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Conducting online surveys in your branch

UCU webinar broadcast 29 July 2020.




Research Officer Bargaining & Negotiations, Bargaining and Negotiations


Deputy Head of Campaigns, Policy and Campaigns

What are surveys used for and how you can use them in your branch?

Server platforms that are available to you

How to design surveys

GDPR – some details but detailed discussion beyond the scope of this session (get in touch for specific queries or for advice on your comment or the operation of the survey)

Ed Bailey – key areas covered

Online surveys present as a series of forms to the survey participant which can be used to collect data, opinions and votes. The forms are easy to design and have a rich set of options such as text boxes, multiple choice radio buttons and combo boxes.

They can be used for simple questions in consultations such as “Do you accept the managements proposals?” Yes/No” to complex textual answers and combinations of the two.

Also useful for information gathering, event registration, opinion gathering, petitions and open letters.
Sometimes for elections for branch officer roles (please consult UCU advice on continuing democracy in UCU under Covid )

NB – Surveys cannot be used for ballots for industrial action as they do not meet the legal requirements of the Trade Union Act 2016.

Many academics use surveying in the course of their work, so ask among your members for expertise if you do not personally have it. It is a good way to use the resources of your branch and get people involved.

UCU at Carlow Street has some capacity for creating and running surveys but please talk to your regional; office in the first instance.


Show we are listening, are used to find out what matters to members, get better results in terms of participation, are useful for making decisions, strengthen our hand in negotiations, are useful for split campuses and to overcome problems of geography.

Ed gives useful examples of showing support of members and strengthening your hand in negotiations

Example Platforms

Look out for – limits on numbers of participants, numbers of questions, options for analysing data, customisation, limited question types. Often only paid surveys offer conditional questions or “skip logic”, not all have options for anonymity, consider data export options.

SurveyGizmo – used at head office, free version limited to 100 responses, no conditional questions, no support, no customer branding. Paid for version £20 per month.

SurveyMonkey – used by head office previously. UK based, free version limited to 100 responses. Paid for version £25 per month.

Google Forms – widely used, free, no limits on responses, simple, no conditional questions of customisation. Output to spreadsheet only. Can also use MS Forms available as part of Office 365.

Jisc – education survey tool, slightly cheaper than other paid for options. Free 30 day trial.

Survey Legend
Paid version is £12 per month. 3 surveys but unlimited responses for free version.

Complete links to survey software mentioned in this talk

Rachel gives a thoroughgoing explanation of designing and implementing surveys and some background to Data Protection considerations.

The Regional Office for the South West can be reached at please contact us in the first instance for advice and support.



South West Reps Training Calendar – 2019/2020

New Courses have been scheduled for the South West Region. Please read on to find out details!

All the courses are from 9.30am-4.30pm with registration from 9.15am. You are required to attend the full day during the training.

UCU Reps

Rep 1: Induction – 19th, 20th and 21st November 2019, Exeter Regional Office

Who is the course for?
This course is aimed at:

All new UCU reps and officers regardless of role
Existing UCU reps and officers regardless of role
This is a three day module. The course will help you to:
• understand the key structures, processes and support mechanisms within UCU and the ways in which they can interact with these
• understand the role of the UCU representative and other UCU union roles within the branch
• gain confidence to exercise your rights as a rep
• understand the links between organising and campaigning, member involvement, sustainability and the overall health of the branch
• get up to speed with the latest equality legislation
You will need to register through this link:

Rep 2: Representing UCU members – 10th, 11th and 12th March 2020, Exeter Regional Office

Who is the course for?
This course is aimed at:

UCU reps and caseworkers who have attended the rep 1 induction module. We cannot accept you on the course if you have not completed Rep 1 already.
This is a three day module. The course will help you to:
• develop an understanding of the ACAS code and your own policies on disciplinary and grievance
• identify and progress individual issues into collective action
• practice essential skills and deepen knowledge when representing members cases from initial interview through to the hearing stage with management
• begin to develop a strategic overview of how casework should be managed to take back to your branch
You will need to register through this link:—10-12-March-2020-Exeter

Health and Safety Reps – Safety Reps 1: Induction – 8th, 9th and 10th October 2019 – Exeter Regional Office

This 3 day module forms the first part of a 6 day training programme organised into 2 modules.
• the role and functions of a safety rep
• obtaining facilities and time off to carry out the safety rep’s function
• using the Safety Reps and Safety Committee Regulations
• organising UCU members around hazards at work
• applying a trade union and equal opportunities approach to health and safety
• identifying employers’ duties under health and safety legislation
• using the Health and Safety at Work Act and key regulation
• developing the skills needed to be an effective safety rep

You will need to register through this link:–safety-reps-role-and-functions-8-10-October-2019-Exeter

