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

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Report 3 months ago
University, OIA and ICO compromised. I want to legally challenge them


In many aspects, I share very similar experience with you. For more then 6 years, I have been struggling with uni. I have collected proofs that they have manipulated my assessment tables. Let me briefly explain it in more details. I am speaking about a MSc degree I completed 6 years ago at a UK university. I have finished most of modules, including one year research which had preceded the dissertation thesis, with ‘Distinction’ mark.

Proposal and Interim report were also assessed at Distinction level, something around 85%(Distinction is 70% and up) . For the Proposal and Interim report I received (original) assessment tables from the assessor before having presentation and submitting final report. While I was checking on the uni site for the whole mark I noticed that final mark for the thesis was 59%. Final mark consists of waged average of marks of proposal,interim report, presentation and final report.

After I had persistently asked for assessment tables, after a long delay, I received just a breakdown of marks which showed that my Final Report and Presentation had been marked with half of points and as a result of it, the whole thesis mark came out 59 out of 100. As I had received distinction results for the earlier stages of Dissertation, the final result came like a lightning from a clear sky; therefore, I wanted to find out what has happened. I wanted to understand if I had done something wrong or if there had been any administrative errors. Thus, I re-asked for assessment tables. After struggling with them, I received this time something more than breakdown of marks: a feedback with common(merged) comments from both assessors.

Among them I have found the explanation related to what had happened. Most of comments were irrelevant to my work, unfounded or simply lies invented by them. I got immediately the impression that they had read only small fragments of my dissertation.

Furthermore, I have found something which was the first flagrant contradiction that could be understandable even from somebody who does not need to read the thesis at all:

1)Literature Review (Research) which in interim report had been assessed with 100 out of 100 points, in final report got marked with half of points. That was not normal, because Literature Review (Research) was the same in interim report and in final report as the regulation required. Uni regulation says that Literature Review (Research) should be completed in interim report. In other words, interim report and final report share the same fragment which is Literature Review (Research). In final report student adds other work like software implementation,tests, what can be done in future, etc. for which there are dedicated other categories of marking(points).

But why the same part of thesis i.e. Literature Review(Research) is marked twice in Interim Report and Final Report? Simply, because one might have not finished it or have not done it well in interim report
and assessor would warn the student via marking and comments in assessment table to improve it in final report. For instance, if assessor had assessed my Literature Review(Research) as weak, then I would have improved it. In my case, it was marked with 100% of points and commented as excellent; therefore, I went on with adding other parts to the thesis report(because final report is interim report plus new work). That shows, in another way, why they cannot mark it differently in final report.

Thinking about all of this above , I started appeal/complaint procedures and have asked for all assessment tables related to my thesis stressing them out that only just breakdown of marks and the feedback with common(merged) comments from both assessors are not enough. Furthermore, one of the three grounds of appeal is ‘administrative errors’; thus, how one can exploit this ground without looking at relevant documents?
When did they give me these papers? About 6 months later, only after the decision of all appeal/complaint procedures stages had been released and nothing more remained to be done within uni.

Among the papers they gave me this time, there were again assessment tables for proposal and interim report which I received several months earlier(after I had finished interim report and before I did presentation and submitted final report), but this time they were a ‘bit’ different!!!

They, most likely assessors, had removed the words Excellent, Well Done, Very Good from several places and even worse, these expression were replaced with ‘Satisfactory’. In most of cases these expression were related to Literature Review (Research) .

As I mentioned above, one of my initial arguments presented in appeal/complaint procedures was the issue: how is it possible that the same part of thesis which was assessed as excellent (in interim report), gets assessed now(in final report) with half of the points? An email, found through data received via a DPA I pursued 3 years ago, showed that one of assessors lied to officers dealing with the appeal/complaint procedures, by telling them that he(assessor) had warned student that Literature Review(Research) was ‘satisfactory’. As I understand, deliberately, assessors had not provided the officers with the original assessment tables for the proposal and interim report, instead they produced a manipulated version of them such that they could convince the officers that there is no contradictions (discrepancies/collisions) between assessment tables for proposal/interim report and assessment tables for final report/presentation.

At the same time, they deliberately and continuously refused my persistent requests about all assessment tables until all appeal/complaint procedures were concluded. In this way, they assured themselves that I could not come across these manipulations in time and as a result of this I would not tell the officers about them.

