Board of Trustees Update - March 2024

On 21 March, we held our third Board of Trustees meeting for the 2023/24 academic year. Find out how we're working to make student life better at Royal Holloway.

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On 21 March, we held our third Board of Trustees meeting for the 2023/24 academic year.

What is the Board of Trustees?

Our Board of Trustees is made up of four elected Sabbatical Officers, three appointed Student Trustees and up to five external and independent Trustees. This group is legally responsible for the organisation and in addition to providing guidance and expertise, helps to set the strategic direction for RHSU.

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.

RHUL 2030s Strategic Plan

Julie Sanders, Vice-Chancellor and Principal and Nick Barrett, Executive Director for Student Journey, were invited to attend the start of our Board meeting to give an update on the University’s Strategic Plan. The update provided a summary of key areas of focus for Royal Holloway, including vision and values, strategic ambitions, current areas of strength and potential graduate attributes and strategic enablers.

RHSU Strategic Plan

The progress of our next Strategic Plan was presented including the work completed since October 2023.

We also explored a draft of our strategic aims, priorities and objectives for RHSU and the University as key enablers for improving student academic and co-curricular experience, including:

  • Building Communities for all Students
  • Building Stronger Student Voice and Representation
  • Providing Inclusive Events and Spaces
  • Providing Advice and Advocating for Students

In the coming weeks, keep an eye out as we’ll be looking to test some of our thinking with the student body, along with University stakeholders. We’ll then begin exploring our new ideas and projects, ensuring that our resources and funding can match our ambitions.

We’ll also start looking at how we measure success and ensure we capture any baseline data before the end of this academic year. The final Strategic Plan, along with the 2024/25 budget will be approved at the end of June 2024 by our Board of Trustees.

Incorporation Project Plan

At present, RHSU is an independent organisation and charity, with an organisational structure of Unincorporated Association, meaning at present it doesn’t have a legal form in its own right. The elected student Sabbatical Officers, Student Trustees, with support from External Trustees, make up the Board of Trustees, and are responsible for the finances, resources, reputation and staff of the Union, on behalf of the student body. Any business or work carried out by the organisation is essentially done on behalf of those Trustees and at their own risk. By incorporating the charity, we will remove these risks to our Trustees and protect the organisation. RHSU will continue to operate as not-for-profit and there will be no material changes to RHSU’s charitable objects.

At the meeting, the Board received a project plan, that had been overseen by our Finance, Staffing and Risk committee, setting out the key activities, milestones and resources associated with incorporating by the end of July next year and prior to the 2025/26 academic year.

We’re pleased to report that the Board of Trustees have unanimously agreed to recommend incorporation to our members, so we’ll now be working on the constitutional process with a view to inviting an all-student vote as part of our Summer Elections in May.

Sabbatical Officer Updates and Impact

All four Officers updated the Board on their work since the last meeting, which included planning for student group training, expanding mental health support and awareness, boosting your employability, and implementing recommendations from the SU Security Review.

2024-25 Block Grant Proposal

Every year, we work with the University to secure Block Grant funding for the following academic year. During the meeting, the Board were updated on discussions with the University, alongside next steps and timelines to secure the 2024/25 Block Grant. A proposal was recently presented to the Joint Executive Committee, and we’ll be meeting with senior University staff across the next few weeks to finalise the grant.

Finance, Staffing and Risk Committee Summary and Quarter Two Management Accounts

The Board received a summary of the Finance, Staffing and Risk Committee (FSR) meeting held on 20 February and a report of our Quarter Two Management Accounts.

CEO Report

An update from our CEO, Tony Logan, summarised the work undertaken since December 2023. This included an update on our Strategic Plan work and progress, financial performance, live issues and freedom of speech, staff engagement survey, Block Grant proposal, senior leadership changes at RHUL and a summary of key activity across Term Two.

Leadership Elections Update

A verbal update was given by Dan Curran, Deputy Returning Officer on the Leadership Elections, which included the voter turnout and complaints. A full report will go to the June 2024 Board of Trustees meeting, which will include the Summer Elections.