H&S 2: Organising and bargaining for health and safety 28th, 29th and 30th January 2020– Exeter Regional Office

This 3 day module forms the second part of a 6 day training programme organised into 2 modules.
• building union organisation around health and safety issues
• introduction to risk assessments
• analysing symptoms of ill health by using body mapping and other techniques
• preparing for, and involving, members in inspections at work
• carrying out inspections at work
• using a systematic approach to tackling health and safety problems
• safety reps and the risk assessment process
• the role of safety reps in investigating injuries, incidents and ill health
• developing the skills needed to be an effective safety rep
You will need to register through this link:

Representing individual members: an introduction to casework, 4th December 2019, Exeter

This is a course for reps who are new to representing individual members or those who are considering becoming more involved in the direct representation of individual members. This course is designed as an introduction and you should look to completing the Rep 1: Induction post this course. More experienced reps may find this course useful in order to update their skills and look at current best practice. These one day courses are only available in the area they are advertised.
This course is for the South West area only – if you require this course in your area you should contact your regional office in the first instance.
This course will enable you to:
• Understand the UCU legal support scheme and Recourse
• Understand the role of the rep
• Understand how to communicate effectively with members seeking advice and represent them in meetings with management
• Identify sources of support and information for members seeking representation
• Understand the importance of using individual cases for collective organisation and describe the circumstances and ways in which this can be done
• Develop a collaborative approach with the member and manage their expectations
• Maintain confidentiality and conflicts of interest
• Assert your own rights and take care of your own well-being when handling personal cases
• Increase your understanding of procedures and processes related to individual representation
• Outline systems for dealing with individual casework in your branch.

You need to register through this link:—an-introduction-to-casework

Trade unions and the environment – Green Reps role, function & influence 5th February 2020

This one day course is designed as an introduction to the role and functions of the UCU Environment/Green Rep. The course is open to all new and existing Green Reps who have not previously had training in this area, along with any rep who has an interest in environmental issues at work.
This one day introductory course is the ideal starting point for new and existing Environment/Green Reps who have not yet received training for the role. The course is also open to any other branch reps who have an interest in environmental issues at work.
The course will cover the outline below, but we will also look at how the role can influence the bargaining agenda of the branch.
This course will cover the following:
• The role and function of a Green Rep
• How the role integrates with branch structure
• How to progress issues with the employer
• Organising and involving members
• Campaigning around local and national priorities

You will need to register through this link:—Green-Reps-role-function–influence


Due to new funding cuts UCU will be charged up to £150 per learner, for course with fewer than 15 participants. Please ensure you have the time off agreed and calendared before applying for the course. Please also make sure that you do not book anything else once the course booking has been confirmed. It places considerable pressure on the office in trying to replace a delegate when one has cancelled at the last minute, due to time off not being agreed or something else has come up. It could also mean that the course is cancelled if the numbers go below a certain amount which is disappointing and an inconvenience to other delegates who are all set to go.

Time Off for Training

This is something I get asked about regularly i.e. Reps are finding it hard to get the time off for training, either their Line Manager is being difficult, or they don’t want to request the time off as they are busy etc. It is YOUR LEGAL RIGHT as a Rep to have this time off to attend training. Here is a link to the UCU website with regards to this – this link contains sample letters that you and your Branch can use to get time off for training. If all else fails and you still encounter difficulties then please contact this office where your Official will be able to intervene.

ACAS code of practice

The new version of the ACAS code of practice on time off and facilities for union reps came into force on 1st Jan 2010. To access the code of practice, please click here:

Overnight Accommodation, Expenses and Transport

Overnight stays are available for the night/s in between the course if you have to set out to travel to the venue before 6.30am in the morning.

Please note you are unable to book your own accommodation and claim this back through UCU.
Once you are registered please use the most cost effective form of transport available. UCU will cover the cost of any expenses incurred at the end of the course. You are not entitled to subsidence unless you are booked in for overnight accommodation and will require dinner. The cost of dinner should not exceed £15 per night. If you do require sight of an expense form before the course please let me know.

There is also an FAQ page relating to training:

UCU/NUS Joint National Demonstration Saturday November 19

UCU/NUS Joint National Demonstration Saturday November 19


Coach 1 – Regional Coach booked. Pickup points will be Falmouth – departing at 04:00, Plymouth – departing at 05:45, Exeter – Departing at 07:00, arrive Park Lane 11:30am – Departure 5:00pm. Primary Contact is Dave O’Toole . All booking of seats for this coach via . Tickets on this coach are free.

Falmouth – There will be no pickup at Falmouth
Plymouth – 05:45 – Outside Plymouth University, opposite The Plymouth Museum and Art gallery
Exeter – 07:00 – bus stop on Cheeke Street opposite the bus station.
Coach company is Roselyn Coaches.

