|4. Minutes from the Previous Meeting: 6th January 2016
4.1 Approval of the Minutes
EW presented the minutes.
JSm raised an issue regarding the action from 5.5 Audited Accounts. He stated that instead of the action being to explore a new tender, that it should read go to tender as this could be misleading. This will be amended for the minutes to ensure that these accurately reflect what was actioned. No other points of accuracy were raised and the minutes were accepted.
4.2 Action List
JS stated that the process for exploring new auditors is covered on the agenda but has been completed.
JS said that he has passed on thanks from the board to the membership team for their hard work and success
JS said that the meeting for no platform group hasn’t occurred yet, but will aim to happen after Easter.
JSm said that the delegation of board powers is covered on the agenda
JS said that the equality and diversity policy was taken to council with no amendments
JS said that the detailed reserves policy from OW and JSm is covered on the agenda.
JS stated that he had been in conversation with Vanilla about coaching options that are suited to us and there will be a proposal coming to a future board meeting
5. Items for Discussion
5.1 Strategic Plan 2016-2020
JS presented a proposal for the new strategic plan and talked through what has happened since the board meeting in January.
JS stated that there had been a continual programme of membership research
JS stated that there was some extensive support and consultation from NUS in order to help form the strategy draft.
JS stated that the paper has a proposed vision and mission, example values and key themes and topline objectives and KPI’s.
JS stated that this is a draft but to be mindful of a tight timeline in order to get to July 1st as a launch date.
JS stated that as well as the questions posed within the paper, there is a further question around whether the timeline proposed is appropriate.
JD raised a question about language and whether innovative was the appropriate word within the vision. It was agreed that there could be more suitable words instead of this and it is worth exploring options, as this was the most debated word within the vision.
It was agreed that language discussions could take place outside of the meeting and that this discussion would be used to discuss the themes and concept of the strategy in depth.
MW asked as this is a plan for up to 2020, how would the plan measure success and what would success look like within this plan.
JS stated that the key themes and issues have come directly from students and the research undertaken and success would come from key areas within education such as affordability and equality of assessment within their education.
The strategic plan wants to ensure that we address and balance the inequalities that students struggle with as well as hitting key target areas within community development and strong representation.
JSm asked whether there would be KPI’s added to support this. JS stated that there are topline objectives here and it would be for the board to decide whether they would like to 4 year KPI’s or rolling 1 year KPI’s alongside an operational plan in order to measure success here.
JS stated that there will be changes and we want to make sure that the university could see a clear direction from the union and ensure that they are confident with our direction. JS reaffirmed that the board is approving the direction and key areas and then changes can be made.
JSm said that it is fine for the sabbs and JS to discuss themes and ensure that they are relevant to our student body.
JSm commented upon the vision and mission. JSm stated that the mission could be reworded. JS said that we didn’t want a generic mission and wanted one that felt tailored to our students and the officers felt that this mission is tailored to our students.
JSm stated that the vision was very good, but needs some parts added to it in order to reflect direction by 2020.
MW stated that the values could be refined down. JS said that there is an exercise that could be repeated with the board in May that fine tunes our values and what they are for our strategy.
JSm stated that some of the values could be moved into the mission.
OW said that is vital that returning officers are excited by the new strategy. EW stated that the vision and mission was the exciting element to the strategy. OW said that the middle of the vision need rewording but the beginning and the end were very good.
OW also reminded officers that they need to ensure that their priorities are clearly inputted into the themes. JS also asked whether the length of the plan might lead to reduced flexibility for officers and their priorities.
It was felt that officers in subsequent years will still have the opportunity to feed in priorities from their manifestos within the themes.
It was agreed that four years was the right length of time in order to meet the ambitious strategy.
It was discussed about meeting the university and it was agreed that OW and CL would attend the meeting with the university Vice Chancellor to present the new strategy.
It was agreed that there would be a board meeting in May to solely discuss the strategy.
JS also put on record that the officer trustees have taken a very active lead in developing the strategy
5.2a Income Generation Presentation
E Wood gave a presentation which outlined some key themes and areas that the union will aim to be focussing on the next four years.
The four key themes are;
· Significantly improve income generated from advertising and sponsorship by working with local, national and international businesses
· Refresh and modernise our traditional methods of income in order to become a sustainable organisation
· Support students with their own business and enterprise ideas and to generate income for the union
· Partner with local grant making organisations to fund key union member led projects.
OW commented that the aims were good and very broad. OW asked what the top three priorities were for the organisation.
E Wood commented that we need to look at ways to make money quickly and said would look at fewer but larger events that meet the fundraising criteria.
E Wood also stated that diversifying the merchandise stream was important.
E Wood also said that one of the bigger ones was income and sponsorship as a big growth area.
E Wood also commented that there added extras that the union doesn’t offer during Freshers that provides additional advertising opportunities i.e Wallplanners etc
JSm commented that, alongside the rebrand, presented the opportunities to remind students that every penny of money spent goes back into union activities rather than coming across as trying to make money for no reason.
