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21st April 2014

Category > Uncategorized

Standing Committee Review

» 02 April 2014 » In Lapsed Policy, Uncategorized » No Comments

Standing Committee Review – 3 December 2012 Union Council (1213P4)

Union Notes

1.      In April 2011 Union Council mandated the VP Communications to lead a review of the standing committee structure – http://blogs.susu.org/policy/2012/04/23/standing-committee-structure-review/#content

2.      The VP Communications hosted open consultation session in August, which noted the current issues with standing committees::

2.1. That there are currently too many standing committees causing accountability problems.

2.2. A lack of purpose and boundaries in the committee structure.

2.3. Limited discussion that is too operational, not strategic or ideological.

3.      The open consultation session explored best practice from other Students’ Unions around the country, with our students noting exciting possibilities to explore, including:

3.1. Merit to creating an extra layer in our structure.

3.2. The possibility of zoning.

3.3. A distinction between policy and operational functions.

4.      A further open consultation session hosted in September, which noted the importance of grouping our activities within SUSU based on zones, as well as the importance of linking accountability and scrutiny into any standing committee structure.

5.      The importance of accountability, scrutiny and reporting of our student leaders, as well as our Sabbaticals.

6.      There are a number of student groups, committees, and activities which are currently unrecognised in our decision making structure.

7.      The following extracts from The Union Plan to 2015:

Vision: To be the informed and legitimate voice of our members.

Values: Representative; Student Led; Transparent.

4.2. Informing students of significant change within SUSU but also on wider issues that affect them

Union Believes

1.      Our standing committee structure should support the different purposes of different committees in being activity based and/or in driving policy.

2.      For the sake of accountability and reporting to council, a functioning structure needs a succinct number of standing committees. This number will always be far lower than the number of activities that SUSU supports and develops, therefore zoning is necessary.

3.      The values of SUSU should be reflected across the standing committee structure.

4.      Any major changes to the decision making structure of SUSU should not be implemented during an academic year.

5.      That changes to our standing committee structure and associated changes to Sabbatical and Student Leader roles should be fully informed by the voice of our members, and so should wholly fulfil the criteria in the extracts of The Union Plan in Union Notes (7).

 

Union Further Believes

1.      A disharmony between our decision making structure and Sabbatical Officer or Student Leader Roles would be detrimental to the effectiveness of SUSU.

2.      Any changes to the roles of officers should take place before those respective elections are held.

3.      That the changes currently proposed to Sabbatical and Student Leader roles are not as wholly informed by the voice of our members as they might be, and so do not wholly fulfil the criteria in the extracts of The Union Plan in Union Notes (7).

4.       That we should, as a consequence of Union Further Believes (3), consult again and more widely on changes to Sabbatical and Student Leader roles.

Union Resolves

1.      To dissolve the current standing committees as of 1 July 2012 and replace them with 3 Policy Zones and 5 Activity Zones as follows:

Policy Zones

To set and reflect the culture, values, and behaviours of SUSU. They create policy, which affects all the activity zones of SUSU.

Sustainability’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • Students’ wellbeing
  • Ethical and environmental issues
  • Equality issues
  • Employability of our members
  • Political, social awareness and campaign societies

Student Communities’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • International students
  • Post Graduate students
  • Diversity issues
  • JCRs support
  • Support for Sites
  • Development of Liberations
  • International and cultural societies

Democracy’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • Constitution
  • Elections
  • Student Group principles and affiliations

Activity Zones

To develop activity within SUSU. They make real and direct change within their own areas, and rely on policy set from the central zones to enact the values of SUSU.

Education’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • Faculty representation systems
  • National Policy issues
  • University wide educational policy issues
  • Departmental Societies

Student Life’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • Peer to Peer groups, including Nightline
  • Housing issues
  • Student Financial Support
  • Faith Societies

Engagement’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • RAG
  • Enterprise activity
  • Social Enterprise activity
  • Community Action and volunteering
  • External Communities
  • Enterprise societies

Creative Industries’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • Union Films
  • Performing Arts
  • SUSU Media Departments
  • Music, Arts and Media Societies

Sports Development’ Zone should develop the following areas:

  • Athletic Union
  • Developing and increasing Participation in sport
  • Sports Societies

 

2.           Pending further consultation, to adjust the relevant Sabbatical Officer Roles as of 1 July 2012 to align with the proposed decision making structure of SUSU. Notably:

2.1.         Adjusting the role of VP Academic Affairs to include support for Departmental Societies.  Adjusting the name of ‘Vice President Academic Affairs’ to Vice President Education’.

2.2.         Adjusting the role of Vice President Communications to support and lead the ‘Democracy’ and ‘Creative Industries’ Zones. To include support for Union Films, Performing Arts, Music, Arts and Media Societies and Student Group principles and affiliations. Omitting responsibility for the organisation of Freshers’ Week and the responsibility to lead on Union Communications.  Adjusting the name of the ‘Vice President Communications’ to ‘Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries’.