Coach 2 – Bath AreaBath University UCU Departures and pickups TBA. Primary contact is Michael Carley . This coach will serve Bath University UCU, Bath University SU, Bath Spa UCU, Bath Spa SU, Bath College UCU.

A link for tickets for the Bath coaches is here

It is not necessary to have an SU account, but non SU members will need to login with a guest account to purchase one.
If you have any problems buying a ticket in this way please contact  

Coach 3 – Bristol Area – Bristol University SU.  Primary contact for UCU is Jamie Melrose . This coach will serve Bristol University UCU, Bristol University SU, UWE UCU, UWE SU, City of Bristol College UCU.

Bristol UCU has reserved 13 seats for Bristol UCU members on coaches to the demo. The coaches will be leaving from outside the Bristol Students’ Union at 8am. To reserve your place and for more info, please go the below Eventbrite link and click TICKETS:  The subsidised tickets are £5.


There is a useful NUS maintained page which shows some of the national picture (mostly NUS arranged coaches) at:

This page is being updated as information is firmed up.






South West Region #LOVEFE Rally and Campaign Saturday 27 June






South West Region #LOVEFE Rally and Campaign Saturday 27 June, 12:00 noon.

There will be a South West Region #LOVEFE rally and campaign in Plymouth at the Plymouth Civic Centre at 12 noon on Saturday 27 June. This will kick off a series of #LOVEFE events and stunts across the South West Region. If you want to be involved please email  and bookmark this page to find out details as they unfold.


Nick Varney – Regional Official UCU
Steve Allen – UCU Further Education Committee and City College Plymouth Lecturer
Sean Gibson – Unison Rep and professional support staff City College Plymouth
Ben Smith – Student, City College Plymouth
Mike Sparling – Plymouth Labour Councillor
Alison Chapman – Lecturer City College Plymouth and UCU rep
Michael Carley  – UCU President Bath University and UCU Regional Committee UCU
Sullivan The Poet – Plymouth’s Poet Laureate

A5 Poster here LOVEFE 27 June Plymouth A5 leaflet V0

Please invite your Facebook Friends here:

And “like” the Rally here:

And follow our twitter page here:


Trains run regularly from Exeter to Plymouth. See here:

Train times Exeter – Plymouth

It is 13 minutes walk from Plymouth Railway Station to the Civic Centre Map

Civic Centre Car Park

Address and Postcode (for walkers) Plymouth City Council, Civic Centre, Armada Way, PLYMOUTH, PL1 9ST

Book your seat on the coach – Lobby of parliament Tuesday 16 June 2015

Outside-Parliament-funding-cuts-demo-18th-March-2015-3-700x400   This is a lobby of Parliament by Further Education lecturers and UCU members but anyone who will be affected is welcome. Pick-up points and times are now CONFIRMED based on a schedule which collects staff from the following college sites and arrives in good time for the lobby at 2:00pm.

Please bookmark this page…

Pickup times are based on a best estimate by the coach company, so please arrive in good time at your pick-up point. Book your place on the coach by emailing dotoole(at)

Journey Out

St Austell – Cornwall College, St Austell Campus – PL25 4DJ (6:00 am)
Plymouth – City College Plymouth – PL1 5QG (7:10 am)
Taunton – Holiday Inn, Deane Gate Avenue, Taunton TA1 2UA (9:05am)
Exeter – Exeter College  – EX4 4JS (8:30am)
Bristol – City of Bristol College, College Green Campus – Saint George’s Road, Bristol BS1 5UA (10:20 am)

Journey Back

Departing London at 17:30pm
Bristol  20:15pm
Taunton (M5) 21:15pm
Exeter 22:00pm
Plymouth 23:10pm
St.Austell 00:20am

There is no charge for coach seats. This lobby is open to union members and non-members, staff and students and concerned members of the public and parents. To book your place email Dave O’Toole – dotoole (at)


Information on the #LoveFE Campaign can be found here and here

Several college employers in the region are allowing staff leave to travel to the lobby. Please ask your local union officer or union rep or your line manager if this is available.   

If you are travelling with students you may need to complete a risk assessment. This will require the name and address of the coach company which is: Roselyn Coaches LTD, Middleway Garage, St.Blazey Road, Par, Cornwall, PL24 2JA. 01726 813737, beckie.ede(at)



Lobby of Parliament Tuesday 16 June #LOVEFE


Sign the petition – here
Book your seat on the coach – here

Following the announcement of cuts to the adult education budget in England a major campaign has been launched to save Further Education Adult Learning and we are calling on everyone to help. The cuts of up to 24% of funding for adult learning courses risk decimating further education provision and will leave thousands of the most vulnerable adults without access to any opportunity to improve their education.

