Union Advice Service Standards and User Agreement

This Service Standards and User Agreement will define what you (the service user) can expect from our service, as well as what we (the service) will expect from you as a service user. By completing a Case Form you agree to abide by the Service Standards and User Agreement as outlined below. 
 

Service Limitations

The Union Advice service will be available to current City, University of London (the University) students, who are members of City, University of London Students’ Union (the Union). 

If you have:

 

  • withdrawn from your studies;
  • been withdrawn;
  • graduated;
  • been expelled; 
  • or have chosen to terminate your membership of the Union;

then Union Advice will continue to offer you services up to 12 months from the date that you ceased to be a Union member. This period will not be extended or negotiated.

Union Advice will not provide advice to students who study at the University’s partner institutions unless such students are members of the City, University of London Students’ Union.

What You Can Expect from Us and Our Obligations

1. Data Protection

Union Advice will abide by the Union’s Data Protection Policy and Privacy Policy. 

These outline your rights under the General Data Protection Regulations 2018.

 

2. Authority to Act

Union Advice will aim to empower students to act on their own cases. However, sometimes Union Advice may agree with you to act on your behalf.

By signing this agreement, you agree that your Adviser may, from time to time, discuss your case with members of University or Union staff or other authorised third parties. As far as possible, all discussion will be agreed with you ahead of time.

You also agree that in some situations your Adviser may act on your behalf. As far as possible, any action on your behalf will be agreed with you ahead of time. Such action may include but will not be limited to:

  • Communicating with University members of staff;
  • Negotiating and advocating for you in University meetings and panels;
  • Submitting forms;
  • Submitting evidence;
  • Requesting information relevant to your case from the University.

When Union Advice or its Advisers act on your behalf, they will maintain a policy of confidentiality (detailed below).

3. Representation & Advocacy

Union Advice and its Advisers may represent and advocate for students at meetings and panels held under the Appeals against Assessment Board Decisions policy, the Academic Misconduct Regulations, Complaints Procedure, Student Disciplinary Procedure, as well as some other informal and conciliatory meetings within the University.

Such representation will be subject to the availability of an Adviser, and at least 48 hours’ notice will normally be required in order to allow time for the Adviser to familiarise themselves with the case. 

Union Advice may not be able provide representation in every case, based on the complexity of the case or caseload burden, even with 48 hours’ notice. In such circumstances, Union Advice will work with you to try to have your meeting postponed or rearranged, or we will provide you with advice so you feel confident in attending alone or with a friend.

4. Confidentiality

Union Advice will strictly adhere to our Confidentiality Policy.  

All information that students share with Union Advice will be treated with the strictest confidence. 

An Adviser may share information with another Adviser within Union Advice but will not share any information with a third party outside the Union Advice without your full consent.  All face-to-face appointments will be conducted in a dedicated private space and any e-mail correspondence will be accessible to authorised Union staff only.

The Union Advice Confidentiality Policy recognises that occasions may arise where Advisers feel they need to breach confidentiality. Union Advice will recognise that any breach of confidentiality may damage the reputation of the service and will therefore treat any decision to breach with utmost seriousness.

Circumstances where an Adviser may feel they need to breach confidentiality may include:

  • Situations involving a high risk of serious actual/potential self-harm or harm to others. 
  • Conflicts of interest which necessitate an Adviser informing one or more client(s) that they cannot provide advice services or that they can no longer act on the clients’ behalf. By their very nature, such conflicts will draw attention to the fact that Advisers are acting for the other parties and/or that other parties have sought advice from the service.
  • Violations of the law, or situations wherein not to breach confidentiality would break the law; for example, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989, it would be an offence to fail to give information which would help to prevent acts of terrorism or apprehend a terrorist.

Breaches of confidentiality are covered in more detail in our Confidentiality Policy.

5. A Free Service

Union Advice will provide a free service to all members of City, University of London Students’ Union. 

6. An Independent Service

The Union is its own charitable organisation and all advice offered from Union Advice will be independent of all external or third parties including City, University of London.

7. An Impartial Service

Our Advisors will be independent but impartial. Union Advice will not operate a service that is unnecessarily adversarial with the University. 

Union Advice will give impartial advice to students. We will explore all options for the resolution of your case with you, while ensuring any consequences of your available options are explained without prejudicing you to a particular viewpoint.