2.3.         Adjusting the role of Vice President Sports Development to include support for Sports Societies.

2.4.         Adjusting the role of Vice President Student Engagement to include support of Social Enterprise activity, Enterprise societies and External Communities. Omitting responsibility for support of Union Films, support of Performing Arts, JCRs support and overall responsibility of societies. They will also spearhead widening participation in all our activities – from across the student population at the University of Southampton, the towns and cities local to our sites, nationally and internationally – and communicating our activities and successes to said audience. The Vice President Student Engagement should also be responsible for the Organisation of Freshers’ Week, the widening of engagement across SUSU and leading on Union Communications.  Adjusting the name of the ‘Vice President Student Engagement’ to ‘Vice President Engagement’.

2.5.         Adjusting the role of Vice President Welfare and Communities to support and lead the ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Student Life’ Zones. To include overall responsibility for Students’ wellbeing, Employability of our members, and Faith Societies. Omitting responsibility for External Communities, International students, Post Graduate students, and Diversity issues.  Adjusting the name of ‘Vice President Welfare and Communities’ to ‘Vice President Welfare’.

2.6.         Adjusting the role of Vice President Winchester and Sites to include support of International students, Post Graduate students, Diversity issues, JCRs support, and International and cultural societies. Adjusting the name of ‘Vice President Winchester and Sites’ to ‘Vice President Student Communities’.

2.7           To adjust the names of the ‘Vice President Communications’ to ‘Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries’, and ‘Vice President Student Engagement’ to ‘Vice President Engagement’.

3.         Pending further consultation, to adjust the relevant Student Leader Roles as of 1 July 2012 to align with the proposed decision making structure of SUSU. Notably:

3.1.       Dissolving the ‘Sport and Health’ Officer Role and in its place creating a ‘Wellbeing’ Officer to sit within the ‘Sustainability’ Zone and a ‘Participation’ Officer to sit within the ‘Sports Development’ Zone.

3.2.       Adjusting the role of the ‘Societies’ Officer to fit the remit of leading on Student Group principles and affiliations.

4.          Pending further consultation, to set the membership of the Zones as the relevant Sabbatical as chair, and all relevant Student Leaders, society reps and 2 Union Councillors as voting members. Each Zone shall have the propensity to create Voluntary Officers within their own by-laws.

Union Mandates

1.      Constitution Committee to bring back to Union Council on 4 February 2013 the detailed changes required to the Union Standing Orders to create these changes to Standing Committees, Sabbatical Officers and Student Leaders.

2.      Vice President Communications to hold further open consultation and review sessions on the development of Sabbatical and Student Leader roles, together with a system of accountability and scrutiny that can be linked into the new decision making structure.

3.      Elections Committee to advertise and promote all changes to the Sabbatical Officers and Student Leaders in adequate time for the Spring Elections 2013.

 

 

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Union Films

» 31 March 2014 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

Union Films  – 27 March 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P6)

This Union Notes:

  1. Union Films is the Students’ Union cinema run by students on behalf of all members of the Students’ Union.
  2. That Union Films is a nationally recognised and award-winning cinema film society. A recent survey of several hundred customers praised the current service, film selection, special events and prices that Union Films offers.
  3. That Union Films allows student volunteers to be involved with all aspects of the running of the cinema, including selling tickets and refreshments, design and distribution of publicity materials, and projection of the film itself.
  4. After the cinema industry’s transition away from the 35mm film format, the Union has recently invested in a new DCI installation, allowing Union Films to continue to show films as close as possible after their mainstream cinema release.
  5. Union Films is anticipated to make a profit of £12,000 for academic year 2013-14 from ticket and refreshment sales.

 

This Union Believes:

  1. That providing a student-run purpose built cinema facility is one of the unique selling points of the University of Southampton and the Students’ Union.
  2. That the cinema provides a professional cinema experience at an attractive price for members of the Student’s Union compared to other cinemas within Southampton.
  3. To achieve and maintain this professional experience for all members of the Student’s Union, Union Films requires certain facilities other than the actual cinema and corresponding equipment.
  4. That currently, all these requirements are met solely by the Union Films office.
  5. That any facilities strategy should result in the best quality of service, facilities and experience that can be provided to the members of the Students’ Union.
  6. That Union Films being entirely student-run is extremely beneficial for volunteer development, providing unique opportunities and commercial experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere in the Students’ Union.
  7. That providing opportunities for students to volunteer and become involved with the Students’ Union is in line with the highest ideals of this Union.