The Skills Funding Letter 2015-16 outlined that £770m of adult skills funding in 2015-16 will be set aside for apprenticeships. This means that the bulk of the overall 11% cut to the Adult Skills Budget will fall on non-apprenticeship provision; the Skills Funding Agency has estimated that this could amount to cuts of up to 24% for non-apprenticeship learning in 2015-16.

These cuts will hit vulnerable learners and the South West economy hardest, with millions of people who missed out on qualifications at school or those who need to retrain missing out if the cuts go ahead in 2015/16.

UCU is working together with its members and members of other unions, employers and employers groups, students and the NUS, professional bodies and those ordinary aspirational members of the community who may now be deprived of their own “life chance” to oppose these cuts which, if implemented, will have a devastating effect on Adult Provision in FE and destroy FE as we currently know it. Educational establishments in the South West also provide an irreplaceable and valuable input into the local economy.

Already in the South West, whilst  only in the first week of the new government, hundreds of jobs in FE have been threatened. UCU is therefore working together with others to organise a Lobby of Parliament on Tuesday 16 June 2015 and you can take part by boarding one of the coaches being organised by the UCU Regional Office in Exeter.

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Susan Banducci – The Selection of Women as Political Candidates

Susan Banducci Professor in Politics College of Social Sciences and International Studies University of Exeter







UCU South West Retired Members’ Branch invites you to come and hear Susan Banducci, Professor in Politics College of Social Sciences and International Studies University of Exeter.

Her talk is on the selection of women as political candidates. We are relatively informal. You can ask questions as she goes along and there will be time for discussion at the end. She will speak for 30-45 minutes and stay for the buffet lunch with us.

12.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. Tuesday 19th November 2013.
Venue: UCU Office.  Labour Party Rooms,  26b Clifton Hill, Exeter EX1 2DJ

A buffet lunch will be provided if you let us know a week in advance.

To book your place email

March for a Future That Works, 20 October

Day of Action: 20 October, 2012









The TUC has named Saturday 20 October as the date for a major demonstration in London when unions, workers and campaign groups will join together to call for a Future that Works. The event, which aims to build on the huge success of last year’s March for the Alternative, will begin with a march through central London and end with a rally in Hyde Park. The aim is to highlight the failures of government austerity and call for economic policies that work.

UCU South West Region will be promoting, participating in and supporting this event and I will post details of transport and organising events as they come available. Two websites that will be central to this event are: and Please take a look.

If you want to get involved in this please contact your UCU branch secretary or get in touch with me, Dave O’Toole

Protest against the EDL Bristol 14 July


 The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom. At many of their demonstrations, EDL members have clashed with counter-demonstrators, including supporters of Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Members of the EDL have been implicated in acts of violence during rallies held by trade unions, socialist groups and anti-racist organisations.

The aims of the EDL run directly counter to the principles of trade unionism and all trade unionists should oppose them.  Mike Gurney of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) writes urging support in opposing the intentions of the EDL to march in Bristol. Contact Mike or get in touch with your UCU branch secretary to attend this march.

 “Dear All

The English Defence League are once again trying to rear their racist heads in the South West. They are holding a march in Bristol on Saturday 14th July.

We Are Bristol and Bristol Unite Against Fascism have called for a march and rally in the city on Saturday 14 July to oppose the planned demonstration by the EDL.

The racist thugs of the EDL have announced plans to come to town that Saturday — despite the city hosting Bristol Pride event organised by the LGBT community for the people of the South West.

We Are Bristol have called a march and rally, “Celebrating diversity — Resisting racism and fascism”, to show the EDL that they are not welcome. The details for the counter demonstration are: Saturday 14 July. Assemble at 11am, Fountains, Bristol City Centre.

The EDL in the South West and beyond are mobilizing for this – however recently their numbers at protests have been low and they have been outnumbered by anti-racists. Hopefully in Bristol they will be outnumbered and demoralized.

Are you interested in travelling up to Bristol for the counter demo? If you are then please email back so that we can arrange to travel up in a group.

Mike Gurney

Exeter UAF (”

UCU Reps Training in Taunton

Training Session at Rep 1

Seven reps from the South West Region took part in the most recent Rep 1 training course. The course, held in the relaxing atmosphere of Lyngford House, Taunton is aimed at new reps, caseworkers and activists who will be undertaking their role in the near future.

The Rep 1 introductory module introduces new reps to the purpose of UCU, its structure, functions and democratic processes and how you can get involved; your role and rights as a UCU rep; the importance of organising and campaigning and the support available to you as a UCU rep.

Training as a UCU union rep is free and you are entitled to paid time off from your employer, training provider, college or university.

If you want to become more involved in the work of UCU starting in your branch  contact your branch secretary. If you are nor sure who this is contact the Regional Office. Email or phone 01392 412 525.