I recently had a Fitness to Practice case regarding a nursing student at an English based University. The student came to me because she was concerned she was not going to get the best advice from the Union, which is fine, her prerogative.
I took on the case for her, prepared the submissions, liaised with the University, made them realise they had to do things right. By that I mean provide actual signed statements of witnesses and make sure they attend the hearing, not just rely upon some unsworn email drafted by some random member of staff…
Unfortunately, the University was vehemently opposed to me attending the hearing (I wonder why..?!?! Although in fairness the regulations did not allow it). The student decided to ask for somebody at the Union advice centre to represent her. The person initially appointed by the Union to take the case accepted himself that he was not qualified or experienced enough to be able to effectively represent the student. The matter was referred to a more senior worker. The student asked this person to liaise with me, after all I had done all the ground work and we just wanted to make sure the Union understood the issues. The union member refused to liaise with me, which is all fine, although we are all supposed to be on the same side, makes one wonder. Worse still on the eve of the hearing the Union worker decided against attending the hearing because they did not like the fact that the student had previously had a lawyer involved. Their belief was that too many advisors could get confusing…for who exactly?
Fortunately, the submissions were sufficient and the student was successful in defending the Fitness to Practise claim against her. However, the behaviour of the Union was concerning and not at all in the best interest of the student.
I have always tried to work with the Unions, because as far as I am concerned we are all on the same side. Yet they seem, more often than not, annoyed by my presence and this is my issue with the SU at the moment. Embrace me, I get great results and I am here to help!