This podbriefing provides a summary of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published advice for higher education (HE) providers in the UK, to support compliance with consumer protection law when dealing with students.
The CMA published their advice to HE providers in March 2015 and the advice emphasises the need for all HE providers to comply with consumer protection law and encourages us to:
- Review and make necessary changes to the information we provide to prospective and current students, and our relevant practices, policies, rules and regulations that govern our dealings with students;
- Consider putting mechanisms in place to ensure all of our different departments and faculties are following this advice and complying with consumer protection law;
- Ensure that our relevant staff are aware of, understand, and follow this advice when designing and/or operating our internal procedures and practices, as we are responsible for the actions of all our staff, as well as those who are acting in our name or on our behalf.
From October 2015, the CMA has been monitoring the sector and will be carrying out a review to assess compliance with consumer protection law. Should serious infringements be identified, the CMA or another consumer enforcement partner may decide to take action.
The University has undertaken an initial review of its prospectuses and websites, as well as communications with prospective students. We have amended our Fee Schedule and also developed a new consumer contract to be shared with all applicants at offer stage and again at registration.
To assist a wider group of colleagues in complying with responsibilities in relation to consumer protection, we have also produced a detailed briefing note for all Schools Liaison, International Office and Widening Participation staff who are in frontline recruitment roles. In addition, we have produced this podcast targeted at all staff involved in recruitment and conversion activity, including Admissions Tutors, Agents, speakers at Open Day