The Government often conducts consultations on key policy issues in order to build a better understanding and gather feedback from relevant stakeholders. As the UK’s student mental health charity, we regularly respond to consultations with the aim of sharing our expertise, research and advocating for students.
Between February and May 2023, the Office for Students opened a consultation around their newly proposed approach to the regulation of harassment and sexual misconduct. Our response included:
- We are pleased to see the OfS taking further steps to combat sexual misconduct and harassment in higher education, an issue that evidently needs addressing
- However, we detail some concerns with the proposal including resourcing, training, a single document for all forms of harassment, and storage of data
- We are therefore asking for further clarification from the OfS on the concerns above, and urge the organisation to work in partnership with higher education providers, and students, to develop effective sexual misconduct and harassment policies.
In July 2022, the Office for Students published a consultation on proposed changes to the National Student Survey (NSS), including proposals for new questions to be introduced in the 2023 survey. Our response included:
- A detailed response to the proposal introducing a question on mental health and wellbeing provisions, outlining concerns around the framing of the question
- Our response to the proposal to add a question on Freedom of Expression, outlining our concerns around relevance and highlighting the importance of context