What to do if you have concerns about an approved programme
Concerns that we are able to investigate
Before raising a concern about a programme to us, you should consider whether we are the most appropriate body to raise your concern to. Within our regulatory remit, we are able to investigate concerns about:
- programmes that are on our register of approved programmes; and
- how education providers meet our standards.
Decisions made through our process will not result in any outcome changing for the person who raised the concern. Rather, we may require education providers to consider or change their policies and processes that underpin how the programme runs.
What you should do before raising a concern to us
We ask that you have engaged with local concern and appeals processes before you raise your concerns to us and that those processes have concluded. We ask this because:
- we have judged that programmes meet our education standard that requires “a thorough and effective process in place for receiving and responding to learner complaints”; and
- from our experience, local resolution is preferable to all parties.
Once the internal process has concluded you should also consider whether we are the most appropriate body to raise your concern with.
For example, if you are a student or learner who is unhappy with the outcome of an internal complaints process, we are unable to act to change the decision of the education provider. Our powers are limited to investigating how programmes continue to meet our standards.
How to raise a concern
We ask that you contact us informally before raising a formal concern. We will be able to help you to decide whether we are able to help and whether we are the most appropriate body to raise your concern to. We will then ask you to complete programme concern form.
We ask those that raise concerns to identify themselves, as it is helpful for all parties to know who has raised a concern. Specifically, this allows:
- us to properly investigate, including asking for further evidence / information (where required);
- us to clarify our understanding of issues;
- education providers to understand the context when providing a response.
- Once we have received your form, we will consider whether the concern could impact on how the programme meets our standards. We will make our decision and return it to you along with our reasons within two weeks of receiving your form.
- If we decide to investigate, we will pass your concern to the education provider and give them four weeks to respond to the concern. We will also give you an opportunity to supply any supporting information at this stage.
- Once we have received responses, we will undertake a full investigation of the issues raised and make a recommendation about how to proceed. We will normally make this decision within four weeks of receiving the responses.
- We then give you and the education provider four weeks to provide any comments on our recommendation.
- Our investigation report, along with any comments from you and / or the education provider are then passed to our Education and Training Committee to make a final decision about what action to take (if any).