 

This Union Resolves:

  1. To lapse 0910P32 Union Films.
  2. To ensure that any Union facilities strategy will not result in any detriment to the current or future service provided by Union Films to either its volunteers or the operation of the cinema in the long-term.
  3. Should there be any facilities developments potentially affecting Union Films, the VP Democracy and Creative Industries will liaise with the Union Films committee to ensure a suitable solution is found that maintains the current service and volunteering opportunities offered by Union Films.
  4. That volunteering remains integral to all the operations of Union Films.

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Staff Student Partnership Agreement

» 09 May 2013 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

Staff Studcnt Partnership Agreement – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P19)

This Union Notes

1.         The existing Staff Student Protocol Agreement which was approved by Union Council in May 2006 and ratified in June 2010.

2.        The current policy is obsolete in some areas by referring to principles which have since been superseded by changes to employment and other policies.

3.        That in the Union Plan to 2015, we pledge to “promote our values and deliver an internal culture characterised by a can-do attitude and a strong sense of pride” for both our staff and student members.

This Union Believes

1.       That our best results happen when a strong partnership exists between our students and staff.

2.        That in order to cultivate our values of being “student-led”, “engaging”, “dynamic” and “transparent” (from our Union Plan to 2015), it is important that members and staff have clear routes to communicate and work with each other.

3.        There is little awareness of the current policy amongst the staff and student populations.

4.        That our current Staff-Student Protocol fails to promote our values, missing an opportunity to encourage a positive culture.

5.        That SUSU should be clear and transparent in setting out how we expect our staff and students to work together.

6.        That our replacement policy should define the culture we will support and develop, and set out how students and staff can resolve issues they may encounter in working together.

7.         That renaming this policy our “Staff-Student Partnership Agreement” sends a clear and positive message about staff and students working together.

This Union Resolves

1.         To adopt the revised Staff Student Partnership Agreement.

2.        To lapse the policy “Staff Student Protocol Agreement Ref: 0506P22.

This Union Mandates

1.         The President to present the approved policy to the next meeting of Trustee Board in June 2013 for their approval.

2.        The President is to implement the Agreement and ensure that all staff and student groups understand it.

3.        The Trustees to review the Agreement on every two year anniversary.

Staff Student Partnership Agreement

Introduction – why do we have a Staff Student Partnership Agreement?

Every one of our students and staff has the potential to make a fantastic contribution to SUSU.  We want to ensure that students and staff work together in partnership, to share praise, and celebrate successes. We also recognise that there needs to be a clear route to fix problems if things are not working.  This Agreement seeks to define the culture we will support and develop, and set out how students and staff can resolve issues they may encounter in working together.  We also aim to give greater clarity on some of the ways we work together which can be confusing, given the different roles of students and staff within SUSU.

Working together

SUSU is run by students for students.  Throughout our governance and decision making students take the lead, indeed many of our activities are entirely planned and delivered by our members.  Much of the work is supported by staff.  We employ some 100 core staff as well as hundreds of support staff.  We believe that as a student-led organisation our best results happen when staff and students work in close partnership, are comfortable working together and clear on their different roles and contributions.  Our staff are chosen for their experience, expertise and knowledge and trained to make the best use of their potential which students use to support, develop and deliver their ideas.  However, it is important for both groups to be clear about where the boundaries lie between their contributions.  The “Frequently asked questions about potentially difficult topics” section goes into these areas in more detail.  These questions mainly focus on sensitive and legally restricted information such as personal data, financial and commercially sensitive information and also include the difficulties of staff expressing political views.

The different roles and statuses within SUSU

Staff – core and support

SUSU is a democratic membership organisation which works under the direction of its Trustees and Student Leaders.  Sabbatical Officers are elected to work as full time student leaders and trustees.  The General Meeting and Union Council are the ultimate democratic and student-led decision making bodies within SUSU.  As a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, SUSU also has a Board of Trustees that ensures we meet our charitable aims and employs staff to help make this happen.

The formal connection between students and staff is between the President and Chief Executive.  On a day-to-day basis, there are other pathways which both staff and students can use to work with each other.

We employ our core (permanent) staff to empower and enable our students to fulfil our mission of unlocking the potential and enriching the life of every student.  A lot of staff time is invested in running our services and activities.  Staff often support our mission by providing professional advice and sharing their expertise. It is an important and often challenging line for core staff to balance between advising students in making policy and making decisions which affect the Union on their own behalf. If a core member of staff is in doubt whether they are overstepping that line, they should discuss it with their line manager. Members of staff are given direction by their line managers to determine their work.

All staff are automatically associate members of SUSU, and as such we encourage our staff to join in with the activities that interest them, although they are not eligible to hold any positions of authority or leadership within any student group as this would interfere with a truly student-led experience.

In order to use our members’ skills and provide them with employment opportunities, SUSU employs many of our own members in support staff roles.  To avoid conflicts of interest, members who are elected trustees cannot be employed by SUSU.  However, we encourage our student support staff to take up positions as elected officers in areas that interest them, being careful to separate out their different roles.

