Bound only to join in

January 16, 2004

The higher education bill will not make decisions of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator legally binding, as you suggest ("Upfront fees ditched as access and complaints are fine-tuned", THES , January 9).

The higher education sector and the National Union of Students have established the OIA to consider unresolved student complaints on a voluntary basis from March. The bill simply proposes to underpin these arrangements legally by requiring institutions to participate.

Decisions will not be binding, although we would naturally hope institutions would agree to any recommendations made.

Alan Johnson
Minister of state for lifelong learning, further and higher education

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