What is your role as a Point of Contact?
All providers are different and the exact nature of your role as our Point of Contact is likely to vary depending on the position you hold at the provider, the size and structure of the provider and whether you delegate any complaints to other members of staff.
You will normally be the person we contact with any queries and who we send information to relating to a complaint. We will send you a regular update – our Update for Points of Contact – which will include important information and reminders specifically for Points of Contact. You will receive this automatically via email. Please make sure to take time to read these updates. We will also send other types of correspondence to you throughout the year, such as draft Annual Statements, our e-newsletters and information about upcoming workshops and other outreach activities.
One of the most important functions of your role as our Point of Contact is to act as a single point of contact at a provider for us to correspond with about cases. This helps us to communicate with a provider efficiently and in a consistent way. As our Point of Contact, you will normally be responsible for circulating our correspondence internally where necessary and coordinating the provider’s response. If you need to pass any individual complaints to another member of staff to deal with, please let us know. If you are not available for any reason, we will contact the provider's Point of Contact Delegate, where one has been nominated. If the provider hasn’t nominated a Point of Contact Delegate, please let us know who to contact in your absence.
Some examples of the tasks you may be responsible for as our Point of Contact include:
- Responding to our requests for information on individual complaints and giving us the provider’s comments on the complaint;
- Talking to our case-handlers about the way the provider dealt with the case under its internal processes and, where appropriate, discussing opportunities for resolving the complaint informally or settling;
- Updating us on the provider’s compliance with our Recommendations;
- Sending us general information about the provider that we might need from time to time. For example, information about Completion of Procedures Letters or regulations;
- Responding to draft Annual Statements;
- Attending our workshops, webinars or other outreach events and/or helping to arrange visits for other staff to attend.
What support is there for you as a Point of Contact?
Our Scheme is independent and impartial, so we can’t normally give specific advice on how to deal with individual cases under a provider’s own procedures. However, we want to make sure that you have access to the information you need to be able to meet the requirements of our Scheme and to understand the principles of the Good Practice Framework (GPF). If you can’t find the resources you need to answer your questions on our website, please get in touch.
We will normally direct any queries we have about Completion of Procedures Letters to you first. You may therefore find it especially useful to make sure that you and any other relevant staff at the provider are familiar with our Completion of Procedures Letters guidance.
The GPF sets out principles and operational good practice to support providers to run fair internal procedures. The Framework informs the way we review complaints and we normally expect providers’ processes and procedures to be consistent with it.
We run regular workshops and webinars. Some offer an introduction to the OIA, others focus on good practice, particular types of cases or specific areas of our process. We advertise these events in our e-newsletters and on our outreach pages.
We can also offer outreach visits to providers, either remotely or in person. Visits are an excellent opportunity for us to meet with key staff at a provider, share information about our work, discuss good practice and learn more about the issues facing providers across the sector. We also like to meet with students’ unions or other student representative bodies as part of our visit. We might approach you to arrange a visit as part of one of our regular programmes, or if you would like us to visit, please let us know.
How can you update a provider’s Point of Contact details?
MyOIA is a secure online portal which you can use to track complaints about a provider and to make changes to your contact details.
Points of Contact and Point of Contact Delegates can invite other complaints-handling staff to create a Provider User MyOIA account. You can find out more on the MyOIA Help page.
It is very important that your contact details and those of any Point of Contact Delegates are kept up to date. Please make sure you tell us about any changes by updating MyOIA. If you have any difficulty with this, you can email the changes to email@example.com.
Collection of contextual complaints data
We have decided to invite all our member providers to give us information in 2020 about the number of formal and review stage complaints and academic appeals they received in 2019. Sharing this data with us will be entirely voluntary. We believe it can have value both for providers and for us, so we hope providers will choose to participate. You can read more on our Latest news page about why we want to collect this data, what we propose to collect, and what we will do with the data.
We want to make it as easy as we can for you to share this data with us. In January 2020 we will send you an email inviting you to share 2019 internal data with us. Participation will be on an opt-in basis, so please do respond to this invitation. We will be asking for information about complaints, academic appeals and other internal processes, about outcomes, and whether a partner provider was involved. Providers can decide what to share. As internal data becomes available at different times, you will have an opportunity to share the data with us each quarter (January, April, July or October). When we have enough participants, we may also ask for other information to make it easier for providers to compare their data with others.
Once we have enough data, we will share it, on an anonymous basis, with providers that have participated.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Gemma, our Provider Liaison Officer
If you have any questions about being our Point of Contact or need more information, please get in touch with Gemma Slade at email@example.com.
Our e-newsletters are a good way to keep up to date with our latest news and information.