officer blog

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sophie atherton

campaigns & democracy
s.atherton@uea.ac.uk

democracy discussions: what changes lie ahead

It is that time of the year, the first union council is nearly upon us. Our first meeting of the year will aim to focus on key information and any changes we have implemented from any previous feedback. 

When? Where? Our first Union Council meeting will be on the 17th October, LT2 at 7-10:30pm.  

For all members there will be a new section on the website with the agenda, submitted motions and jargon busters which will explain various terms that may be used during the meeting.  

For union councillors, there will be additional information on the portion of the website around training with videos of myself talking you through what a motion is and how the meeting runs with the newly re-worked agenda, it’s much shorter and clearer! There will also be a video focusing on code of conduct and some PowerPoint slides.  

With union council this year, we’re trying various changes to make it more effective and an enjoyable experience! There even may or may not be refreshments for you when you arrive. It’s worth noting, I’m always happy to try new things to make them work better, if you have any feedback, let me know. 

Moving onto the Democracy Review, for any of you who have been following my work since the beginning of the year, may have heard me mention we’re having a democracy review quite a few times… I wanted to take this opportunity to explain the current timeline and scoping exercises that I’ve worked with other student officers on so that you can be up to date too. 

Timeline: Last year’s student officer committee agreed to have an external consultant support us with this work as this review is the largest for the last few years, and they will have visited us for the first time by the time you are reading this.  

We will be having a conversation around what works well and could be improved within representation and decision making. This covers school and faculty convenors, as well as full time and part time officer roles. We’re going to be looking at lots of meetings that take place from societies and sports exec to Union Council. Fundamentally, we will be asking ourselves the question of should every part of the union have a democratic input? 

I hope to have a rough outline of potential changes by December which I can update Union Council on and present to the Trustee Board with a steer to know if I’m going in the right direction for you! 

In addition to union councillors, any member is welcome to come along to union council, just let us know on your arrival. I’m looking forward to seeing and welcoming you. If you are unable to come to the first one of the year, just drop me an email at s.atherton@uea.ac.uk and I’ll see you at the next one.  

On the topic of the democracy review, we are planning on reaching out to key individual that we want included in the conversation through focus groups, surveying and meeting with you on an individual basis, but if you have a specific interest, please get in touch to ensure that you’re involved! I’m always happy for you to come and visit me in the office!  

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