Bolton SU Advice Centre
Client Group, Withdrawal of Service and Signposting/Referrals/Procedures
1. The Advice Centre Client Group
The Advice Centre will give advice and information to the following:
- Students currently registered at the University of Bolton.
- Collaborative Partnership College students whose course is classed as a University of Bolton course.
- Prospective students of the University of Bolton who have a conditional or unconditional offer of a place at the University.
- Recent graduates of the University of Bolton, whose case is still on-going.
If resources permit, the Advice Centre will also advise:
- Prospective students who do not have an offer of a place at the University of Bolton.
Callers who do not fit into the above client groups should be signposted to an appropriate alternative agency.
2. Withdrawal of Service
In certain circumstances the Advice Centre may withdraw the service, permanently or temporarily, from someone within the client group. This may apply in the following circumstances:
- If a client has made a serious complaint against the Advice Centre and this is currently being investigated. A serious complaint will be deemed to be one that infers or states incompetence, prejudice or negligence on behalf of the Advice Centre. A decision will be made following the investigation of the complaint whether the service can be resumed by the client.
- If a client has made a previous complaint against the Advice Centre and this has been found to be vexatious following a formal investigation under the Bolton SU Complaint Procedures.
- If a client has been violent or has harassed a member of staff within the Advice Centre. In this situation the first stage would be for an investigation to be carried out by the General Manager or nominee. Both the member of staff and the student would be asked to write a statement explaining the incident/s in their own words and may also be interviewed in person (if considered appropriate). After reviewing all the information available, the General Manager will decide whether the client can continue using the service, can have restricted use (eg: only email correspondence) or should no longer have use of the service. Complete withdrawal would be in very rare circumstances. If the member of staff is the Advice Centre Coordinator, the investigation will be carried out by the Chair of Bolton SU Board of Trustees following the guidelines as above.
- If a client is seeking advice from, or already has, another advice agency acting on their behalf regarding the same issue or issues and refuses to stop being advised by the other service.
- If a client authorises the service to negotiate on their behalf and following agreement the client then refuses to abide by the terms of the negotiated agreement.
- If the client is considered to pose a threat to the safety of Bolton SU staff, University of Bolton staff or other students.
- If the client displays behaviour that is aggressive, abusive, discriminatory or violent.
Students will be informed in writing of the reasons and terms of any withdrawal of service and will be referred to Bolton SU's Complaints Procedure.
3. Complaints Procedure at Bolton SU
The Advice Centre prides itself in providing an exceptional service. However, there are times and situations where it may have fallen short of your expectation. If this is the case, then we would like you to inform us so we can investigate the situation and take any necessary steps to resolve the situation and improve our service. Please complete the Complaints Form and refer to Bolton SU's Complaints Procedure.
If we are unable to continue advising you, we can signpost you to an alternative advice agency.
4. Definition of Signposting
The need for signposting will usually arise when an individual makes initial contact to the Advice Centre and provides information about the nature of their problem. Signposting will be appropriate if the caller does not fit into the Advice Centre's client group or if they seek help which is outside the scope of the Advice Centre (e.g. judical review). Signposting may also be appropriate when an existing client presents with an additional issue that is outside the scope of the Advice Centre's work.
5. Definition of Referral
The need for referral will arise when the Advice Centre has an established relationship with a client in a current matter and the advisor believes that the Advice Centre cannot offer further help in this matter. This may happen when the Advice Centre lacks either the resources or expertise to continue to help the client effectively.
When making a referral, the Advice Centre can arrange for the client to see someone from another agency (if appropriate). If any case records are to be transferred then a request must be made directly by the client or from the agency with an acceptable form of authority.
6. General Guidance
Prior to signposting or referring people to other agencies, the Advice Centre will listen to the client's enquiry to ascertain the type of assistance required and will provide immediate support if the need should arise. The information gathered will help to identify an appropriate alternative source of help.
The Advice Centre will aim to signpost or refer to agencies which do not charge for their service. The adviser will discuss with the client any cost implications of using a new service provider (e.g. a solicitor).
The Advice Centre can record any client feedback, whether positive or negative, about services following signposting or referral. This should be recorded on the case file.
7. Monitoring Referrals
The Advice Centre Coordinator will conduct regular reviews of referrals. The review will consider:
- Whether better links are needed with referral agencies.
- Whether steps can be taken to prevent inappropriate client groups contacting the Advice Centre.
- Whether steps need to be taken to fill gaps in the Advice Centre's service.
- Whether any gaps in local service provision can be identified.