As an employer, we have a duty of care to ensure that all our core and support staff work in an environment that is safe and free from harassment, and we expect our staff to be treated with respect and courtesy at all times.  In exactly the same way, we expect staff to treat members with respect and courtesy.

One of the important steps we take to ensure students can play their part and staff are protected in theirs is to not allow staff to make public comments or have their performance or behaviour discussed publicly, without the express permission of the President and Chief Executive.

Since staff cannot make public comments, they also do not have a right of reply publicly.  In terms of social and other media, this means we expect that issues regarding individual staff or members are raised in the channels mentioned in section 5 below rather than publicly.  If a member is unsure whether a comment is appropriate to raise in our media channels, they should refer to the Media Guidelines.

Members with more than one status

4.                 Students who are staff

As the majority of our support staff are also students and members, we recognise that this may occasionally cause confusion and sometimes tension between what they expect of SUSU as a student and as an employer.  We have tried to cover some of the common areas in the frequently asked questions section below.  We expect support staff to behave in line with their contracts of employment when they are employed by SUSU.  This means not acting in any way which may bring SUSU into disrepute, and remembering that other members may also be customers.  From time to time, such as during elections, we may send out specific guidance about the behaviour we expect so that everyone is clear.

5.                 Staff who are students

Very occasionally, we employ a member of core staff who is also a student at the University of Southampton or a member of core staff may become a student.  Those staff registered on a credit bearing course at the university are automatically full members of the Union.  Similarly to the advice above about core staff involvement in member activities, we expect our core staff to use their common sense and not take positions of leadership or authority in volunteering, or other arenas which may cause conflict between their employment and student status. When this situation arises, the staff member will need to advise Personnel, so we can talk to each other and come to an agreement about the implications of any clashes.

6.                 Sabbatical Officers

Sabbatical Officers are the lead student representatives, “volunteers” and elected officers of the Union. They are defined as full members within the Union’s constitutional documents.  In order to protect their employment status, they are required to have an employment contract, which will guide their relationship with SUSU in relationship to the terms and conditions of their employment.  In every other respect, they will be treated and should behave as full members rather than staff.  However, in the instances where Sabbatical Officers should use employment policies (such as our Staff Grievance Policy), this is made clear.  If in any doubt, they should ask the Chief Executive or President.

7.                 Sharing praise and celebrating success

We know that many staff and students want to congratulate each other but are not always sure of the best way of celebrating or sharing praise.  For students, the best route to congratulate staff on a job well done is either directly to the member of staff concerned or via their Senior Leader who will pass the feedback on.  For staff, the best route to congratulate a student on a great piece of work is through the relevant Student Leader or Sabbatical Officer.  Details of both contacts can be found on our website.  The President remains the key spokesperson for the Union and will generally be the person through whom the Union should make public comments.  We all like to hear and share good news of successes, so we hope that giving clarity on these routes will encourage more contributions.

8.                 Raising concerns and issues

We hope that there are very few occasions when our members or staff have concerns or issues and are unsure where to go for help.  If things aren’t going right, the first route should always be to talk to each other. If the concern cannot be resolved directly, and it is about a member of staff, members should raise their concerns with the relevant Student Leader or Sabbatical, who will investigate the concern and discuss it with the President and Chief Executive or relevant Senior Leader if appropriate.  If the concern is about a member’s behaviour, staff should discuss with their line manager or Senior Leader, who will likewise investigate and discuss it with the Chief Executive and President or relevant Sabbatical Officer.

Core and support staff can also raise issues in confidence via their Staff Forum representative.  Both staff and members can raise serious concerns confidentially through our Whistle-Blowing Policy.  Either way, our intention will always be to try to resolve any issue as quickly and fairly as possible.

We will always aim for the issue to be resolved informally, but if needed, we will use SUSU’s disciplinary or other relevant policies.

Status of this document

For staff, this Agreement should be read in conjunction with your Contract of Employment (although it is not a contractual document), SUSU’s Behaviours and Whistle-Blowing Policy.

For students, this Agreement should be read in conjunction with our Constitution, Policy, Media Guidelines and our Code of Conduct for Volunteers.

Frequently Asked Questions about potentially difficult topics

The intention of this section is provide guidance on specific questions raised by students and staff which will be expanded over time.

  1. As a student staff member, what information can I share about planned acts and events which I learn about through my work?

If you are in any doubt about whether you can share information, it is safest to check with your line manager.  You may encounter commercially sensitive information which would cause SUSU serious problems if it entered the public domain at the wrong time, we are often bound by contractual restrictions for example.

  1. I am really unhappy about the service I received in one of SUSU’s outlets

We aim to give all our customers great service in each of our outlets and if we don’t achieve that, please let our outlet manager know.  You can do this by asking for them direct or leaving a comment.  The sooner you tell us the sooner we can address the issue.

