Blog: Board of Trustees June Update

At the start of the year, I set out how the Students’ Union was aiming to be more transparent, giving you a greater understanding of how the Union is run, and how we make the decisions that we do.

I also outlined our key focus on addressing how students can be more directly involved in the decision-making processes within the Students’ Union.

One of the ways we’ve sought to do this is through publishing updates from our Board of Trustees meetings. For those of you who need a reminder, or have no idea what I’m going on about, here’s a reminder:

Chaired by myself, and made up of a mixture of Sabbatical Officers, elected Student Trustees, and External Trustees, we meet every three months and are legally responsible for everything that the Union does - from the operation of our commercial outlets to the health and safety policies that govern our student groups.

Last week, we held our fourth and final Board of Trustees meeting of the year – here’s a little update on everything that was discussed:

Democracy Review Approval

Back in May, students voted to adopt our newly proposed constitution. This was the culmination of our Democracy Review – a huge piece of work that I led on to ensure that the above can be carried out, with students at the heart of everything we do.

I am pleased to say the new constitution was unanimously adopted by the Board, which means it now goes forward to the College’s governing body (known as College Council) for confirmation – and then the Charity Commission.

The changes on their way next year are going to transform how students lead the Students’ Union and you can read all about them here.

Rate Your Union and Staff Survey Results

Board received an update on the recent results from our Rate Your Union survey, which we published some initial findings from last month. While the survey scores were highly positive overall, we know we still have plenty more to do – and that work has already started.

With regards to our annual Staff Survey, completed by both permanent and casual staff, we saw that the former are exceptionally happy. While our results for casual staff were also positive, there is definite room for improvement. A particular shout out goes to our Union Shop team who saw a 40 percentage point increase compared to 2017/18!

2018/19 financial performance

The Board received a verbal update on our likely financial performance for the 2018/19 academic year. We are on track to deliver a smaller surplus than originally set out in the reforecasted budget for the year. This is driven by a tough spring term's trading in our venues, where footfall and ticket sales were below expectation in the SU Venue, and the poor weather hit us hard in the final few weeks of term (which particularly affected The Packhorse). Sales in the Union Shop once again beat budget significantly, but this has unfortunately been offset by a theft issue which has seen increased security measures put in place.

2019/20 Budget

Our department and team managers carried out their annual number crunching months ago, as they set their budgets for the new academic year. Although already discussed and agreed at our Finance, Staffing & Risk subcommittee, the 2019/20 budget was formally approved at Board of Trustees.

Returning Officer Report

Abi Jesson, Head of Membership Support & Engagement, presented the annual elections report to the Board, which demonstrates how we’ve complied with the Education Act 1994.

Annual Calendar of Business

Board approved the annual calendar of business for next year, which sets out key meeting dates and likely agenda items for Board and its main subcommittee: Finance, Staffing & Risk.

Clem Jones // President