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We can investigate concerns about academic standards and quality in Scottish Higher Education institutions (HEI) raised by students, staff and other parties through our Scottish Concerns Scheme. This is not a mechanism for addressing individual complaints or grievances. Institutions should address this through their internal mechanisms and, ultimately, via the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

What is a concern?

We use the term 'concerns' to mean concerns about how HEIs manage their academic standards, the quality of learning opportunities and the information that they make available about their provision.

Where such concerns indicate serious systemic or procedural problems, a detailed investigation will be conducted. The Scottish Concerns Scheme sets out the arrangements by which that can happen. The aim of the Scheme is to promote public confidence in the Scottish university sector by offering a responsive means for exploring cases brought to QAA's attention outside the regular review arrangements.

Who we can investigate?

We can investigate concerns about:

  • university sector HEIs in Scotland (QAA subscribers)
  • courses provided by the Scottish university sector HEIs, whether delivered by the HEIs directly or through working with other organisations and partners in the UK or overseas
  • HEIs that have entered the detailed scrutiny stage of an application for degree awarding powers or university title.

What we can investigate?

We can investigate:

  • concerns about academic standards and quality, where we think these raise broader issues about the management of quality, standards and/or the information HEIs make available about their provision.

We will only investigate concerns we think indicate serious weaknesses in the HEI's approach to the management of quality and standards. Information about isolated mistakes or occurrences of bad practice, or unverified anecdotes or hearsay, will not normally be sufficient to trigger further action.

How do I raise a concern?

Submissions to the Scottish Concerns Scheme should be made using the submission form and must be accompanied by documentary evidence to justify any inquiries to the HEI concerned. Those raising concerns could consider making a request under the Freedom of Information Act or by means of a Subject Access Request to the HEI to get information to support their submission.

Guidance and submission form

Scottish Concerns Scheme

Publication date: 17 Oct 2019

Submission form - Scottish Concerns Scheme

Publication date: 03 Jun 2021