  1. As a student, I am really unhappy about the way a member of staff treated me.  How can I complain?

We suggest the best way forward is to try to resolve the issue directly.  However, if you feel uncomfortable in doing so, you should let the member of staff’s line manager or Senior Leader know your complaint so that they can resolve it.

  1. As a member of staff, students sometimes approach me to ask my personal opinion on political issues such as candidates running for election.  What should I say?

As we’ve explained above, it can be difficult for staff to balance advising students and influencing decision making.  The fine line becomes finer when having a lively and personal political debate and discussing a live political decision in a formal setting. Although it’s become a bit of a cliché, we suggest telling students “we’re happy to work with everyone” is a straightforward answer to the election question.  Simply explaining that as staff our personal opinion is not required in this decision may also work. If you are unsure whether you will be overstepping the mark in expressing an opinion, you could politely decline to answer the question and check with your manager or Senior Leader.

  1. As a member of staff, I have a strong personal view on a political matter and am concerned that students are going to make the wrong decision.  What should I do?

As a student-led organisation, we think it is right that decisions are made by our members.  If you think a student is using inaccurate information or has not considered some of the consequences of their decision, it is fine to point this out but you must allow them to make their own decisions on the facts presented.

  1. I’ve come across a piece of information which I’m really concerned about, but I’m worried what the consequences may be if I raise it.

If you are a member of staff, your first route should always be to report concerns to your manager. For students, you may wish to raise concerns with a Student Leader or Sabbatical Officer. However, our Whistle-Blowing Policy has been created for just these sorts of situations when you may be worried that someone is stealing money, breaching Health and Safety rules or anything else that appears serious and may damage the organisation.

  1. As a member of student staff, I’ve realised I can access some files containing interesting information about my colleagues and other students.

If you’ve been given access to files that you don’t think you should see, your first responsibility is to tell your line manager.  Some student staff may access confidential information as part of their work – if this is the case, your manager will brief you about the responsibilities in seeing this data.  If in any doubt, assume that the data you can access is confidential and must not be shared.

  1. I want to raise an anonymous complaint about something that has happened to me at SUSU.

In general, we prefer not to receive anonymous complaints as it can be very difficult to ensure that we have solved the problem if we can’t discuss the issue with you.  However, there are a few ways that complaints can be raised anonymously.  Staff members can bring concerns to their Staff Forum representative – this is more appropriate for something that might affect several staff rather than individual concerns.  Students could try our Advice Centre for suggestions on the best way to raise issues. Lastly, serious matters can be raised under the Whistle-Blowing Policy. 

  1. I am a member of support staff and one of my friends is running for election.  Can I promote their campaign whilst I’m at work?

In general, when you are at work you may not campaign for yourself or anyone else.  When elections are happening, we will offer specific advice to core and support staff and answer any questions you have. 

  1. As a member of support staff, I have a question about my employment that I want to raise.  How can I do this?

If it’s a question relating to your personal employment contract or terms and conditions, you should ask your manager in the first instance or the Personnel team.  If it’s a question which may affect several support staff members, you could raise it with your Staff Forum representative.

  1. As a member of staff I have read a comment on the internet about me (or my colleague) and my work, what can I do?

You should let your manager, Senior Leader or the Chief Executive know immediately.  They will ensure the President gets the comment moderated in line with this agreement.

  1. As a writer/editor of one of our media, I want to be able to approach a staff member for a comment, can I do that?

All such requests should go to the President, who, with the Chief Executive will decide if that is appropriate or will provide an alternative comment for you.

 

 

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Union Council and the Zone Committees

» 09 May 2013 » In Lapsed Policy, Uncategorized » No Comments

Union Council and the Zone Committees – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P18)

 This Union Notes:

  1. The following extract from Rule 4, ‘Standing Committees’:

“1.1      Union Council will elect 2 councillors to join each Standing Committee.”

  1. Policy 1213P7, which constitutionally restructured the Union’s Standing Committees into Zones, and introduced the following in the new Rule 4, ‘Zones’:

“2.2     All Zone Committees shall be held accountable by Union Council

(a)       Union Council will elect 2 councillors to join each Zone Committee, who will maintain an overview of the Zone’s work on behalf of Union Council.”

