Blog: Board of Trustees Meeting

‘The SU has done this’, ‘the SU has done that…’ – these are phrases that I sometimes hear people say. But, how are decisions really made at the SU? 

As you may have read in my Democracy Review blog or the last Board of Trustees update back in June, this year we’re reviewing how we do democracy here at the SU. Our goal is for students to be more directly involved in the decision-making processes within the Students’ Union, and to clarify how they can set our priorities in terms of lobbying and campaigning. A lot is on the table – with potential changes to the sabbatical officer roles in the future being something our consultant could recommend, based on your feedback.

One thing that won’t change, however, is our Board of Trustees. Since we’re a charity, we have to have one by charity law! Chaired by myself, and made up of a team 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.

We had our second meeting of the academic year on Thursday 6 December, and in a nutshell, here’s what we discussed:

Annual Financial Statements

Our auditors came in to present our annual accounts for the 2017/18 year. We present these accounts to the Annual General Meeting in spring term and submit them to the charity commission (again, as we’re a charity). Crowe were also re-appointed as our auditors for another two years.

Quarter One Finances

We looked at our financial performance for the first three months of the year (August, September and October), which includes the Freshers’ Festival period – a crucial time for generating income through our venues and retail to spend back on services for students. I’m delighted to say that we’re on track against our budget.

Don’t forget to check out our Value For Money page to find out more about how our budget works!

Union Shop Review

The Union Shop has  grown more and more over the last couple of years. – from the temporary building near the Hub, to a prime spot on campus in the Davison building.

After a full year in its new home, it’s time to look at how things could be improved going forward, to ensure the Union Shop continues to provide great customer service and great part-time employment for students.

Our Senior Managers have met with our permanent staff and student staff to hear their comments, and will be looking to put improvements in place in the new year. Watch this space!

Academic Board Positions/College Council Rep

The role of Academic Board Representative was introduced into the Union-wide elections last year in line with the College’s Statutes. These state that three students of the College who are representative of, and elected by, the whole student body, should be a part of the membership of Academic Board (in addition to the SU President, who is automatically a member).

Of the 29 nominations received across all positions in last year’s Union Elections, this role did not attract any nominations at all, so this year’s posts were filled by three of your elected sabbatical officers. This makes sense because your officers are indeed representative of, and elected by, the whole student body, and represent your academic interests on a number of College education committees.

The Trustees decided to build on this decision by choosing to make these roles part of the Sabbatical Officers’ remits in the 2019 SU Elections (as they currently are this year).

College Council Rep will continue to be open to all students, who have the opportunity to run to be elected onto College Council- Royal Holloway’s governing body and therefore, by nature, the highest level of decision-making in the institution.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email!

Clem Jones // President