Get help and advice

Where do you get help and advice?

General issues and common queries

Members who would like advice on general issues relating to their employment, should contact in the first instance. Or follow the link to the National UCU Support Centre to find answers to many of the most common queries we receive, together with other useful material to inform and support you in your employment and union membership.

Personal casework

If you require specific and individual assistance from Sheffield UCU to resolve an employment related issue first of all please read our personal casework guidance.

Then we ask that you to fill in the  personal casework application form and chronology  forms and email them both to Our administrator will then get in touch with you.   You may find it useful to take a look at our process flow chart.

It is recommended that you read the personal casework guidance before filling in the casework request and chronology forms. If you are seeking assistance with respect to a particular employment policy at the University of Sheffield then it is helpful to us if you indicate which one it is.

University of Sheffield policies and procedures can found in our Useful Links.

Please note that normally Sheffield UCU will only offer its help to UCU members of more than 90 days standing, and is not normally able to provide assistance (including initial advice) to members whose workplace issue has its origins before joining the union.   

However, assistance may be provided to members of less than 90 days standing, and for a workplace issue which has its origins after the date of joining the union in the following circumstances:

  • If a member joins the Union at the earliest opportunity (and in any event no later than 30 days after taking up qualifying employment).
  • If a member did not join the union at the earliest opportunity we will not provide assistance until the member has made an upfront payment of 12 months’ national and local union subscription, starting from the date of registration of membership or, if their membership lapsed for any reason, from the date of the restoration of membership.

Each request for assistance from members of less than 90 days standing will be assessed on its merits, subject to Branch resources, and on a case by case basis.  For example, there may be issues of collective significance for the Branch.  In any case the final decision rests with SUCU Committee.

Education Support Partnership

The Education Support PArtnership is a charity that offers support services to all staff in further and higher education and their families, including:

  • Counselling: confidential, solution-focused counselling on personal and workplace issues.
  • One-to-one coaching: personalised practical and emotional support via a secure email system.
  • Information, advice and support material: news, guides and factsheets on relevant topics such as well-being, work-life balance, workload problems, stress management, coping with bereavement, and dealing with difficult people.
  • Financial assistance: a needs-based grants and loans programme.
  • Money management advice: individually tailored strategies to address financial difficulties, restructure debt and secure benefits.
  • Signposting to relevant organisations: the information you need to take the next steps to a better future.

All these services can be accessed online on the  Education Support Partnership website or through a 24/7 telephone support line, on Freephone 08000 562 561.

Claiming Tax Relief on UCU subscriptions

UCU members are entitled to offset a proportion of subscriptions paid against tax paid (less any voluntary contribution made to the Education Support Partnership).

Members should complete form P87, available via the HMRC link below.  When completing a tax form, claims should be made under the section relating to ‘professional fees and subscriptions’.  The allowable figure to be entered should be 67% of the total subscriptions paid for each year.

You have up to four years to claim for each tax year – please note that UCU’s subscription year runs from September to August each year, but the tax year from April to March.  Tables of national subscription rates for the current and previous tax years, together with tables for local subscriptions, are attached below.

You will need to combine the national and local (if applicable) subscription you have paid for the relevant tax years, then enter 67% of this amount on your form.

Important note – Tax relief applying to UCU subscriptions will be a proportion of 67% of the total annual subscription paid, according the rate at which your earnings are taxed.  The exact figure is dependent upon your tax district, tax rate and circumstances.

The union’s name appears on the list of approved bodies for tax purposes.  See elsewhere on the HM Revenue and Customs website for further information on tax relief for professional fees and subscriptions, including how to claim tax relief.