On 7 December, we held our second Board of Trustees meeting of the academic year. With so much going on at the SU, we know it can be a bit confusing to understand where decisions are being made, so hopefully this blog will help you to understand some of the work going on behind the scenes!
On 7 December, we held our second Board of Trustees meeting of the academic year.
With so much going on at the SU, we know it can be a bit confusing to understand where decisions are being made, so hopefully this blog will help you to understand some of the work going on behind the scenes!
Our Board of Trustees is made up of four Sabbatical Officers, three Student Trustees, and five External Trustees and this group is legally responsible for the organisation. The Board also provides guidance and expertise to ensure we remain on track to deliver our strategic aims. We’re currently in the process of forming a new strategy which is exciting for everyone at the SU – more on that below.
At Board meetings, Sabbatical Officers and the Chief Executive provide updates on their work and present items which need to be discussed and potentially approved by Board. At RHSU, we want to ensure we are as transparent as possible about how decisions are made and who makes them, so let’s dive into what was on the agenda at our latest meeting.
The major item on the agenda was approving our 2022-23 financial statements and receiving the Audit Findings Report from our independent auditors.
No high-risk issues were identified, and the auditors concluded that we are a ‘going concern’ (essentially this means we are financially stable enough to meet our obligations and continue our business for the foreseeable future). Good news!
Back in October, we invited you to complete a survey to help shape our new Strategic Plan. This plan sets out our vision and what we want to achieve as an organisation.
Alterline, our strategic research partner, presented headline findings from the student and stakeholder research to date. The all-student survey received 1081 responses, 35 further students engaged with more qualitative research through online communities, and 11 senior University staff have also been interviewed.
Some key themes have already been identified which will help us to shape our strategy. A more detailed report will be available by the end of January. In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the University over its own new strategy work, and how we can align and support their aspirations to improve the student experience at Royal Holloway.
All four Officers updated the Board on our work since the last meeting, which included representing students locally and nationally via NUS and BUCS, delivering physical and mental wellbeing campaigns, working with University departments to improve inclusivity and accessibility, and implementing recommendations from last year’s SU Security Review.
Proposals for this year’s Summer Ball were presented; the Board are very supportive of an end-of-year celebration that focuses on student experience. We’ll update you as soon as our plans are finalised – exciting times!
The Board received and discussed a proposal for RHSU to incorporate (register as a limited company). Although RHSU is a registered charity and independent organisation, it does not have a legal form in its own right. The majority of other students' unions are incorporated or are in the process of finalising.
There was a good level of discussion and although the Board agreed in principle that incorporation was the right direction for RHSU, it was recognised that a formal decision would require more detailed planning.
We will continue discussions at the next Finance, Staffing and Risk Committee in February, which will include a recommended approach to approval by our members.
A written update from our CEO, Tony Logan, summarised the work undertaken over his first two months in the role. This has included collaboration with the University’s Live Issues Group, Freedom of Speech legislation, and key internal and student-facing activity that has taken place across the period.
Board received a written report on quarter one management accounts and an impact summary of the summer refurbishment work in Tommy’s Lounge, Tommy’s Kitchen and the Union Shop.
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX