Freedom of speech

Raising concerns about free speech


The OfS does not currently have a direct role in dealing with disputes between individuals and universities or colleges about free speech or other matters.   

But we do want to hear about free speech issues through our ‘notifications’ process. Students, staff, or members of the public can raise a notification with us if they think that a university or college is not meeting our conditions of registration, including those relating to free speech and academic freedom.

Read more about how we deal with notifications


If you have a complaint about free speech at a university or college, in the first instance you may wish to raise it with the institution concerned.  

If you are a student and are not satisfied with your university or college’s response, you may be able to take the matter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (the OIA).

The OIA is an independent organisation that considers student complaints.

New complaints scheme in 2024

Under the new legislation the OfS will operate a new complaints scheme to consider free speech complaints about universities and colleges or relevant students’ unions.

Current and former students, staff members (including applicants for academic posts) and visiting speakers (including those who have been invited to be visiting speakers) will be able to submit complaints to us.

We expect the complaints scheme to launch on 1 August 2024.

Once the OfS complaints scheme is set up, we will be able to consider eligible complaints.

Published 13 September 2023

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