At Staffs Union, we hold a reciprocal agreement with our colleagues at KeeleSU to make sure students can access free, confidential, independent, and impartial advice and advocacy where a confilict of interest exists in specific circumstances.

It's our aim to ensure that students are able to receive high-quality advice from reputable sources and, if we're unable to advise you, we want to be able to provide you with other options of services you can access like:

What is a conflict of interest and when might the reciprocal agreement be used?

A conflict of interest arises when two students are involved in a case and they both approach us for advice, We cannot advise both parties to a dispute. If we did, it could impact on our ability to provide impartial advice. It is therefore our practise to advise only the first party who has contacted us about the issue. If we are approached by the other party we will look to make a referral to another agency which can advise them.

We will always consider conflict of interest when we are approached by two (or more) students about the same issue.

We operate on a shared casework system. This means that cases are not assigned to an individual member of the team and we work in a way which allows any adviser to pick up and work with a case. 

Some examples of a conflict of interest might be:

  • Student A makes an accusation of assault against Student B. Student A approaches us first to ask for advice. This means we are unable to advise Student B because we cannot advise both parties in a dispute.
  • Student C is accused of colluding with Student D on an assessment. Student C approaches us first to ask for advice. This means we are unable to advise Student D because we cannot advise both parties as their cases are intrinsicly linked.

Whilst there isn't an exhaustive list, we're only likely to use refer you to KeeleSU if a conflict of interest exists and you're going through one of the following University processes:

  • Student Conduct Procedure
  • Academic Conduct Procedure
  • Fitness to Practice Procedure
  • Fitness to Study Procedure
  • Temporary Suspension Procedure

We can't advise landlords and we also can't advise you if you're in dispute with the Students' Union or facing one of our internal processes, like the Member Disciplinary Procedure or our Student Staff Disciplinary Procedure. We would not refer cases like these to KeeleSU. 

How does the process work?

In short, if there is a conflict of interest relating to a conduct matter which means we cannot advise and represent you, we will ask you if you'd like to be referred to KeeleSU. With your permission, we'll then make a referral to KeeleSU and a member of the team will be in touch to open a case with them. Please do not approach KeeleSU directly for advice as they will not be able to support you unless you have been referred to them by us.

Do I have to speak with KeeleSU if there is a conflict of interest?

We can vouch for our colleagues at KeeleSU. They are amazing at what they do and they will provide you with high-quality advice. If you don't want to seek advice from them, you don't have to. Our aim is always to provide you with an option of somewhere to go for advice if we can't help you but the decision is always yours. If you don't wish to be referred to KeeleSU, just let us know when we ask you and we won't refer you.

Where can I find more?

You can read our reciprocal agreement, in full, here.