Student Services Centre
The Student Services Centre provides help and support in the following main areas:
Council Tax queries
Student Loans Company queries
Tuition Fee charges
Withdrawals and Suspensions
Statement of Services
Our aim is to enhance and support the student experience at Reading by providing support services for students in a professional, friendly and welcoming environment where students can feel at ease.
This Statement of Services sets out our commitments to providing a high quality service, explains what you can expect from us, how you can help us to improve our services, how to contact us and how to provide us with feedback.
We are committed to ensuring impartiality and equal opportunity in the delivery of all our services. Please ask if you require assistance to access our services.
1. What we offer…
- Online Student Services Centre - accessed through the RISISweb Portal, staff and students can log queries with an Advisor and/or read through published Frequently Asked Questions.
- One to One Advisor Appointments - students can book an appointment with one of the Student Services Centre Specialist Advisers to obtain in-depth confidential and professional advice and guidance. Appointments with a Specialist Advisor can be carried out either in person, by telephone or via email. See overview of the Student Services Centre for further details.
- Drop-in Sessions - a brief (up to a maximum of twenty minutes) discussion with an adviser on a non-appointment basis during term-time.
- Workshops and Small Discussion Groups - these will be offered throughout the year on a range of topics through STEP (Student Training and Experience Programme) further information can be found on the Student pages.
- Information Sheets and FAQs - these will provide quick and effective answers to frequently asked questions or any recent changes that have occurred within the University, locally or nationally.
2. What you can expect from us…
- To be able to contact us during opening times and at other times by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Staff who are qualified, competent, experienced, helpful and friendly.
- Information and advice that is relevant and accurate.
- To be kept informed of the Student Services Centre services and events through the Student Pages website, email notices, online Helpdesk software, posters, leaflets and workshop presentations.
- Confidential advice and guidance that is relevant to your query.
- An answer or initial acknowledgement to your query on the same day or referral to an appropriate service whenever possible (when visiting the Student Services Centre Helpdesk in the Carrington Building).
- Appointments with staff that can be booked up to 5 working days in advance during term-time. Staff will ensure they are available to see students at the arranged appointment time.
- Staff working to the relevant external codes of practice outlined below. We also work to and comply with various the University policies, including: Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy, the University Records Management Policy, the University Code of Good Practice (Valuing Ourselves and Others) and the Data Protection Policy. Details of all these are available on request or by searching the University's website www.reading.ac.uk.
- To receive a Client Care Letter after your first immigration advice appointment with a Specialist Immigration Adviser or where we determine that specialist casework will be carried out in furtherance of your initial enquiry.
- An initial response to any email enquiry during term-time within five working days. Outside of term-time the Student Services Centre will endeavour to continue to meet the 5 working days commitment whenever possible.
- Upon the Adviser being notified of any significant event arising from a student's case that will effect a student's immigration status, the Adviser must promptly inform the student in writing and at most within three working days.
- To be contacted by us to help evaluate and improve our service.
3. What we expect from you…
- That you will keep appointments and attend any events for which you have booked a place or relevant to your individual circumstance. It may not be possible to see students who arrive more than 10 minutes late for appointments that last up to an hour, or students who arrive more than 5 minutes late for appointments that last up to 30 minutes.
That you use the Student Services Centre information resources responsibly.
That you will let us know your views of the Service to help us improve; this may involve completing an evaluation questionnaire or survey or completing a feedback form.
4. Complaints procedure
If you would like to make a complaint concerning the Student Services Centre, complaints will be dealt with promptly and in accordance with the University's Complaints Procedure. In the first instance, you should put your complaint in writing to the Head of Advisory and Student Financial Support Services. Unresolved issues can be referred to the Director of Student, Learning and Teaching Services, University of Reading, Carrington Building, Reading RG6 6UA.
Complaints relating to the Immigration Advice Service
If you would like to make a complaint concerning the immigration advice you have received and you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the complaints procedure outlined above or you do not wish to complain to the University directly, you have the right to make a complaint at any time, directly to the Immigration Commissioner using the contact details given below:
The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
5th Floor, Counting House
53 Tooley Street
London, SE1 2QN
0207 211 1500.
5. Confidentiality Statement
We are committed to ensuring that users' information is accessible only to those authorised to have access to such information and is used only for appropriate purposes. We are also committed to providing a confidential service to all our users which:
meets statutory and legal requirements;
- guarantees that any advice or instructions are given in an appropriate environment that maintains and protects confidentiality;
- respects user's rights and interests; and
- acts as a safeguard for the service provided by the adviser.
