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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education



If you are a student, member of staff, external examiner or in other ways engaged in higher education and are concerned about the standards and quality of a particular provider, we may be able to help.

QAA is able to address issues that suggest broader failings in the management of quality and standards. We cannot take on individual incidents. Find out how we can help.

Raising a concern about a higher education provider

We have a Concerns procedure for investigating concerns about standards, quality and information that higher education providers produce in the UK. Providers include all universities, other degree-awarding bodies, and any organisation that has a formal agreement with a degree-awarding body to provide higher education on its behalf.

Concerns must relate to one of the following topics:

  • the academic standards
  • the quality of learning opportunities made available
  • the public information about a higher education programme

Before contacting us, please read our guide to check whether your concern is one that we can investigate, and to find out how to submit it to us.

We do not investigate individual grievances. If your concern is of a personal or very specific nature you may need to contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (Opens in a new window).


You can also use our Concerns Wizard, which is an interactive guide that will help you establish whether or not you have a valid concern that we can help with. Please note, the wizard make take a few minutes to load.


Our procedures for concerns, complaints and appeals 

Our mission is to safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education. One aspect of this is to investigate situations where it is suspected that a higher education provider is failing to meet the agreed Expectations set out in the Quality Code.

We use the term concerns to mean concerns about standards, quality and the information that providers make available in relation to their higher education provision. We use the term complaints to mean complaints specifically about QAA. We use appeals to mean formal objections to the outcomes of our reviews.

Raising a concern about a higher education provider in Scotland

QAA Scotland has developed a Protocol for managing potential risks to quality and academic standards​ (PDF, 110KB opens in new window) . It is intended to have a similar role to the Concerns about standards and quality in higher education arrangements that operate in England and Wales.

It is not a mechanism for addressing individual complaints or grievances. These should still be addressed through the institution's internal mechanisms and, ultimately, via the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (opens in new window).

Referring Concerns to reviews

QAA can refer concerns identified through its Concerns Scheme to review teams for consideration. To find out more, please see the guidance document Referring concerns to reviews​.​

Complaining about QAA

We operate a Complaints procedure for anyone wishing to complain about QAA.

Appealing against the findings of QAA audits or reviews

We have an Appeals procedure for higher education providers wishing to appeal against the outcome of a review. Please note that this is separate from both the Complaints procedure (complaints about QAA) and the Concerns procedure (complaints about providers).​