Service Level Agreement

Advice and Representation Centre (ARC) - Service Level Agreement

The purpose of this agreement is to outline what level of service you, as a student client, can expect from the Students' Union’s Advice and Representation Centre (ARC). Also included are recommendations to help you receive the best possible service.

The service you can expect to receive from ARC is based on the following principles:

  • Impartiality
  • Independence
  • Non-judgement
  • Confidentiality
  • Honesty
  • Empowerment

In return, you will be expected to approach ARC in an honest, open and respectful manner, and to make a commitment to the course of action agreed with them.

 

What you can expect from US as an Advice Service:

Impartiality - The ARC advisers may present you with a range of plausible options, founded on the University’s regulations and based on the advisers’ collective experience. An adviser will not advise you on a particular route but will outline to you the consequences of each possible decision.

Independence - The Union is an independent charitable company that is separate from the University, so you can be sure of our impartiality and independence. Our interests lie only in aiding you to reach the outcome that is in your best interests.

Non-judgement - Advisers will not judge how you have got to your current situation. All cases will be considered and advisers will focus on your current situation and possible solutions to it.

Confidentiality - Excluding cases where there may be a conflict of interest or a requirement by law, an adviser will only discuss the technicalities of cases with other ARC advisers, the ARC Manager (who currently oversees the running of the department) and Students' Union elected officers. No other person will be involved.

Advisers will only speak to University staff, or any other third party, on your behalf if and when they have your permission.

Honesty – If we feel that you/we are unable to establish grounds, provide sufficient proof in your case, or otherwise assist you in pursuing a course of action, we will be honest and upfront as to the limitations of the support we are able to provide.

In such cases, we may still be able to provide you with advice, but we may not be able to support or assist you to pursue the course of action any further. Similarly, if we feel that there is nothing more we are able to advise, we will let you know.

Empowerment - The ARC is keen to encourage students to take responsibility for their studies and their own lives. Advisers will contact the University, or other third parties, on your behalf, but you will be encouraged to try all appropriate communication channels yourself first.

 

What is expected of YOU as a Service User:

Honesty - The ARC cannot help you unless all the facts surrounding your issues are conveyed to the advisers. Failure to disclose relevant information may affect the outcome of your case and the advice you are given.

Communication - In order for advisers to perform their role effectively they need to be updated with any developments in your case. If the University, or any third party, communicates directly with you, you should inform the ARC about that correspondence.

Commitment - You are asked to keep to your appointments. If you are unable to attend then a cancellation call is expected. Failure to attend consecutive appointments without notification may result in withdrawal of the appointment service. If you arrive late for an appointment, you may be asked to rearrange if the adviser feels there will not be sufficient time left to deal with your enquiry.

Respect - You are reminded that the ARC operates within the Union’s policies, available on the website. Students using the ARC must adhere to the Union’s policies at all times. Any evidence of a breach of Union policies may result in an investigation and formal disciplinary action by the Union and, where appropriate, the University.

 

General Procedures

Getting in Touch

You can Drop In to the SU on City and Walsall, in person, during the week to present your enquiry at the Reception point on Campus (check website for opening times as may vary).

When you attend one of our Reception points in person, you can expect to be greeted promptly and courteously. Our aim is to listen and try to help.

However, as ARC Advisers have specialist training on issues such as the University academic regulations, housing, finance etc, if staff on Reception are not able to answer your query in the first instance, your enquiry will be referred on to an adviser, via our bespoke ticketing system, who will then contact you about your issue.

Due to their specific skills and knowledge Advisers can ‘case build’ if necessary, by offering you an appointment if needed, researching your case and/or engaging in dialogue with the University, and third parties, on your behalf (and with your permission).

An online enquiry form sent via www.wolvesunion.org/advice/enquiry will be dealt with as they come in, as are incoming enquiries by telephone.

However you contact the ARC, whether by email, phone or in person, we will aim to acknowledge your enquiry within three working days (subject to availability)

Allocation of Casework

Cases are allocated out to advisers on a first-come-first served basis, at point of triage. Clients will not usually be able to request to be dealt with by a preferred adviser, although if the enquiry is existing, it may be passed to the last adviser who has dealt with it. Our Outreach adviser will usually be allocated enquiries from satellite campuses first, as per their specific remit.

