Back in June, our Board of Trustees met to discuss a number of key topics including changes to our complaints process, senior leadership team, and updates from the sabbatical officers to name a few.
In June, we held our final Board of Trustees for the academic year 2021-22. Our Board of Trustees is made up of three sabbatical officers, three student trustees, and five external trustees and this group is legally responsible for the organisation. The Board also helps set out our strategy and provides guidance and expertise.
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.
All four officers provided an update on their activities since the last Board meeting, which included work around student safety, decolonisation, a sustainability guide for student groups, Wellness Wednesdays, society awards, student group training, and setting up new communication channels for student groups.
A written update was received from the Interim CEO which included the development of the 2022/23 budget, finalising the Memorandum of Cooperation (a document outlining the partnership between the university and the SU), Officer and CEO induction planning, and plans for future engagement with the London campus.
Board received a summary report from FSR which included an update on the Quarter Three Management Accounts, 2022/23 Budget plan, 2021/22 draft outturn, the annual HR report, and proposed amendments to the pay scale for 2022/23. FSR approved the proposed pay scale subject to budget approval by College Finance Committee and Trustee Board.
Board received a summary from ARC formally announcing the appointment of Suzy Stevenson as Chief Executive with effect from 4 July 2022. More exciting appointments have been made as two new student trustees have been selected for 2022/23: Isaac Crosby and Molly Taylor. Congratulations to Isaac and Molly and welcome to Board – I’m really looking forward to working with both of you over the next year!
Board approved the 2022/23 budget. The budget was based on year two of the three-year recovery plan presented to Trustee Board and the College in 2020/21. College agreed that this was an appropriate starting position, and the assumptions presented were agreed upon. The College approved a further £25k to support the Teaching Excellence Framework Student Submission which we have to produce this year. FSR had been asked to approve an amendment to the pay scale for 2022/23 which reflected the challenges being experienced as a consequence of increases in cost of living; FSR approved the approach and it was taken to College for further discussion. College Finance Committee approved the request for the block grant, including the TEF and cost of living amendments.
At the SU we have been planning to revamp our complaints process in order to ensure complaints are resolved in a timely manner. The changes will also reduce the workload on officers, so we are able to do more proactive work to improve your student experience! Our proposed changes required amendments to Byelaws K & L which were approved. This work will continue to ensure the new complaints procedure is ready for the start of the new academic year.
Board approved the proposed annual calendar of business which sets out what will be discussed at the 22-23 meetings.
Board received a verbal summary of the work completed on the Memorandum of Cooperation and the associated appendices. Board was informed that the MoC was agreed upon by the College, along with appendix 1 – Code of Practice. Board were asked to approve the MoC, and the Chair was asked to sign along with the Interim CEO. The document will be returned to the College for signature. The Code of Practice was presented to College Council in July. Board was informed that two further appendices, led by the new CEO, would be developed in 2022/23 – IT Services Agreement and Sustainable Funding Agreement.
Board received a written report on the SU's main campus election and further information on the May student group elections.
Board received a report to note the outcomes and recommendations from the annual staff survey. Permanent staff results were comparable with 2021 and were generally very positive. Casual staff results were comparable with 2019 (the last comparable survey of casual staff). The response rate was lower than 2019, however, the results were marginally better. Development areas include rewards (staff perks) and performance management. Overall, the survey results are positive and provide a strong platform from which improvements can be made moving forward.
Board received a written report from Insanity to note the work undertaken to improve the governance of the student group this year. The report identified the financial position of the group and key areas of compliance for which the Board had previously shown concern. Board noted the excellent work undertaken and looked forward to continued improvements.
Board received a verbal update on Rate Your Union, the annual survey we run about our services; a full paper with an action plan will be presented to Board in September.
A request to remove Byelaw N was approved by Board. The Byelaw was required to facilitate the changes required by the democracy review in 2018, which have now been implemented, and thus the Byelaw is no longer necessary.
The Deputy Chair presented a paper about the appraisal of the Interim Chief Executive.
The next Trustee Board will be held on 29 September 2022 – see you for another update then!
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