NEU member complaints procedure

The Union recognises that there may be times when members wish to express concerns about union activities and services, including conduct of advice and representation. This procedure sets out the process for raising concerns.

Complaints procedure

The NEU is committed to providing members with the best possible support and advice and representation at all levels. The Union seeks to engage all members so that the NEU is the authentic voice of educators. Elected local officers, NEU representatives and staff are trained and supported to be effective on behalf of members.

This internal complaints procedure is available to current members. The Union aims to respond quickly and courteously. Members’ complaints are taken seriously, and we aim to learn from complaints.

Matters not covered by this procedure

The policies of the Union are discussed and agreed at the Union’s Annual Conference which takes place at Easter each year. The implementation of policy is overseen throughout the year by the National Executive Committee. National Executive Members on this committee are elected every two years.

Disagreements with policy are not covered by this procedure: members are encouraged to participate in policy discussions through the democratic structures of the Union. If you want to explore policy matters you can raise this with your local district secretary or national executive member. Contact details for your local district secretary and your national executive member.

This procedure also does not cover:

Complaints that a NEU member has potentially committed a disciplinary offence. This is subject to the rules and procedures set out in Appendix A of the rules of the Union.

Appeals against withdrawal of legal assistance, which are dealt with separately via the Member Defence Strategy Committee.

Complaints by non-members, please see NEU non-member complaints procedure.

Time limits for complaints

Complaints must be submitted within three months of the event giving rise to the complaint.

The National Education Union aims to respond to all complaints within six weeks of receipt.

If your complaint is particularly complex, or the relevant staff or officers are not available, a response may take longer than six weeks. You will be informed of the reason for any delay and of the date by which you can expect a response.

Individual Casework Support

The Union aims to provide a high level of casework support and legal assistance, where this is appropriate, to members, ensuring that staff and elected officers undertaking casework are trained and updated on changes within education, school staff and conditions and employment law.

Nevertheless, there will be occasions when members have concerns about the conduct of their case, whether the caseworker is their NEU workplace representative, branch caseworker or a paid member of the staff of the Union.

Collective Workplace Representation

Where possible NEU representatives at all levels will seek to resolve issues by representing the collective views of members. This may be through a joint negotiation or consultative committee or, in times of disagreement, in specially arranged meetings with management.

In this situation the view of the majority of members will be conveyed to management which may not be identical to an individual member’s personal view. This would not be a matter covered by this procedure.

There may however be concerns about the conduct of an NEU representative in this situation and this should, in the first instance, be brought to the attention of the NEU officer concerned and, if appropriate, to the group of members being represented.

Informal procedure – raising concerns

Member complaints should, in the first instance, be brought to the attention of your branch, your region/Wales, the Advice Line or the relevant NEU Head Office department

Informal complaints may be made either orally or in writing or both.

Formal procedure – putting concerns in writing

If the informal stage does not resolve the issue, the concerns should be put in writing to the relevant Regional or Wales Secretary or relevant Head of Department.

Where there are complaints regarding the AdviceLine or Settlement Agreement Unit these be put in writing for the attention of the Head of AdviceLine.

If the complaint is about the Regional or Wales Secretary, or Head of Department, this should be made in writing to the Deputy General Secretary at National Education Union, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London. WC1H 9BD or by email to [email protected].

Any written complaint should include the following:

  • The nature and reason for the complaint, giving details of the NEU staff or local officers who have been involved in the matter to date.
  • Any supporting evidence/documentation.
  • An outline of the outcome being sought.

On receipt of a complaint the recipient will first decide whether the complaint falls within the remit of the procedure and will inform the complainant accordingly.

Final stage

If you are not satisfied with the response to your written complaint, you can request that the matter is referred to the Deputy General Secretary for review and final consideration.

The decision of the Deputy General Secretary is final.

If the complaint is about the Deputy General Secretary, this should be put in writing to the General Secretary at National Education Union, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London. WC1H 9BD or by email to [email protected].

If the complaint is regarding the General Secretary, see separate procedure.

Benefits and Services

The Union has a number of affinity partners who provide benefits and services to NEU members. Should problems arise with any of these they should be raised in the first instance with the provider and if this does not resolve the issues concerns should be put in writing to the Assistant General Secretary, Recruitment and Membership, National Education Union, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD or by email to [email protected] FAO: AGS Recruitment and Membership.

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