Furthermore, in these assessment tables they sent me, are found other manipulations. For instance, in the date field, instead of date of day the assessing was held, it is found the date of day when appeal/complaint procedures issued final decision letter.
During all these struggles, in my mind, it has been grown up the conclusion that staff at uni is compromised.

More I have asked them questions, the more I have found them drawn in sins. That was shocking
knowing that they keep saying they care students, law, justice and do the best for fairness.
Badges: 2
Report 3 months ago

As I touched above, I submitted a DPA request 3 years ago. They replied to it, not within 40 days as it must be, but after 8 months. Among papers, I found that assessors have requested a review of my dissertation by another lecturer working in the same department with previous assessors. In other words, they asked their friend for reviewing it, which obviously ,at the end of this, confirmed their friends.

Triggering such a review is itself another breach of DPA procedures, because they did not inform me about the review. That may explain the 8 months delay which is a serious breach.
In my opinion, the request for such a review, without informing me, indicates that they were in a bad position which they tried to mitigate by requesting the confirmation of third peer.

The data they sent me in response to my SAR, has got a serious problem. A significant part of data, probably most of the data, consists of emails and their attachments, but it is impossible among those data to find out which attachment belongs to which email. For instance, assessment tables are part of attachments to some emails. That is particularly important knowing that original and manipulated assessment tables are sent as emails. Furthermore, they included in DPA response the manipulated assessment tables, but not the original ones. Email is present, but not its attachments. That shows how seriously and deeply, different departments of uni are drawn in compromising/corruption.

A year ago, after I had investigated the data received from this SAR, I came up with idea of sending another DPA request telling them that previous one had been handled with problems (no way to identify which attachments are related to which emails plus other problems like: not all disclosable data were included in their DPA response to me; for instance their correspondence with OIA etc.).

Initially, they seemed to be positive, but after a while they refused by telling that they gave me these data once and will not do it again. In this way, they ignored the list of my concerns related to that SAR.

Indeed, one of the guys at uni after refused my new SAR and after I requested them to review the refused SAR, asked me about concrete examples where it is impossible to identify email attachments. He promised that would tell me.

I asked him about the attachments of a the email, which I am sure that contains non manipulated assessment tables, as I have a saved copy of it.
He refused after not a short time, telling that this is among the disputed data. In this way, he openly
showed to be a peer on the side of assessors, who have no legal grounds to block their disclose to me. Furthermore, they did not block the disclose of the email with the manipulated tables.

I am still fighting with them, because they still behave as they do not read my list of the concerns.
They suggested me to address my complaint about them to ICO and so did I. ICO resulted to be just a mean to wasting my time. I prepared for them a detailed letter showing how the uni spent months
going vicious circle to ignore my rights. ICO should have found at least the long delay above 40 days as a clear breach of DPA 1998 (for my first SAR), but no, for them everything was done in compliance with law. In my letter, in contrast to long detailed list of my concrete questions and concerns, ICO used laconic style, by saying that the uni followed procedures properly.

Probably, they had read just short fragments from my letter or even if they had read it in whole, they could not have done something different from what was on the favour of the uni.
Indeed, ICO itself took more time than they promise for dealing with a case.
As I understand uni deliberately suggests ICO in order to take more time.

Furthermore, this year the uni has to apply retention procedures on my original data. I know that some of the data are kept 6 years and some longer and some shorter. In fact, I have never exactly learned from uni what data they delete, what data they keep longer and what happens with data when they get archived. I have asked for a long time several clear questions to different departments of the uni, but I have ever received a comprehensive answer from any of them.
If somebody from you clarifies me this, that will be highly appreciated.

As I mentioned, ICO took its own time and addressing this issue to ICO was a suggestion of the uni when I mentioned them court. I suspect the uni needed some more time to achieve the deadline of 6 years for erasing some of my data and probably, some more time to hide or delete information or data which compromised different peers of uni.


I need your help. I think to send to the Court the issue of manipulated assessment tables and the issue of possible compromising activity of the uni, OIA and ICO.
Therefore, I would want to know to which court I can send these issues and possibly some links or materials related to similar cases, which could be helpful in such case.

Thank you very much to everybody spending his/her time trying to help me.
Badges: 3
Report 2 months ago
I got a favourable revised decision from OIA after complaining about lectures being moved 50 mile away - was partially justified as the OIA were not satisfied that the University took into account or offered a remedy for the impact on my learning experience as a result of not being able to attend face-to-face tutorials. The award was an apology and £500 compensation, which has now been paid in full.
Last edited by pmphillips; 2 months ago

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