So far we have not set out how we expect providers to handle complaints about harassment and sexual misconduct. Neither have we said how we might intervene.
We believe that the existing regulatory framework's approach to handling complaints gives us the tools.
Where a provider does not run a robust reporting and complaint handling system for harassment and sexual misconduct cases, this could constitute a breach, or an increased risk of a future breach, of the following initial and ongoing conditions:
'The provider must provide all students, from admission through to completion, with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.'
'The provider must demonstrate that in developing and implementing its policies, procedures and terms and conditions it has given due regard to relevant guidance about how to comply with consumer protection law.'
How we will monitor
We consider that the most likely sources of monitoring information will be:
- notifications from students or their representatives
- reportable events from providers, for example of other regulatory or legal action
- information received from other regulators or relevant bodies, in particular the OIA, which may share information where it considers there to have been a systemic failure within a provider.
We will remain open to other sources and take account of any relevant information we become aware of, including for instance through reports in the media.
Where we find a breach, we will use powers already set out in the regulatory framework and associated guidance:
- formal communication
- enhanced monitoring
- specific conditions.
In the case of a breach of one of these conditions we may also use our sanction powers.