office of the independent adjudicator (OIA) completely unfit for purpose?Watch
Thanks for your post.
I would be more than happy to discuss things further with you. I am, however, wary of sharing my email with people I don't know. I have been stung in the past and am now just a bit cautious.
My goal is to bring the OIA to heal - to make them behave fairly and with decency in their dealings with students. I will not stop until this happens.
If you would like to discuss things (e.g your case and concerns about the OIA) on this site, then I would like that, and if you want any help/advice I will do my best to provide it.
Get back to me if you are amenable to this.
The OIA have shut down all direct written communication with me but they are being forced to communicate with me via my MP. In their last response they stated the following:
' We recognise that the language of the OIA's Rules is currently quite complex. You may be interested to know that we are in the process of REVISING the Rules to take account of changes in legislation and we intend to introduce MUCH simpler language and style as part of that process.'
I telephoned them anonymously (they put the phone down when they realise it is me) to ask when this was going to happen and when there was going to be a public consultation (required by the Higher Education Act 2004) on this. I was informed that there was NOT going to be any changes or any public consultation. My MP has forwarded another detailed letter to them about this and many other issues.
Bear in mind that the OIA, in their Strategic Plan, promise to be 'clear in all that we say and do.' They clearly don't practice what they preach - at least not yet!
I also tried to find out whether Judy Clements was pushed or did she jump. At the moment no answer. I will bend the OIA into behaving fairly or I will bring the whole rotten edifice down.
Keep fighting my friend.
Q. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current system?
A.'...We suspect that some complainants regard the system as somewhat slow and cumbersome. However, we believe most institutions would doubt whether the system could be greatly speeded up without...... some cutting in the administrative process.'
What that is clearly saying is if you try to rush cases to completion you will sacrifice quality of service and quality of decision making.
By the end of 2014 the OIA were closing around 39% of cases within 6 months. By the end of 2016 this had risen to 75% of cases. That is greatly speeded up by anyone's reckoning.
The OIA's own lawyers were warning that quality would probably be sacrificed for speed - and they were right.
I shall also be contacting Eversheds shortly to ask them whether the 2015 Rules are in the process of being revised as the OIA has told my MP. Let's see how fast the shutters go up!
Sadly my MP is dragging his feet on sending my further letter to the OIA. It won't stop me, and I will get answers because I will keep on at him every week until I do.
If the OIA are in the process of revising the Rules, then they are breaking the law, and if they are not in the process of revising the Rules then they have lied to my MP in writing. I will post which it is, sooner or later.
In the next few days: how the Condemn and Tory Government have further betrayed students by not absorbing the disgraceful and dysfunctional OIA into the new Office for Students (OfS) under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. Another appalling stitch-up of students.
'In the case of the OIA, good practice dictates that the ombudsman role should ideally be kept separate from that of the regulator to maintain independence..... The OIA as it stands is not a government owned or government funded body - it would therefore be neither deregulatory nor efficient to bring into government control a function which is currently paid for and managed effectively by the sector itself.'
What absolute rubbish.
The OIA is not independent - it is an establishment organisation that parasites its income directly from the student, from student tuition fees, but dances to the tune of those who run universities. The OIA is not only free from public scrutiny, via the FOIA, but it is free from any form of fair scrutiny. It is overseen by its Board of Governors - all establishment figures with vested interests in shutting down student complaints.
Students represent the future of this country and yet they are treated like dirt by the Government, who see them as second class citizens with no right or access to justice. Shame on all of those who run and defend the OIA.
Let's see if they do respond to you by 24 November. I will do everything I can to try and assist you in your case. The OIA like to get everything there own way - let's make sure this does not continue.