Union Advice will strictly advise on University policy. Union Advice will advise on the point of view of the University as an institution and its policies alongside exploring your options and your point of view. 

8. An Empowering Service

Union Advice attempt to empower students to make their own decisions about the best way forward through any given advice.

Union Advice will support and empower you to take control of your situation. We prefer support you to take necessary actions yourself and will not normally act on your behalf.

9. A Non-Judgemental Service

Union Advice will assist and advise all students and consider all cases regardless of their current situation or how it arose. We will not pass judgement.

We will not ask questions or ask for information unless we feel it is relevant to the case.

10. Equality & Respect

Union Advice will provide equal access to all students and not discriminate against a service user on any grounds, compliant with the Union’s Equality and Diversity Policy.

11. An Honest Service

Advisers will provide honest advice and guidance on academic issues and university procedures based on experience and knowledge of the regulations. 

Advisers will not guarantee any outcomes for a given case. We will not unduly speculate or base advice pertinent to a given case on speculation.

We will only provide guidance and advice based on criteria and rules set out in the policy of City, University of London. 

Advisers will not provide any advice on issues outside their field of competence. If an adviser cannot give advice on any issue then they may refer the student to another source of assistance.

12. A Responsive Service

Union Advice will aim to respond to emails within three working days and will let you know if we expect to take longer to provide you with a response.

Union Advice will aim to provide you with written notes within three working days of any appointment outlining the details of the meeting as well as what advice was offered.

The first working day will be counted as the day after the appointment is held or the Case Form/email is received by Union Advice.

 

What We Expect from You

1. Commitment

Union Advice will expect you to arrive for any appointments in good time. Appointments will run for a maximum 45-minute duration.

Failure to arrive within 10 minutes of the appointment time will result in the loss of the appointment and you may not be seen for a full week after dependent upon appointment availability. 

For the avoidance of doubt: Union Advice will cancel any appointment if you arrive any later than ten minutes after the appointed time agreed for the meeting. 

Union Advice will expect you to notify us if you know you will be unable to attend or are going to be late. Where you are likely to be more than 10 minutes late we will not be able to hold the appointment or wait for you; it is likely you will be advised to rebook. 

Union Advice may discontinue, limit, or otherwise restrict face-to-face advice if you miss three or more appointments.

You will be expected to bring any documents, e-mails, letters, and other materials that are relevant to your case as the details in these items may be central to the advice we provide.

Union Advice will expect students to carry out any course of action agreed between them and an Adviser. Failure to carry out agreed actions or to present relevant documents and information may considerably delay any further action in the case and may be seen as placing excessive demands on Union Advice resources. Such failure may lead to the withdrawal of service as noted in our Case Closure Policy (3.1).

2. Responsibility

Union Advice will encourage you to take responsibility for your studies and your case. This means we will expect you to write your own statements and correspondence and speak for yourself in meetings and hearings. 

The ultimate responsibility for the progress of any case will rest with you.

Union Advice will expect you to submit forms and take necessary action on your case within set time limits as per University policy or agreement with your Adviser. You will ensure that you follow advice provided in a timely way.

Union Advice will make sure you feel confident to act on your case by providing you with guidance, support and feedback at every step.

3. Honesty

Union Advice will expect you to provide honest and accurate information pertinent to your case. In order for us to provide accurate and relevant advice, we will request you provide all of the facts and information surrounding your circumstances. We appreciate that your circumstances may include sensitive information. Such information will remain confidential.

Failure to disclose all relevant information in good time may affect the outcome of your case. As per our Case Closure policy (3.1), if we find that a student deliberately withholds information material to their case or lies on issues material to the case we may withdraw service from you.

4. Communication

The University and other third parties may communicate with you directly. Union Advice will expect you to keep us informed of any pertinent communications from the University or other third parties throughout the duration of your case.

5. Respect

We ask that you be patient when corresponding with your adviser, who will be managing a high number of other urgent cases alongside yours. If you are waiting for an email response or call back, please bear this in mind and allow your adviser reasonable time to respond.

We will expect all students to treat our staff with respect. You will be expected to adhere to all relevant University policies around conduct when using our service. 

Failure to behave in a respectful manner may result in a withdrawal of service as per our Case Closure Policy (3.1).

Feedback & Complaints

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 at unionadvice@city.ac.uk.

You can find details of our complaint’s procedure in the Bye Laws of our Constitution which can be accessed on our website here.