The Students' Union

The SU now has good processes, a strong team and is about to agree a new financial model. However we’re still heavily leveraged on our trading activity, our corporate governance is clunky and complex, and our staff are telling us that their wellbeing and training and development needs are not being fully met. We also need to ensure that we’re keeping up with the latest developments in IT to ensure we are being as efficient and engaging as possible.

Our ambitions:

This is where we want to be by 2019

  • We will operate outstanding student led governance, with students making key decisions at all levels underpinned by well-developed and high quality staff support.
  • We will have high quality management, communications and internal processes that support our work.
  • We will have a strong partnership with University and others working together on infrastructure and culture.
  • We will have great stats- consistently high levels of Student Satisfaction and an outstanding grade in the Students’ Union Quality Mark.

The year ahead

This is what we’ll do to get there in 2016-17

  • We’ll develop and agree a Union wide staff wellbeing plan, appointing a Chief Wellbeing Officer to drive work on reducing stress and improving happiness and improving social opportunities for staff.
  • We’ll complete work on financial processes and management and agree and implement a new financial model with the University that resolves our medium term funding gap and delivers sustained, planned investment in our facilities and services.
  • We'll complete additional building work to improve the accessibility of Union House, refurbish key areas to ensure the building always looks “Brand New” and embed work on NUS’ Green Impact scheme on waste, travel, procurement, biodiversity, and energy use.
  • We’ll invest in training and development for our career staff, with all receiving quarterly performance reviews, enrolling in Personal Development Plans and an expectation around networking with other unions and organisations.
  • We’ll implement a new digital focussed student communication strategy, implement a new mobile focussed web and ticketing provider and develop an IT Innovation group and IT champions scheme, ensuring we are taking advantage of the latest solutions to reduce costs, improve productivity and drive efficiency for our people and members.

And then we’ll go further:

  • We’ll carry out a comprehensive corporate Governance review that seeks to emphasize our role as a co-operative, mutual democracy.
  • We’ll review progress against Part Two of the SU quality model and improve our Governance, Communications, Relationships, Engagement, Leadership and Management in the process.
  • We’ll take a lead role in driving partnerships between unions, working with (but not depending solely on) NUS to share expertise, resources and ideas with other SUs.

The impact

  • We will have achieved a placing in the top 10% of UK students’ unions as measured by the National Student Survey.
  • We will retain an 80% staff engagement score in annual research.
  • We will have secured and retained an “excellent” grade in the Quality Students’ Unions scheme and we’ll be a “Gold” Green Impact and Best Bar None Union.

Underpinning plans that enable the SU to transform

As well as this strategy, there’s a bunch of underpinning plans that our Trustee Board review at each meeting that help us to transform. They look specifically at our Corporate Governance, IT & Web, Communications & Relationships, Finance, People, Building & Facilities and Equality & Diversity.

We will rationalise and simplify these as well as improving student and staff involvement in their design and delivery. We’ll also introduce a “bureaucracy blast” every quarter to reduce hassle when tryng to make things happen.