Our approach to consumer protection is to train staff who communicate with prospective and current students in relevant consumer protection law. This is to ensure that prospective and current students are able to make informed decisions about their future education.
In accordance with UK law all Higher Education institutions must exercise compliance with their obligations under consumer protection law. In 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued clarification on the law, highlighting the following areas of concern:
- the information available to students to enable them to choose the most appropriate course and HE provider
- the terms and conditions used by some universities, including their accessibility, fairness and proportionality
- the speed and effectiveness of complaints handling by some universities, as well as an apparent lack of student knowledge about the process.
The Consumer Legislation Compliance Operational Group continues to lead on ensuring that the university's compliance obligations in this area are met. Meeting quarterly, the group oversees the review of current arrangements, and steering the future approach, for compliance across UCL. The group also works to promote a two-way communication flow about the impacts, and potential impacts, of Consumer Legislation Compliance on the operational aspects of UCL’s faculties, departments and professional services functions.
Student and Registry Services (SRS) and Communications and Marketing (CAM) continue to review areas of risk surrounding consumer protection compliance and work closely with academic departments and professional services to ensure that these risks are mitigated.
SRS is working with CAM to consolidate resources regarding consumer protection. The SRS compliance team has developed these webpages for the use of all staff involved in prospective and current student communications. The SRS compliance team looks at the requirements set out in the OfS Regulatory Framework and CMA regarding consumer law to ensure UCL is and continues to be compliant. In addition, the compliance team works as an advisory and support service for all members of staff at UCL who have queries regarding consumer protection laws and how they impact their role at UCL.
UCL is currently developing an e-learning module for staff and hopes to launch the module in late 2019. The compliance team is also offering training for key staff involved in prospective and current student communications. The training will address common concerns and identified risks. Moving forward the compliance team is looking to develop a train the trainer model to ensure that this knowledge is embedded across UCL.
UCL is working closely with members of the Academic Registrars Council and the Russell Group to ensure cross-sector knowledge acquisition and sharing.