The board agreed with those priorities for income generation and supported the quick successes.
b) The future of Income Generation (SEE CONFIDENTIAL MINUTE)
5.3 People Strategy Principles
JS presented the document following the last board meeting proposal around talent management and supporting our staff.
JS asked the board to approve this.
OW commented that the best people strategy looks at how to recruit good people and how to develop them.
5.4 Delegation of Trustee Board Powers
JSm presented a document outlining the requirements the board has and ensuring a clear discussion between where responsibility lies between the board and the CEO.
JSm stated the actions are
– When minutes come back from sub committees that the chair gives a quick summary of what happened at the last meeting.
– Ensure that we have set up committees for appointments committee, audit, finance and risk committee and remuneration and HR committee by the June board
The board approved these actions and recommendations for JS and the committee chairs.
a) External Audit Providers
JS stated that following the last meeting, a tender process has been conducted. 3 members of audit, finance and risk committee were on the panel and they recommended Kingston Smith as a new audit provider for us.
This was recommended to the AGM and has been approved by the membership. This will start with them auditing 2016/17.
CL explained that the panel felt that they would offer increased support for the organisation. JSm explained they offered increased recommendations and that they had extensive students’ union experience, particularly in relation to charity registration and guidance. CL also stated that they are an NUS approved provider for audit services.
JSm would also like to put on record thanks to JS and Janet Bell(Finance Manager) for their help during the audit process.
b) Finance Review
JS recirculated the paper from CounterCulture that was circulated via email.
The board put on your record a thanks to CounterCulture for this work.
JSm asked whether the contract issue within 9.1 of the report had been dealt with. JS said that it has been.
5.6 Reserves Policy
OW and JSm presented a paper following the action to form a detailed reserves policy that will go into the constitution.
There is one proposed change that the reserve policy will be monitored regularly by the UCASU executive team. This was agreed by the board.
OW said the main thing here was that we settled on three months operating costs as an appropriate level for the reserves. JS asked what the plan is regarding utilising the difference in income. OW said the next step is that we should get the reserves back from the university.
The board approved the reserves policy with the amendments.
5.7 Elections and Governance Update
JS provided an update to say that we had a turnout of 930 students in the election, a turnout of just under 16%. This doubled our voter turnout from previous years and showed a significant increase on the number of candidates.
The board asked JS to pass on their thanks to all staff involved.
JS also informed the board that the governance structure was passed through a referendum.
JS also confirmed to the board that the elections were ruled as free and fair by the returning officer.
5.8 EU Referendum Guidance
JS presented some guidance regarding the EU referendum for students unions from NUS.
JD asked whether it can be clarified with students who can vote in the EU referendum.
The trustees clarified that it is best for us to run a register to vote campaign, and ensure that we do not take a position as a union for Yes or No. Resources can be committed to a voter registration campaign but not towards anything that means we take a position on the referendum as a union.
6. Standing Items
6.1 Strategy Update – KPI Grid
JS updated the KPI grid for the board. JS highlighted that we had some key successes within elections and our democracy.
JS informed that we have engaged 180 students within Creative Opportunities
JS informed that the rebrand process has begun and we are aiming for A-Level results day.
JSm asked if there are any were any updates on the grid. JS said nothing significant on here.
6.2 Staffing Update
JS reported no major staffing updates of note for this meeting
6.3 Charity Registration Status
JS confirmed that the charity registration had been completed as of February 20th 2016.
7. Standing Items
7.1 Sabbatical Officer Reports
EW asked the reports to be taken as read.
JSm commented that if it is possible for the board to see an update of student council highlights.
7.2 Chief Executive Report
JS presented the report. One item that hasn’t been covered in the agenda is the proposal to move offices within Farnham and Epsom to a more prominent space on each campus.
7.3 Management Accounts – Jan 2016
JS presented the management accounts and have already been approved by Audit, Finance and Risk.
JS informed the board that the management accounts are arriving on time and the board welcomed that.
OW asked if there is current plans to rationalise the budget lines that aren’t used. JS said there will be as part of the new budget planning process.
7.4 Minutes from Sub Committee
EW asked if there were any comments on the sub committees. OW raised from AOB in Audit, Finance and Risk what plans were in place regarding pension auto-enrolment. JS said that he is meeting with Janet Bell on Tuesday morning to discuss this in more depth.
JS reminded the board that it has to be ready for July 1st staging date.
JSm asked from Clubs and Societies Committee, whether there has been any updates regarding a proposal for criteria for allocation of fair funds in accordance with the Education Act.
8. Any other Business
EW raised an action for JS to work with other sabbs on a proposal to work on looking at increasing sabbatical wages in line with Living costs and acceptable levels..
JS raised that the board need to authorise either SD or EW to be on the bank mandate. This was approved by the board.
9. Date and Time of next meeting
Will be circulated via email but there will be a strategy only meeting in May and a full board with new trustees in June.