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Complainant Name:
Fair Access

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Times


Sir Graeme Davies, Director of Fair Access, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate and misleading information about the Office for Fair Access' assessment of access agreements submitted by universities wanting to charge fees of more than £6,000 in 2012-13. The complainant had sought to correct the inaccuracies by submitting a letter for publication, but the newspaper had initially refused to publish it. He had then complained to the PCC under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letter from the complainant:

Dear Sir

Further to your article (‘Universities are failing to prove that higher fees are justified', 14 May), universities and colleges wanting to charge fees of more than £6,000 in 2012-13 submitted their access agreements to OFFA in April, setting out the measures they will be putting in place to sustain or improve access and student retention.

Your article suggested that one in three universities was being refused initial permission to charge up to £9000 per year. In fact, when the article was published, we were in the early stages of assessing these agreements to make sure that they are satisfactory. At that time we had not had discussions with any university, nor refused any universities initial permission. We will not be commenting on this matter further until 12 July, when we will be announcing the outcomes.

Sir Graeme Davies

Office for Fair Access, Bristol

Date Published: 08/07/2011

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