Consultation on the OfS’s new free speech complaints scheme

Published 14 December 2023

About this consultation

The Office for Students (OfS) is implementing new freedom of speech functions. This will include a new free speech complaints scheme. This consultation sets out our proposals in this area. It also sets out the background to these proposals, why we are making them and what we expect their implementation to achieve.


Start: 14 December 2023

End: 10 March 2024

Who should respond?

We welcome responses from anyone with an interest in freedom of speech in English higher education.

We are particularly (but not only) interested in hearing from students, staff, students’ union representatives and leaders at providers that will be engaging in the new arrangements. We welcome views from all types and size of provider and students’ union.

We also welcome the views of schools, employers, third sector organisations, policy bodies and others with an interest in freedom of speech in English higher education.

How to respond

We collected responses via an online form.

This consultation closed on 10 March 2024.

How we will treat your response

We will summarise and/or publish the responses to this consultation on the OfS website (and in alternative formats on request). This may include a list of the providers and organisations that respond, but not personal data such as individuals’ names, addresses or other contact details.

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please tell us but be aware that we cannot guarantee confidentiality in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded by us as a confidentiality request.

The OfS will process any personal data received in accordance with all applicable data protection laws (see our privacy policy).1

We may need to disclose or publish information that you provide in the performance of our functions, or disclose it to other organisations for the purposes of their functions. Information (including personal data) may also need to be disclosed in accordance with UK legislation (such as the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 2018 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

Next steps

We will publish a summary of responses to this consultation in summer 2024. We will explain how and why we have arrived at our decisions, and how we have addressed any concerns raised by respondents. We will then set out next steps in the policy and implementation process.


Email [email protected]

Alternatively, call our public enquiry line on 0117 931 7317.

Consultation events are planned for early 2024. These events will provide an opportunity for you to discuss these proposals. Details are available on our website.

If you require this document in an alternative format, or you need assistance with the online form, contact [email protected]. (Please note: this email address should not be used for submitting your consultation response.)

For more information about our work to date on this topic, please see our freedom of speech webpages.

Published 14 December 2023

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