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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The City SU Advice Service is part of City, University of London Students Union, a registered charity. It is independent from the university and offers free, impartial and confidential advice to City students on a range of issues on Academic and Money Advice.

What we can offer?
What we can offer?

• Academic Advice – Extenuating Circumstances, Academic Appeals, Academic Misconduct, Fitness to Practice, Complaints, and Conduct and Discipline.

• Money Advice – Budgeting Guidance and Signposting

• Short Term Loans – Interest free loans of up to £200 to help students with short-term emergency cash flow issues.

• Guidance and support on Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Assault

What we cannot offer?
What we cannot offer?

• Legal Representation – we can provide an impartial advocacy service at your meetings with the University when we are working with you on your case, and will sometimes communicate but we cannot provide you with legal representation.

• Specialist Debt Advice – we offer guidance on budgeting and can provide advice on instances where you may be running into debt. If you are facing debt issues we will signpost you to appropriate specialist support.

• Writing your statements – our advice is designed to empower you so you can respond to your challenges independently. We can provide detailed advice to help you write the statement then provide feedback on a draft , but cannot supply the actual writing content for you.

• Predict outcome of your case – we can provide insight into the likely outcome of your case based on the evidence presented to us and City’s policies, but cannot confirm what the decision of the University will be.

• Speaking for you – Our role is to offer you impartial representation at meetings. We cannot speak for you unless perhaps you have accessibility needs, however, you can request to speak with us privately during a meeting if you are concerned about anything.

• Make the University give you a specific outcome - We cannot tell the University to give you a certain outcome. We can however advise you on escalating your case if you are dissatisfied with an outcome, and are very knowledgeable on the types of outcomes being proportionate in line with City’s regulations.

How do I contact and access Union Advice?
How do I contact and access Union Advice?

If you require advice from an adviser via email or wish to book an appointment to discuss your situation please fill in our Union Advice Case Form. When you complete this form it helps us prepare with giving you bespoke advice once we understand the background to your case and the outcomes you desire to achieve. Please read our User Service Agreement and Data Protection Policy carefully.

How long will it take to get a response from Union Advice?
How long will it take to get a response from Union Advice?

We aim to respond within 3 working days but responses can exceed this time during particularly busy periods following the release of results. We are not able to advise students without a Case Form, or see students without an appointment.

Can I have an appointment in person on campus?
Can I have an appointment in person on campus?

Currently, all our appointments are being conducted via Teams. However, as we return on campus cautiously we aim to offer a blended appointments service for students, prioritising students who are unable to attend appointments remotely due to health reasons or other circumstances.

How do we process Personal Data?
How do you process Personal Data?

As per our Privacy Policy and Data Protection Policy, when accessing the Union Advice service, under the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 Article 6(1)(f), Union Advice record ("process") the following information relevant to your case/enquiry in order to create a case file:

• Name
• Student number
• Contact details
• Academic details (eg. course, year of study etc.)
• Information and correspondence regarding your issue (your case file) including special category data provided by you in your request for advice (i.e, medical information, criminal convictions etc).

This is because we have a legitimate interest to do so in order to provide you with a service.

Please look at our User Agreement for further information.

Do you ever break confidentiality?
Do you ever break confidentiality?

Everything you disclose to us remains strictly within the advice service, unless you disclose any information we believe is likely to put yourself or anyone else potentially at risk of harm. If this is the case, we will let you know who will be sharing the information and with whom. Any information we share will be in line with our Confidentiality, Privacy and Data Protection Policy.

I have been accused of potential academic misconduct. How can Union Advice help me?
I have been accused of potential academic misconduct. How can Union Advice help me?

Make sure you contact us immediately upon receiving notification of an allegation. We can help you understand the nature of the allegation and City’s Academic Misconduct policy. We can also help you to prepare a response, and can attend any necessary meetings with you. It is important that we have enough notice for this.

I am not happy about the quality of teaching on my course. What should I do?
I am not happy about the quality of teaching on my course. What should I do?

In the first instance, approach your teaching staff for an informal discussion. Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome or feel too uncomfortable speaking with them, fill out our Union Advice Case Form through the SU website and we will help you explore your options.

I am having difficulties with personal issues that are getting in the way of my studies. Can the Advice Service help me?
I am having difficulties with personal issues that are getting in the way of my studies. Can the Advice Service help me?

Yes. You can talk to us in confidence about the difficulties you are experiencing and we can support you with submitting an Extenuating Circumstances claim. We are also able to direct you to the relevant support services available at City. The sooner you come to see us the quicker we can help you! Please note that out service is confidential and we always treat students in a non-judgemental manner.

I am stressed about my upcoming exam or a coursework deadline. Can Union Advice help me?
I am stressed about my upcoming exam or a coursework deadline. Can Union Advice help me?

Have you spoken with your Personal Tutor or Course Officer? If you are still anxious about your assessments then you can get advice from us on requesting a deferred assessment or an extension for your coursework. You may also find it useful to contact the Academic Skills team who can help with advice on managing your time and coping with any stress you may be experiencing.

I am worried that my student loan has not come through. What should I do?
I am worried that my student loan has not come through. What should I do?

You should contact City’s Student Funding team for any questions and advice about student loans, grants and scholarships, including Hardship Fund. If you have any queries on tuition fees, for example if you are struggling to pay your fees, you should contact City’s Income team. Make sure your quote your student number in your communications.

I am not happy with the grades or marks I have received. Can Union Advice help me?
I am not happy with the grades or marks I have received. Can Union Advice help me?

Students can’t change their grades based on academic judgement alone. City’s processes do not allow students to be given marks they have not initially earned.