  1. That there will be three Sabbatical Officers on each of the new Zone Committees: the Chair, the Union President, and “Another Sabbatical Officer, selected by the Sabbatical Team and appointed by Union Council at its first meeting”.
  2. The feedback from students, Councillors, and former Council representatives on Standing Committees, who defined a good Council representative as:

4.1.                                    Adopting a collaborative and flexible approach.

4.2.                                   Ensuring that the Union’s values are being enacted by the Committee.

4.3.                                   Ensuring the Committee is effective and making progress.

4.4.                                  Offering an outside perspective on the Committee’s work.

4.5.                                   Scrutinising and constructively querying the Committee’s activities.

4.6.                                  Holding the Committee to account at Union Council.

 

This Union Believes:

  1. That the role of Union Council’s representatives on Zone Committees should be more fully specified in the Constitution.
  2. That the informed, considered views of students, Councillors, and former Council representatives on Standing Committees should form the basis of a more fully specified role description for Council’s representatives.
  3. That, as there are 3 positions for Sabbatical Officers on each Zone Committee, they should not also be eligible to represent Council on a Zone Committee.

 

This Union Resolves to Amend Its Rules by:

  1. Deleting Rule 4, ‘Zones’, 2.2.(a):

“Union Council will elect 2 councillors to join each Zone Committee, who will maintain an overview of the Zone’s work on behalf of Union Council.”

And renumbering.

  1. Inserting new Rule 4, ‘Zones’, 2.3:

“2.3     Each Zone Committee will include 2 representatives of Union Council, elected from the Union Councillors and Student Leaders.

(a)       It is the duty of Council’s representatives to work collaboratively to ensure the Zone is enacting the Union’s values and is progressing effectively towards its own aims.

(b)       It is also the duty of Council’s representatives to jointly author and present reports on the Zone’s work to the first Council of the calendar year, and to the final Council of the academic year. These reports are to be in the format recommended by Union Council.

(c)       Representatives should scrutinise and constructively query the work of the Zone. Representatives are also not obliged to attend meetings of standing committees, working groups, and other bodies within the Zone, but should maintain oversight of the entirety of the Zone’s work.”

And renumbering.

  1. Deleting from Rule 4, ‘Zones’, 3.3, 4.3, 5.3, 6.3, 7.3, 8.3, 9.3, 10.3:

“in addition to the 2 councillors”

And inserting:

“in addition to the 2 representatives of Union Council”.

  1. Deleting from Rule 7, ‘Elections’, 7.2.(a):

“Union Councillors on other Union Committees”

And inserting:

“Union Council’s representatives on Zone and other Union Committees”

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We the people A Voice in Your SUSU

» 09 May 2013 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

We the people a voice in your SUSU – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P17)

Union Notes:

1. SUSU is the central body for student representation within Southampton and does its best to engage with students each and every day.

2. SUSU has elected bodies like Union Council to decide policy and make decisions that affect the entire student community here in Southampton

3. A significant number of students remain disengaged with SUSU in part due to a prevailing negative attitude towards the image of cliquism within the union, and a fear of aggressive response when putting forward ideas or attempting to ‘break into’ SUSU politics.

4. The United States of America’s government employs a system by which any American citizen can create a petition. Through use of the dedicated website petitions.whitehouse.gov, citizens can petition about the issues they care about. When a petition reaches the required number of signatures the Obama administration promises to review the proposal, send it to the appropriate expert and then issue an official response.

5. This video – created by the Obama administration – explains how the system works http://youtube/MdcotOjqnVI .

Union Believes:

1. From the Engagement and Involvement Focus – Union council 02 May 2012 AGM (Ref: 1112P15)

The Union Believes

1. That we should “be at the heart of University life, fully engaged with all of our key audiences and supporting our members”.

2. That SUSU can do more to increase its relationships with less engaged students.

3. That SUSU should do more to understand why some students don’t actively get involved with the Students’ Union.

4. SUSU as a union is representative of the entire student body and should reflect its views as best as possible.

Union Resolves:

1. To create an initiative by which students can begin petitions to put forward to SUSU by engaging with student groups and obtaining a list of signatures, either by use of a dedicated webpage on the SUSU website, or through names and/or student id number.

2. If the petition passes an allotted quota within the set time period – for example a figure that numbers 10% of the student body, indicating that 1 in 10 people would like to see the issue addressed – it is taken to SUSU and brought in front of Union council.

3. This policy will allow those outside the union to address the issues they care about, not just those brought up by the elected body. At the same time it is my hope that it will help to bring people into SUSU and show what the student body can achieve by working together on the issues they care most about.

4. Set up a means by which administrators could review pending policies for approval to prevent duplication of issues, and implement a cool down period before an issue can be raised again should it not reach its quota.

 

Union Mandates:

1. That this be work be done by the; Union President, VP Democracy and Creative Industries, VP Engagement, VP Student Communities, Union Council

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Leadership and Representation

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Leadership and Representation – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P16)

Union Notes

  1. That currently, 54% of our members are women.
  2. That since 2007, 38% of our sabbatical team members have been female.
  3. That since  2007, 35% of our Union Councillors have been female.
  4. That 2012’s women’s workshop was a great success, with 100% of attendees rating it ‘very good’.
  5. That Union Council is designed to reflect and represent the membership of SUSU.
  6. That according to the Union Council Review of 2010: “in order to represent everyone’s voice, the day to day running of a SU must be conducted by the decisions of a relatively small number of students who “represent” a larger mass of members”.
  7. That as it stands, places are reserved for specific under-represented groups on Union Council to ensure that those students’ voices are heard.

