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What has the University of Warwick already done to ensure compliance with CMA guidance?

This information is intended only as a summary. If you are a member of staff or a student at the University of Warwick, you will find more detailed information and guidance at Consumer Protection Law.

The University of Warwick has been keen to respond proactively to the compliance advice issued by the Competitions & Markets Authority in March 2015 to the Higher Education sector.

(a) A Working Group was established which has met regularly and which includes representation from academic departments, professional service areas with a particular remit to take forward compliance with consumer protection legislation, and student representation.

(b) The University’s formal terms and conditions for acceptance of a place on an undergraduate course of study have been revised and updated and sent out with offers for 2016 entry.

(c) Material information for courses of study has been developed and is being sent out to all candidates being made an offer of a place on a course of study for 2016 entry. The University is aware of a number of fields within the template where further work is required in order to meet all current information requirements and has put in hand projects to enable this to happen.

(d) Information on additional costs incurred by students on courses of study is currently being collated. This information will be available to enrolled students and applicants and will be included within the University’s material information for each course of study for the 2016/17 admissions cycle and for enrolled students from Autumn 2016.

(e) The University has amended Ordinance 16 which currently couples academic penalties for non-academic debt, which will receive its final reading by the University Council in May 2016.

(f) Work has been undertaken to develop new Student Rights and Responsibilities webpage, providing a user-friendly interface to academic regulation and other provisions governing the student experience, accompanied by information about related sources of information advice and guidance.

(g) The University’s long-standing Good Practice Guide for Information on Students was updated over the summer vacation 2015 in the light of CMA guidance.

(h) Departments have also been asked, when considering support for their incoming and continuing students, to refer to the document produced by the Induction Working Group entitled Induction: Minimum Requirements for Supporting Transition at Warwick.

(i) Guidance notes have been developed for staff involved in Open Days. These were circulated to Admissions contacts in academic departments ahead of the September 2015 Open Day.

(j) Additional guidance notes have also been prepared for student ambassadors involved in Open Days.

(k) Departments have been referred to the Statement of Good Practice on Higher Education Course Changes and Closures jointly produced by the HEFCE, Guild HE, the Association of Colleges, Study UK, the Independent Universities Group and Universities UK and reminded about procedures for discontinuing courses of study, including necessary planning horizons and good practice in the involvement of students in curriculum change.

(l) A communications plan has been developed to ensure that colleagues across the institution, whatever their role, will, in addition to being able to take advantage of online information and guidance, be able to attend a briefing session on CMA guidance and our collective responsibilities under consumer protection legislation in order to ask questions, seek clarification and feel better able to discharge their own role. The need to consider CMA guidance in the light of individual roles was highlighted via our staff news web pages, and a postcard was circulated to all staff across the institution as an aide memoir and prompt.

(m) Three generic CMA briefing sessions were held in the Autumn term of 2015-16, and sessions relevant to colleagues working in the areas of teaching and learning, admissions and recruitment, and marketing and communications respectively, were held in January and February 2016.

(n) A series of department specific briefings is also being rolled out to respond to issues arising from staff in differing disciplinary environments.

(o) The University has invested heavily in its complaints handing framework in the last two years. It has trained a cadre of professionally-accredited mediators and developed the skills of 30 staff in front line roles in complaints handling. Three further sessions are planned for this year.

(p) Links will also be provided here in due course to advice regarding students who use social media to express views that could be taken into account during the ‘pre-contractual’ phase, information on additional costs and ‘surprising terms’.