Student guide to industrial action

Protecting student interests

Universities and colleges registered with the OfS must meet our conditions of registration. These set out the minimum requirements that universities and colleges must meet.

During any period of strikes or other industrial action, the OfS’s conditions of registration and monitoring and enforcement powers remain in place. Industrial action may increase the likelihood that a university or college will not meet our conditions - where we identify concerns, we may investigate and take enforcement action.

We have published a briefing note for universities and colleges, setting out our expectations for them to minimise disruption to students during any industrial action. This includes the expectation that your university or college takes all reasonable steps to avoid or limit disruption to your studies and clearly communicates any changes that might affect you.

When industrial action takes place, the OfS will take steps to protect student interests:

  • We communicate with universities and colleges to remind them of our expectations
  • We review information and intelligence we receive to identify universities and colleges that aren't meeting our requirements
  • We use our public profile, website and social media accounts to keep students informed of their consumer rights and provide information about how they can make complaints if they feel they are not receiving the high quality academic experience they expect
  • If we identify concerns, we may investigate universities and colleges that have not met our requirements, and take enforcement action if necessary.

Submitting a notification

If you feel that your university or college may not be meeting our requirements, you can tell us by sending us a notification. We use notifications from students, staff and members of the public to help identify where we may need to take regulatory action to protect the interests of students.

Please see our guide to notifications for more information on when a notification should be sent and how to go about this.

Please note that the OfS is unable to resolve individual student complaints. As a market regulator, we do not have the power to seek redress for individuals. Students with individual concerns or complaints should follow the steps about what to do if you're unhappy with the impact of industrial action on their studies.

Read our guidance on submitting notifications to us
Published 09 November 2021
Last updated 24 November 2022
24 November 2022
Minor updates, changing 'providers' to 'universities or colleges'.

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