OfS approach to disruption caused by industrial action

A reminder of our approach to the protection of students’ interests in the event of industrial action at universities and colleges.

In November 2019 the OfS published details of our approach to the protection of students’ interests in the event of industrial action at universities and colleges. We are now republishing that note in advance of further expected action. This does not impose additional requirements beyond what is already in our regulatory framework but sets out areas where conditions of registration may apply, and where failures may amount to breaches of conditions.

Read the briefing note

We will be coordinating with organisations such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) to identify providers where significant numbers of student complaints are upheld, as well as monitoring reported events and notifications from third parties.

Student representative bodies that have concerns that their providers are systematically failing to follow their own procedures or protect certain groups of students are able to report these to us, and should use this briefing note as a guide. We are unable to respond to complaints from individual students, but we have published guidance on what students should do if they have concerns that their studies have been disrupted.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said:

'We expect universities and colleges to do all they can to avoid disruption for students, and to minimise the impact of industrial action on their studies.

'We require universities and colleges to comply with our regulatory conditions during industrial action as at any other time. That means that they must do all they can to mitigate against the impacts of this action, and keep students informed at every stage.

'Our role is not to investigate the complaints of individual students. Where students have concerns, they should first raise them with their university and – if that process is exhausted – with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). We will be monitoring the situation and will work closely with the OIA to identify any universities where there may have been a systemic failing, and will take action as appropriate.

'We have made clear to universities and colleges our expectations of them in terms of mitigating the impact of the industrial action on students, in line with our regulatory conditions.'

Read the guidance for students
Published 18 February 2020
Last updated 21 February 2020
21 February 2020
Nicola Dandridge's quote updated

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