Union Believes

  1. That we have a responsibility to our members to make SUSU as welcoming and safe as possible.
  2. That there may be invisible barriers to women’s participation.
  3. That the      under-representation of 54% of our members is problematic and is not conducive to a Union that aptly represents its members.
  4. That without action, the problem of under-representation will continue to manifest and that it can’t be fixed by ignoring it.
  5. That as well as immediate action, the problem of women’s under-representation needs to be looked at holistically and long-term to fully understand the barriers to participation.

Union Resolves

  1. To widen the participation of women in SUSU’s democratic processes.
  2. To implement  initiatives that encourage women to engage in SUSU’s politics.
  3. To ensure that our highest decision-making body, Union Council, is as reflective of the gender diversity at SUSU as possible.

Union Mandates

  1. VP Engagement to run a survey aimed at women students to find out why  there might be a lack of participation, if any barriers are faced, and how these barriers might be reduced.
  2. VP Welfare to develop a leadership programme which will encourage students to run in  elections by equipping them with confidence and the necessary skills. This  leadership programme will focus on women students in the first year, and will be available to other under-represented student groups in subsequent  years.
  3. Constitution Committee to ensure that in addition to reflecting student cohorts, the councillor positions listed in Rule 2 Decision      Making, 4.2 e & f, shall reflect the gender diversity of our members.   Each of the cohorts listed in 3.2e will have one position reserved for  each gender, and the councillors listed in 4.2f shall also reflect the membership with 50% of the positions reserved for each gender.

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Renovate Activities Room

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Renovate Activities Room – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P14)

Union Notes:

  1. Used by many clubs, but not as many as Multipurpose Studio due to it’s poor maintenance by SUSU (dirty, broken floor)
  2. SUKDS, Table Tennis, Fencing, Shorinjo Kempo, Karate, belly dance,  salsa etc. all use it at least twice a week
  3. Thus it needs to be suitable for martial arts ,dance clubs and societies
  4. Martial arts studio is only available to those who have Sportrec (a small minority)
  5. The curtains currently in the room only cover less than half of the windows
  6. The activities room is sometimes used as a storage room, for example: Freshers’ welcome packs

Union Believes:

  1. This would increase popularity of martial arts at soton
  2. This would improve soton’s standing as a centre for martial arts
  3. This would ease pressure off room bookings for multipurpose room and would allow a new training space for both martial arts clubs and dance societies
  4. This would provide a SAFER and CLEANER room for training purposes (lower risk assessment)

Union Resolves:

  1. Renovate the floor (soft wood panelling suitable for dance and  martial arts)
  2. Install mirrors like the multipurpose studio
  3. Allow martial arts , dance clubs and societies to use both the multipurpose studio and the renovated activities room
  4. Install new curtains to cover all windows and all mirrors
  5. To not use this multipurpose facility as a place for storage

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AU Clubs and Societies Granting Budget

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AU Clubs and Societies Granting Budget – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P12)

Union Notes:

  1. That we have at least 11, 476 students involved with 20,977 memberships of our student groups which is around 50% of our student body.
  2. Clubs and societies are a core part of union activity and university life.
  3. Taking part in a club or society often carries a financial cost to it.
  4. There has been a significant drop in student numbers at the University this year both at Undergraduate and Post Graduate Level.(http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/sep/06/university-southampton-fall-undergraduate-intake).  This will result in a drop in income of around £100k for the coming years budget.
  5. Point 6.2 of the Union plan states ‘Actively encourage students to be involved in activities which enable them to unlock their full potential in a balanced and responsible manner’
  6. Point 6.4 of the Union plan states ‘. Support our student groups to help them to achieve their aims’.
  7. Point 9.4 of the Union plan states ‘Encourage membership of at least one club or society by every student’

Union Believes:

  1. AU Clubs and societies are at the heart of student life.
  2. SUSU should financially support clubs and societies as much as they can- which is supported throughout the union plan.
  3. No student should be prevented from partaking in a club or society due to financial constraints and by granting clubs and societies money it helps them to keep their membership fees affordable.
  4. AU Clubs and societies should not be held back from fulfilling their core aims by financial constraints.

Union Resolves:

1. To ensure that the maximum amount of funding that is financially sensible for the union is allocated to the AU Clubs and societies budgets.