We will not release the information you disclose to us to anyone else without your permission, except in the circumstances set out below under the Disclosure of Information Section 7.
6. Definition of Confidentiality
We define confidentiality as a 'circle of confidentiality' within which relevant Student Services Centre Advisory related staff members may discuss matters in the best interests of the student and to ensure a joined up and informed advice. We will hold any such discussions in an appropriate environment to ensure that confidentiality is respected.
We routinely consider the following to be confidential information:
- All information about the student or client such as personal and contact details, instructions given, information sought, evidential and documentary information provided, and advice given and actions agreed;
- Immigration applications, interview, appointment or attendance notes and supporting information and documentation;
- All information about third parties linked to clients, and minutes of such meetings with third parties.
- Emails, faxes, correspondence and telephone discussions between client and advisor, client and third parties and advisor and third party.
7. Disclosure of Information
We will routinely seek your consent, either in verbal or written form, before we share your information or disclose it to anyone outside the service. Occasionally, there are times when we need to disclose information without obtaining your consent, for example:
- where it is required by law, eg a court order;
- where there is a legal or regulatory obligation or duty to do so;
- where it is necessary to meet compliance obligations for immigration authorities or the police for reporting requirements under the Points Based System;
- where we consider there to be a risk to the user or the wider community; or
- where it is lawful to do so under the Data Protection Act 1998.
If we disclose information, it will be done in accordance with our service and relevant University policies, the details of which can be found in Section 11.
8. Casework Recording
Student Services Centre Advisers creates records using an electronic case recording system known as the RISIS Helpdesk software. This enables staff to keep notes on a student's case and attach documents and emails to refer to when necessary.
All information and case records relating to any student queries, such as application forms and supporting documents, will be stored securely and retained for a maximum of 6 years from last contact before being destroyed.
Students wishing to look at and check the accuracy of the personal data held about them centrally can use the RISIS web portal or call into the Student Services Centre.
Any person wishing to access their personal data under the provisions of the DPA should make a Subject Access Request (SAR) by following the procedure set out on this web page: www.reading.ac.uk/accessing-personal-data
9. Referrals and Withdrawing Services
We may refer users, students or clients to external organisations, websites or agencies where we determine that more specialist work is required or where the case appears to be outside the scope of the service we provide or not relevant to the service provided.
We may withdraw an advisor from a case where we believe there to be a conflict of interests between the advisor and the user. We will withdraw our service where a user exhibits behaviour that is inappropriate, for example when a user is hostile towards an advisor or other service users. We may also withdraw the service if we believe that a user is continuously disregarding advice given or repeatedly missing appointments.
Details of our referral and withdrawal policy can be found in the Referral and Withdrawal Procedure.
10. Overview of the Student Services Centre
10.1 Student Services Centre Helpdesk Team
10.2 Student Advisory Team
10.2.1 Academic Processes
Professional and confidential support and advice to all taught students on:
•Returning to Study
•Switching to part-time study
•Repeating a year of studies
•Course transfers involving a repeat period of study
10.2.2 Immigration Advice
Professional and confidential support and advice to all students on:
•Student visitor visas
•Academic visitor visa requirements and applications
•Tier 4 visa requirements and applications
•Dependant visa requirements and applications
•Visa corrections and/or amendments
•Tier 4 Reconsideration and Variation applications
•Replacement and transfer visas and BRPs
•Working during your studies
•Ensuring visas conditions are maintained
•Working after your studies
•Guidance on eligibility for working after your studies
10.2.3 International Advice
Professional and confidential support and advice to all international and EU students on:
•Living in the UK
•Studying in the UK
10.3 Student Financial Support
•Fees Enquiries and Adjustments
•Bursaries and Scholarships
•US Student Loans Administration
University of Reading Policies and Codes of Practice
The Student Services Centre processes information in accordance with relevant University of Reading policies, charters, codes and guidance. These include:
- The Reading Student Charter - Partners in Learning
- University Calendar (Section G):
- Regulations for Conduct
- Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations
- Data Protection Policy
- Information Security Policy
- Policy on Equal Opportunities and Diversity
- Policy Statement on the Promotion of Racial Equality
- University Records Management Policy
- Code of Good Practice (Valuing Ourselves and Others)
- Policy Statement on Harassment
- University Guide to Policy and Procedures for Teaching and Learning:
- 4d Student complaints procedures
- 8b Students with disabilities: key principles for staff, students and applicants
- 8c Code of practice for supporting students relating to religion, belief and teaching and learning
External Codes of Practice
- UK Council for International Student Affairs and Association of International Student Advisers Code of Ethics
- The Code of Standards - Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
- The Commissioner's Rules - Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner