About Our Service
Purpose and Principles
We aim to provide a professional advice service that is free, independent, non-judgemental, impartial and confidential and of a high standard. We aim to ensure that no student is adversely affected because of a lack of information about their rights and responsibilities.
We offer the service to all our members irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or religious belief.
We act on behalf of and in the interests of our clients independently of the University and other agencies.
What We Do
We are like a Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centre in that we give quality advice on a very wide range of subjects. We give information, advice, advocacy and representation. We take care to ensure our advice is accurate and comprehensive. We do not make decisions for our clients but provide advice and information to allow them to make decisions for themselves. Some of our main areas of advice are:
- Academic advice: appeals, complaints, change of course and problems, temporary or permanent withdrawal, any University Committee proceedings (disciplinary, continuation of registration, cheating or plagiarism, fitness to practice, fitness to attend, fees)
- Housing advice: campus accommodation, university and private housing, landlord and tenant disputes, tenants’ rights, repairs and deposits.
- Immigration advice: Entry clearance, visas, extending or changing leave, family, employment, new points based immigration scheme.
- Personal advice: Health, sexuality, harassment
- Consumer advice: faulty goods, utility bills, mobile phone and computer problems.
- Employment advice: tax and national insurance, non payment of wages, terms and conditions of employment.
This is not an exhaustive list of what we do, so if you are unsure where to get help or advice contact us and we will either be able to help you or signpost you to someone who can help you.
We can take action on a client’s behalf such as negotiation or advocacy with the University or with outside agencies.
We can sometimes represent students at University hearings, such as appeal or discipline hearings, and at external hearings or tribunals.
We cannot give financial advice of a commercial nature.
Counselling is not part of our service.
Who We Are
The Student Advice Centre is staffed by a Manager and three part-time professional Advice Workers trained to advise in both generalist and specialist areas. We also have 12-15 student volunteer receptionists.
Who are our clients
- All students, full and part time, undergraduate and postgraduate, registered at the University of Warwick.
- Prospective students.
- Former students for a reasonable time (usually up to one year) after graduation.
- University and SU staff (advice only).
- Members of the public (signposting only).
How We Deliver Our Service
Most of our enquiries are received by email, telephone or by clients visiting the Student Advice Centre. If we can answer an enquiry without making an appointment then we will, otherwise we will offer appointments allowing us to allocate time to the individual. Appointments can be in person, by telephone or Skype.
Our opening hours are:
Monday to Thursday 9:00am to 3:00pm
Friday: By Appointment
Saturday & Sunday: closed
What Clients Can Expect Of Us
If a client contacts us before 10.00 am, we would often be able to give them an appointment with an advisor the same day. We would at any rate offer an appointment within 3 days. If the Advice Centre is not busy, we may be able to see clients without an appointment.
We will normally respond to a telephone call or email message within 24 hours. If a weekend or bank holiday intervenes we will respond within 3 days.
Clients can expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. We will keep everything confidential unless the client explicitly gives us permission to contact another person.
What We Expect Of Clients
We expect clients to turn up for an appointment on time or to contact us in advance if they cannot come. With an ongoing problem we expect clients to keep us informed of developments that affect their case.
We operate a policy of strict confidentiality. This means that we do not disclose anything that a client has told us except when they have given their express permission. The policy covers even the fact that a student has consulted us. Paper files with client information are kept in locked filing cabinets and can only be seen by Advice Centre staff and the client themselves. Records are destroyed after 6 years.
The Welfare Officer and the Education Officer are also included in our confidentiality policy.
In very rare cases, where there is reason to think that the student is likely to harm themselves or others, we may disclose information without the student's consent.
Conflict of Interest
We have to avoid situations where we are advising or acting for both parties in a dispute. We can only give advice and representation to the student(s) who approach us first. If other parties contact us we will make an appropriate referral. This could be to the Senior Tutor or Head of Student Support at the University, the Advice Service at Coventry University Students’ Union or a local advice agency such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.
We cannot give advice to landlords (including student landlords) who are in dispute with student tenants.
We cannot give advice to someone involved in a dispute with the Students' Union.
Any client wishing to make a complaint about our service should raise the matter initially with the Advisor concerned. If they are not satisfied they should raise it with the Membership Services Manager. The complaint will be investigated and we will try to put the matter right. If the client remains unsatisfied they may take their complaint to the Chief Executive of the Students' Union.
Withdrawal of Service
We will withdraw service if a client uses or threatens violence towards us, if there is a breach of the Students' Union Equal Opportunities Policy, if there is a request for collusion with fraud or illegal activity or for action outside our remit.
We can also withdraw service if it is apparent that everything possible has been done to help and nothing more can be reasonably done.
We keep statistics detailing the number and nature of enquiries we receive. These statistics do not identify individual students and the information gained is used to help improve the service.
The Student Advice Centre is on the 2nd floor of SU HQ, above Xananas Restaurant and next to the lift.
Our telephone number is 02476 572 824 (72824 from on campus). There is voicemail on this number.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Our website is at warwicksu.com/advice/
Who We Work With
The Welfare and Campaigns Officer, the Education Officer, the Academic Services Co-ordinator, other Sabbatical Officers and member of Staff as appropriate.
Senior Tutor, Director of Student Support, Deputy Registrar, Warwick Accommodation, Student Finance and Student Funding, International Office, Counselling Service, Personal Tutors and other member of Academic Staff, Health Centre, Disability and Mental Health services.
Local landlords and estate agents, local authorities, government departments such as UKBA, FCO, DIUS, DWP,HMRC, other Universities and Colleges, Student Loans Company, Citizens Advice and many other agencies.
Organisations We Are Affiliated To
NASMA (National Association of Student Money Advisers)
UKCISA (UK Council of International Students
Other Organizations We Work With Or Receive Information From
OISC for immigration advice at Level 3
CPAG (Child poverty Action Group)