Students can appeal their marks on one or both grounds:

• Undisclosed Extenuating Circumstances
• Material Error

For further guidance and to discuss whether your case meets the above grounds please get in touch for advice. You are encouraged first however to speak with your tutor directly for feedback so you can understand why you received that grade!

I have not heard back from my adviser. Who else can I contact?
I have not heard back from my adviser. Who else can I contact?

You will receive a response to your case form within 3 working days as per our service user agreement, unfortunately this sometimes can take longer during busy periods. Emailing other SU departments won’t give you a quicker response, as they are not trained advisors with the expertise to advise on your case. Make sure you get in touch with plenty enough time to meet any deadlines. It helps if you specify your deadlines on the Case Form so your allocated advisor is aware.

How can I prepare for an appointment?
How can I prepare for an appointment?

• Send us any evidence such as a Turnitin report (for academic misconduct cases) or an outcome notification from the assessment board (for appeals cases) in good time before the appointment.

• Turn up on time for your appointment or let us know if you are unable to attend or running late.

• Prepare well before your appointment: you will be asked for exact dates of assessments and other key events pertinent to your case.

• Think about the outcomes you wish to achieve and the questions you want to ask us.

• Prepare a timeline of events for issues spanning over longer period of time, this is particularly useful for complaints.

• Keep a list of your School staff that you have spoken to already (for example your course officer, personal tutor, module leader, etc). We sometimes contact them on your behalf with your permission.

• Forward any relevant emails to your case to us in advance.

• Check that your Teams app works, and make sure you have a quiet space during the appointment.

• Keep your programme handbook accessible, you may need to refer to it at the appointment.

What can I expect at the appointment?
What can I expect at the appointment?

You can expect a warm welcome and an outline of the structure of the appointment. We will confirm key aspects of confidentiality policy and safeguarding policies. All advice we provide will be impartial.

We will seek to understand your case in a non-judgemental manner and advise you on relevant policies to help you see how they related to your case. We will establish what you want to achieve and break down the University’s policies in a way for you to easily understand.

At the end of the appointment you should have a clear direction on ways forward. You might leave with some actions as well, for example, obtaining evidence, speaking with appropriate course staff, etc.

What can I expect after the appointment?
What can I expect after the appointment?

We will contact you in writing to confirm what was discussed and any actions that were agreed on (if applicable). You should expect to receive the advice notes of the appointment within 3 working days. Sometimes there might be a need for further advice or more details need to be known on your case. We will contact you should such a need arise.

I not happy with service I have received from my adviser . Who can I complain to?
I not happy with service I have received from my adviser . Who can I complain to?

In the first instance speak to our adviser and see how things can be improved/ rectified.

We will look to improve Union Advice and will welcome feedback from students. Students may write to us to let us know how we can improve our service or may fill in our online survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FGQLRTF.

You can find details of our Complaint’s Procedure in the Bye Laws of our Constitution which can be accessed on our website.

Complaints would be investigated as per the Bye-Law. However, the SU Advice Manager will be made aware of any complaint and any recommendations arising from complaints.

I am trying to get in touch with a course staff member. But no one at my School is responding. Can Union Advice help me get in touch with someone?
I am trying to get in touch with a course staff member. But no one at my School is responding. Can Union Advice help me get in touch with someone?

You may experience some delays in getting a response during peak programme operational periods such as assessment periods and also during summer holidays when staff are on leave. Also, during unprecedent times such as the pandemic we are still in, staff sickness can play a big role in delayed responses. Unfortunately, we can’t simply make the University ‘work faster’ if they can’t reasonably do so. If the delays persist then get in touch with us, and we can discuss you escalating the matter further or another way of you obtaining the information you need.

Do we advise on money matters?
Do you advise on money matters?

We also have a money advice service where we provide money management guidance including budgeting and offer short term loan scheme for emergencies (you can borrow up to £200). To get advice on money matters, you will need to complete our Online Case Form. Have a look at our Money Advice page to see how else we might be able to support you.

Do we advise on discrimination and harassment issues?
Do you advise on discrimination and harassment issues?

We advise on biases in line with City’s Complaints procedure / bullying & harassment. We can help you articulate your case and advise you on informal channels to have your concerns resolved and advise you on making a complaint as appropriate.

The University will work with its students to ensure that their rights, safety and welfare are protected throughout their involvement in any informal or formal procedures relating to any forms of harassment and bullying. This is to ensure that students are not treated differently if they report on harassment and bullying issues.

Our advisers are also trained as Harassment Advisers and we can offer students initial advice as required. All advisors are also members of the Students’ Union’s Race Equality Working group, and are extremely passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion for City Students.

I have been assaulted, can you help me?
I have been assaulted, can you help me?

We will respond to you and offer you an in-person appointment at our offices as a priority. Our team of academic advisors are also trained Harassment Advisors. We provide a safe, confidential space for you to explain what happened and what support and solution you are looking for. We will listen to you without judgement and signpost you to specialist support services such as City’s Counselling service or emergency support services as appropriate. If you don’t wish to take any action straightway that is fine, we will still be here to listen if you need us.

Union Advice is AQS accredited, what does that mean?
You’re AQS accredited, what does that mean?

The SU Advice Service holds the Advice Quality Standard Kitemark (AQS), which demonstrates to students using our service that we are working to the best possible professional standards. You can therefore expect a high quality and consistent service from us, in line with our User Service Agreement.

Do we have a quick go-to guide for the most commonly used services at City?
Do you have a quick go-to guide for the most commonly used services at City?

You can find a comprehensive list of support services at City, as well as outside of the university, through our website at https://www.citystudents.co.uk/advice/support-services/