Towards the end of 2016 it was widely accepted by members, officers and staff within the Students’ Union that the democratic governance structures needed to be reviewed.
Awareness of officers (especially part-time officers) and Student Council and its role were low. The low level of ideas for change submitted to Student Council suggested that the student body did not view the Union as a body that could make or lobby for positive change on their behalf. Student turnout in Elections had been in decline since 2012 and engagement in the Autumn Elections for Student Councillors and Part Time Officers was particularly low. For a number of year these positions have never all been filled.
The Union also noted that other Students’ Unions had undertaken reviews and were increasingly moving away from the traditional democratic models.
As a result, it was decided by the officer team that a full review of the Union’s democratic governance should take place and would focus on the following areas:
- The Students’ Union governing documents; their content, accessibility and reason for existence.
- The decision making meetings which directly involve our membership; their frequency, remit and varying levels of authority.
- Elected officials of the Students’ Union; their remit, responsibility area and level of decision making ability within the organisation.
Since we launched the review we have undertaken a number of pieces of research and consultation and we are now able to launch our proposed new structure for consultation. You can find the full document here. The biggest proposals are around how we represent groups like LGBTQ+ students, disabled students, black asian and minority ethnic students etc and how we easy it is for students to ask the SU to change something.
You can complete a simple survey here to tell us about what you think of the biggest proposed changes or email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments on the proposal. You can also come and talk to your Officers. We would really like to know what you like, don't like and what you would change about the proposed new structure.
We are also running focus groups. Please contact email@example.com if you would like to attend one.
Following this consultation we will publish a final proposal which will go to Student Council and then an all student meeting where students will be able to ask questions, make amendments and then if they are happy pass the new structure so it can start in September 2020.