Complaints Process

 

Principles

  • We are aiming to elect officers in a free and fair manner.
  • We are not here to give everyone an equal chance of winning, just a fair one.
  • We should help candidates to engage better where we can.

General

  • All complaints must be submitted by completing the complaints form. Complaints submitted via email, social media or in person will not be accepted.
  • Complaints should state the rule/regulation that is been alleged to have been breached and include relevant evidence. It is important to note that the degree to which we are able to investigate complaints is affected by the quality of evidence submitted.
    • Examples of evidence that can be submitted include screen shots of social media posts, copies of emails, photos, statements from students or names and contact details of students affected.
  • Complaints outside of the scope of the election will be referred to the Union’s /University complaints procedure.
  • Complaints must be submitted prior to the close of voting.
  • The Unions’ Advice Service is available for general support.

Process

  • Complaints/Appeals will be responded to initially within 4 working hours defined as weekdays between 9.00am and 5.00pm with an initial assessment of the time we expect the complaint investigation to take and an expected close time for the complaint. For all other complaints the initial response will be received by 10.00am the following working day.
  • We will respond at the time we have stated in the first email to tell you the outcome, and whether an appeal is possible.
  • Any complaint will be investigated by Deputy Returning Officer, who will interpret the Election Rules and issue a decision.
  • All complaints are passed to the IRO to check that they are happy with the local interpretation of the rules.
  • Once a complaint has been closed then everyone involved will be advised of the outcome from the complaint.

Outcome

The outcome from the investigation will either be:-

  • An election regulation hasn’t been broken and therefore no further action will be taken, if there are parts of the complaint unrelated to the election this can be referred onto the Union’s/ University complaint process.
  • There is insufficient evidence of an election regulation been breached and therefore no further action will be taken.
  • There is evidence that an election regulation has been breached

Actions

This sets out a list of actions the DRO/IRO typically apply when an election regulation has been breached, please note that this list is not exhaustive and is meant to give an illustration of the actions that may be taken:-

  • Issue a warning to the candidate about their future conduct in the election
  • Campaign Penalty - Confiscation of campaign materials, or instructions to remove a social media post.
  • Campaign Ban - To prevent a team campaigning to remove any specific advantages gained from misconduct.
  • Disqualification - This is the strongest punishment, applied only in the most serious cases

Campaign related actions

  • Confiscation - materials in breach of budget or rules will be confiscated.
  • Stunt cancellation - an event or stunt you have planned might be cancelled if it is involved in the breach of rules/code.
  • Orders to remove social media posts which violate the election responsibilities.
  • The Deputy Returning Officer will set a deadline for students to comply with specific Campaign Penalties – if they aren’t complied with before the deadline, then a Campaign Ban will come into effect until proof is given that the order has been complied with.

Appeals

  • Appeals on an outcome can be made to the IRO, this can be based on additional information or that the punishment was too harsh.
  • The IRO will then make a new ruling on the complaint.
  • If new/different issues are raised within the appeal then a new investigation will be commenced.

Summary of Complaints Process

A summary of the complaints process can be found byviewing the complaints flowchart