The Honest Marketer

How can we help? As a former Marketing Director with experience of working both in and for multiple universities, Kathryn understands only too well the processes, priorities, pressures, personalities, expectations, constraints and realities of central, faculty and service department marketing and recruitment activities. Working in partnership with you and your colleagues, she can provide an objective, independent analysis of the risk posed by current publishing and guidance practices undertaken by both internal and external parties connected with your institution. Furthermore, her broad experience in a career spanning over 25 years means she has the knowledge and insight to identify practical solutions.

Consumer law compliance & risk

HEIs have been accountable for information produced since the Academic Infrastructure developed after the 1997 Dearing Report, then its successor the UK Quality Code for HE, covering academic standards, quality and information (Part C). For education marketers, notwithstanding UK advertising codes  introduced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in 1961, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) caught our attention when it investigated universities’ compliance with consumer protection law in 2014. Over and above the negative publicity and damage to reputation from CMA intervention or ASA reprimands, the Office for Students (OfS) can  now impose a monetary penalty, suspend or even deregister a university for non-compliance with any of the ongoing conditions for registration, which include Condition C1: Guidance on consumer protection law. ​As part of registration with OfS, providers must produce a compliance self-assessment and student protection plan setting out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus or institution close. Ongoing compliance will be reviewed by the Quality Assurance Agency as part of its Quality and Standards Review.

Condition C1: Guidance on consumer protection law
“The provider must demonstrate...it has given due regard to relevant guidance about how to comply with consumer protection law...to ensure applicants and students are provided with accurate information about their course & the provider and that such information is quantifiable, timely, accessible & enforceable...and enter into student contracts that have transparent & fair terms.”