Tally Kerr

Vice President Communications

tally2.kerr@northumbria.ac.uk  

Trustees - March 2017

This board meeting definitely came around quickly!

The minutes of the December meeting were approved; we will be interviewing for an external member to sit on Audit and Risk Committee, we’re currently interviewing for a new External Trustee, and we’re writing a new Safeguarding Policy. We noted that society committees have been receiving training regarding sexual consent and safeguarding which will be continued next year and extended to cover projects that most need it.

Incorporation Referendum

We also approved the minutes of the Emergency Meeting we had on the 17th February. At this meeting we approved the method of carrying out the referendum for the SU to incorporate as a charitable company which took place during the elections week this year. The referendum results achieved approval of members for the SU to incorporate with 1339 students voting ‘yes’. The university is happy with the proposed articles that were voted on so the new company will be set up asap, with us hopefully transferring on the 1st August. The biggest change as a result of this will be our name on forms used by contractors. The Union will remain a charity with the same objectives and student led decision making.

Potential upcoming risks

A recent risk identified is the lower voter turnout of 2,734, which is down 23% compared to last year; this may reduce our legitimacy in the eyes of the university or external parties, especially if this continues as a trend, and we will be reviewing this soon.

We also raised questions around the value for money of affiliating with NUS as it has taken a long time to improve its governing structure. Included in this issue is the value of the purchasing consortium though NUS as sometimes we’re able to secure the same or better deals by going directly to suppliers, but we would be able to purchase through a different consortium and remain a member of NUS.

In 2018 there will also be new Data Protection Regulations which could risk the university withholding student data from us. This would have a huge impact on students knowing what we offer in the SU and engagement with our services and activities as well as rep recruitment. NUS is Lobbying Universities UK to issue guidance to all universities to allow their Students’ Unions to continue to have access to student data for communication purposes.

Safer Drugs Policy

Matt’s manifesto point about Safer Drugs Policy was brought to Trustees due to potential reputational risk around the distribution of drugs testing kits. He noted that it will not be glamorising or condoning drug use, and no ‘tips’ or paraphernalia will be distributed with the kits. It was also suggested that we work with the city council on their DANCE Campaign which he is happy to run alongside the testing kits (more info can be found here - http://www.hiwecanhelp.com/safer-using/dance-not-chance.aspx). There will be a nominal charge on the kits so we are able to monitor usage and deliberately conservative branding so there is no appearance of encouraging drug use from these kits. These kits don’t test for purity of drugs, simply for adulterants so that students can make informed decisions on whether to take the drug or not and the information can be provided to health professionals if there’s any issues. If you have any questions regarding this, email m.auden@northumbria.ac.uk

Coach Lane updates

As this meeting took place at Coach Lane we had an update from Chrissy about the change of coach lane intake to a single intake in September, in line with the rest of campus. It’s predicted that this will result in a lower age demographic at coach lane and could lead to more professional suitability cases and other welfare issues. This change in the structure of the academic year could also lead to lower engagement with the SU due and difficulties with the shop and café due to less people on campus at the same time.

I hope this has been useful in some way. The minutes of this meeting will be available for anyone to view after they are approved at the next Board of Trustees meeting. If you’d like to get more involved in our democratic processes, you can come to Student Exec as an Observer on the 14th March. If you have any questions about the Board of Trustees or Student Exec, please direct them to Adam Crawley at a.crawley@northumbria.ac.uk 

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