Keeping clients informed about the progress of their case

Clients will be kept informed of the progress of their case, in their preferred means of contact – usually by email or telephone.

Representation at University Meetings

There are times when you may be invited to attend a meeting with the University where it may be worthwhile taking a representative from the Students’ Union with you.

This service is subject to availability and when you make your request, the adviser will first discuss your case with you to establish whether it would help for them to attend the meeting with you. This will usually be the case where the matter is not straightforward, of a serious nature, or another scenario where the adviser feels that if may help your case for them to attend with you.

Meeting Support

At the meeting, the adviser can support you with clarifying any questions posed to you, but will not be able to answer for you.

Your representative may also speak up if they feel you have missed any point/s you had previously discussed you were going to make, or remind you of something you have forgotten to mention.

Your representative can also help you reflect and offer support on the next stage of the process, as well as provide guidance on Academic Regulations, which can be detailed. Your representative can explain and clarify procedures before, during and after meetings.

At your request, the representative may take summary notes (however, not verbatim minutes).

Counselling

Personal circumstances may be discussed in relation to your issue, but advice will not be offered on how to deal with your emotions. The ARC advisers are not trained counsellors, but they will be able to refer you to local counselling services and other wellbeing support available.

Referrals Out

When appropriate, advisers may refer or signpost you to other services, either within the University, or externally.

Legal Advice

The ARC does not provide legal advice and may be limited in the representation and support we are able to provide you, where matters are of a legal nature. We can, however, signpost you to external legal services and representation, although we are unable to recommend or vouch for any particular service.

Case Closures

You may be informed that we have closed your case, even before your issue is resolved, if;

* you repeatedly fail to engage with advice given to you by an adviser.

* in the professional opinion of an adviser, there is nothing else the ARC can do for you in this instance.

* you breach Union policies – as we reserve the right to withhold our services immediately from any student who may have breached the Union’s policies, pending further investigations.

N.b. If your case is closed you will not be prevented from using the ARC service again if a new issue arises, except where the closure of a previous case led to a ban from using Union services.

Confirming Information in Writing

We are happy to confirm/follow up in writing, advice/information given to the client. This would usually be done by email, upon request.

Feedback

In the interests of continual service improvement, we invite clients to feedback comments and welcome suggestions for the ARC service to be made via www.wolvesunion.org/advice/feedback

Complaints

Complaints against an adviser or any aspect of the ARC service can be made direct to the ARC Manager in the first instance, or by using the Union’s complaints procedure, which is available from the SU website or by speaking to the SU in person.

Code of Conduct

The SU aims to provide premises for our members and visitors to feel welcome and to ensure they are able to enjoy the facilities in safety and comfort.

The SU aims to provide our staff members and sabbatical officers with the ability to operate in a safe and secure environment.

Behaviours that are considered unreasonable may result in authorised action being taken. These guidelines also run alongside the Students' Union Equal Opportunities policy to establish what would be considered as incidents of unreasonable behaviour and are separate to the established disciplinary offences stated in the UWSU Bye-Laws.

Unreasonable behaviours may necessitate complaints being made and/or requests for removal from the SU premises by campus security. Repeated occurrences of these types of behaviour are likely to lead to a higher level of exclusion and/or withdrawal of facility usage.

Equal Access

ARC is easily accessible for wheel chair users. Each office is wheelchair friendly with easy access to ensure security and privacy. There is an accessible (all genders) toilet within the SU on City Campus and a Unisex at Walsall SU.

We endeavour to meet the diverse needs of our student population and our service is committed to anti-discriminatory practice in all its work.

Data Protection

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 clients have a right of access to the personal data which we hold about them, subject to certain exemptions. Subject Access Requests must be in writing and for the attention of the ARC Manager.

In order to retain Advice Quality Standard (AQS) accreditation, case files will occasionally be reviewed by a third party (AQS assessor) for the purposes of auditing quality of service. Where possible, all personal data will be anonymised.

Personal data will be stored for 6 years after a case is closed, after which time your record will be deleted, unless you request this sooner. Any requests to be forgotten/erased must be made in writing, for the attention of the ARC Manager.

Updated April 2020