliance with Higher Education Act 2004. Now more unis are subscribed to this service due to the enactment of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which basically means that consumers (and students too) are entitled to adequate services. Providers of services must provide service with "reasonable care and skill".

    However you are rights that they are biased towards the Unis. The OIA is actually not intended to resolve the complaint fairly, as what naturally we mean by fairness. They have some set of rules and weird jurisdiction which make their resolution fair. Their purpose is to cover up unis' asses for all sort of reasons. They legitimately try to manipulate the case in order to find in favour of the uni but clever student still can handle it well.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by alma mater)
    Today let's look briefly at the 'lovely' Principle 2:
    'The OIA has a broad discretion in determining the nature and extent of its reviews... and may (but does not have to) investigate the underlying merits of the complaint.'
    So the OIA can decide whether its reviews are to be very narrow minded in extent, and whether to bother to investigate the merits of a complaint. Case handlers do as they wish and they do as much as they can be bothered to do. If they are having a bad day then they just don't bother looking at the merits of a case. They know that they are virtually immune from challenge. It's good to know the OIA are so very principled, isn't it?
    Unfortunately, the OIA are *******s... now they have become even worse.... they have legitimate ways to avoid justifying a justifiable complaint. For example, they can ask the uni to make a flawed settlement offer prior to issuing a complaint outcome. If they decide that the offer to settle was "reasonable in the circumstances", they can deny issuing a complaint outcome and you get essentially nothing.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    What is most shocking is that the OIA is funded by students, since they now fund the universities, and the really bad joke that is the OIA are shafting the very people who they should be helping. It is utterly disgusting and as usual it is an establishment cover-up.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I agree they are unfit for purpose. They have suggested you can complain about placements and in the outcome of a complaint wrote that it was a matter of professional appraisal that they could not comment on. It seems they have no remit on such issues. They also seem to just re-write what universities have written nodding their head. I don't see any actual adjudicating going on.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks for your reply Eurydicey. The OIA don't give a stuff about most students.The OIA is funded by students who receive the most appalling service imaginable. The OIA shareholders make a king's ransom out of this scam that masquerades as a fair and impartial adjudicator service. It is a typical establishment organisation that only cares about the rich - they can take legal action against the OIA, and those that cannot afford to do this can go take a running jump.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    As far as legal proceedings are concerned, I think it is better to sue the Uni rather than the OIA. The court has established the OIA's jurisdiction which is flawed in my opinion as it does not make the OIA an adjudicator. In judicial review if permission granted, the court is likely to establish that the OIA have followed their process well. In a civil claim against the Uni, the could will look into the merits of the case. This is much more helpful and you can get what you are looking for.
    Needless to say, this is expensive and only the rich can afford justice today.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I think the whole educational system in the UK is becoming worse and worse and the British education is getting discredited. If this continues, students will prefer to get their education abroad, especially given that today education is quite expensive and it might be worth investing elsewhere.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    I agree that applying for and being granted judicial review is becoming increasingly difficult. The ConDem government with Chris Grayling as the then 'Justice Minister' effectively scrapped judicial review in education, except for their friends, the rich. The OIA know this and encouraged it and that means that they will become increasingly unfair to poorer students. The OIA is also protected from proper scrutiny because being a registered charity (with shareholders!) it is both exempt from tax and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (many of their deeply unfair practices are largely hidden away from scrutiny). It is a pity that the OIA does not realise that charity should begin at home (the OIA is funded by students) and not at their shareholders pockets.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: December 26, 2017
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Has a teacher ever helped you cheat?
    Useful resources
    Uni match

    Applying to uni?

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course

    Articles:

    Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

    Quick link:

    Educational debate unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.