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Facility Charges

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Facility Charges – 8 May 2013 AGM (1213P11)

IAW UP: In Accordance With Union Plan

 

Union notes

  1. Student Groups actively use a range of facilities within SUSU as part of the programme of events and or activities they run.
  2. SUSU currently does not charge Student Groups for room bookings.
  3. Some Student Groups are regularly charged by SUSU to use some of the facilities that are not included in core room bookings.
  4. The aforementioned charges can be a barrier to Student Groups running events within SUSU.
  5. Currently charges are not clear and easily accessible by all members.

 

Union believes

  1. One of the core aims of SUSU is to support its Student Groups, and hence support events and activities run by such groups. [IAW UP 6.4, 10.2]
  2. The ability of Student Groups to run events within SUSU should not be severely constrained by financial charges faced for the use of SUSU facilities.
  3. Student Groups should not face commercial rates to use SUSU equipment.
  4. Student Groups should be supported financially with the costs faced for the use of SUSU facilities.
  5. The charges faced by Student Groups need to be accountable to ensure they are reasonable.
  6. Charges made for facilities must be transparent and able to stand up to scrutiny.

 

Union resolves

  1. The charges faced by Student Groups should be clear and easily accessible to those planning events.
  2. Charges to Student Groups for the use of SUSU facilities should be kept to a reasonable minimum.
  3. SUSU should seek to reduce the cost of all charges faced by Student Groups.

 

Union mandates

  1. The Student Groups officer will seek to reduce the price of all facility charges.
  2. The Student Groups officer in conjunction with VP Democracy and Creative industries will annually undertake a review of all charges that have been paid by Student Groups for SUSU facilities.
  3. The VP Democracy and Creative industries is to ensure charges for the use of SUSU facilities are made freely available online and updated annually. [IAW UP 10.7]

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Business Ethics Policy

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Union Notes

  1. That after the standing committee review, sustainability  has taken a much bigger role in SUSU with the introduction of the      Sustainability Zone
  2. That sustainability is defined as: “development that  meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future      generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland, 1987)
  3. That in The Union Plan to 2015, two of SUSU’s ten values  are ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’
  4. That in The Union Plan to 2015, we pledge to: “systematically  test the sustainable impact of our events, services and activities –      economically and environmentally, reducing impact where we can”  (18.1)
  5. That SUSU currently has seven policies relating to our  business ethics, which are as follows: ‘No Sweat’ (2007), ‘The Arms Industry and the Students’ Union’ (2009), ‘Fairtrade and Trade Justice’ (2009), ‘Purchasing of Recycled and Environmentally Sensitive Materials’ (2010), ‘Purchasing of Fairly Traded Items’ (2010), ‘Ethical and Environmental Policy Statement’ (2010), ‘Nestlé Boycott’ (2011)
  6. That of these policies, three of them are due to lapse in June and there is duplication between many of them
  7. That SUSU trades with dozens of local, national and international commercial organisations
  8. That our current practise of vetting external organisations is subjective and undemocratic, which leads to a non-consistent approach

Union Believes

  1. That as a charity that claims to be both sustainable and responsible, we should take care to work with external organisations that share      our values
  2. That as a member-led organisation, we have the capacity to make an impact on the world around us
  3. That SUSU should favour an objective scheme for checking the business ethics of any external company that do business with SUSU to      ensure impartiality
  4. That SUSU, as a powerful stakeholder, should open constructive dialogue with businesses so that their ethical practices can be discussed and improved
  5. That SUSU should inform students of poor ethical  practises in businesses and provide information to help them make personal      choices
  6. That a business ethics policy offers SUSU a chance to influence key partners such as the university to adopt a similar scheme

 

Union Resolves

  1. To implement a practice across the whole of SUSU which assesses the corporate social responsibility records of external companies      and organisations
  2. To use an external organisation which independently and impartially audit companies to assist us in making these ethical business      choices
  3. To fully understand the highest priorities of our students when it comes to business ethics and take into account these      priorities when it comes to auditing
  4. To include in the process an opportunity for allowing special dispensation; if the decision is challenged by a student or staff member based upon legitimate circumstances, it can be taken to  Sustainability Zone, or Union Council or Trustee Board if the issue is      particularly contentious
  5. To lapse any current policies which are covered by this holistic approach
  6. To allow for individual policy to over-ride this one in extreme and specific cases
  7. To advertise our suppliers’ ethical rating, as defined by the auditing process, on any labels used to advertise them in commercial spaces.

 

Union Mandates

  1. The Ethics and Environment Committee and the VP Welfare and Communities (the Sustainability Zone and VP Welfare from July 2013) to      roll out an implementation programme with a phased approach by 2015
  2. The Ethics and Environment Committee and the VP Welfare and Communities (the Sustainability Zone and VP Welfare from July 2013) to consult students regarding their priorities with business ethics
  3. The Ethics and Environment Committee and the VP Welfare and Communities (the Sustainability Zone and VP Welfare from July 2013) find an appropriate way to communicate which businesses we accept and reject to students.

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