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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Concerns about providers 

Investigating concerns about UK higher education providers 

Contact details

Julian Ellis

Head of Concerns

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

Southgate House

Southgate Street




We work with providers of UK higher education to check that they meet UK-wide expectations regarding academic standards, the quality of learning opportunities, and the information they provide about their higher education provision. 

The recommendations within our review reports are designed to help providers address potentially problematic issues before they become serious. However, sometimes it will happen that students, staff or other parties have concerns about a provider that they believe require investigation. Where such concerns indicate serious systemic or procedural problems, QAA will investigate them in detail through our Concerns procedure

Whom we can investigate

We can investigate concerns about:

  • higher education providers (including degree-awarding bodies) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that subscribe to us (see the list of our subscribers)
  • Scottish higher education providers (through a separate scheme (PDF 1KB))
  • courses delivered by third parties in the UK or abroad on behalf of providers that subscribe to us
  • providers applying for degree-awarding powers and/or university title
  • organisations that have applied to us for educational oversight
  • Access to HE courses.

What we can investigate

We can investigate concerns about academic standards and quality and about information that higher education providers make available about their provision, where we think such concerns indicate serious systemic or procedural problems. The formal Expectations that providers are required to meet are set out in the Quality Code.

Examples of what we can investigate include:

  • misleading information about the accreditation of a course by a professional body
  • inadequate guidance to examiners on marking examination scripts
  • inadequate support for placement learning
  • failure to follow assessment regulations
  • the failure of a provider to make available information on the aims and learning outcomes of a course
  • the failure of assessment to be robust, valid and reliable.

We also investigate concerns identified through our other activities.

What we can't investigate

Examples of what we cannot investigate include:

  • matters of academic judgement, such as examination results
  • requests for institutions or external examiners to re-mark work
  • grievances against individual staff
  • issues surrounding visa rejection, tuition fees and/or refunds
  • problems that the institution has already rectified
  • isolated mistakes or occurrences of bad practice.

What to do if we can't investigate your concern

Submitting a concern to us

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