Changes to Karnival activity

Statement from the University of Nottingham Students’ Union Trustee Board.

Last year Karnival went through changes in response to The Charities Act and new fundraising legislation. Changes were made to the processes and safeguarding requirements to protect not only those who carry out fundraising activities, but those people Karnival come into contact with as part of those activities. Karnival being reinstated last year was on the condition that they followed safeguarding policies.

Following an investigation in to Karnival RAG Raids the Students’ Union and the Karnival Executive Committee are taking action to resolve serious concerns over compliance with safeguarding and health and safety requirements associated with their activities, as required by the Charities Act. The investigation found that the systems put in place had not been followed, and safeguarding requirements, as set out for all student groups, were not fulfilled on numerous occasions.

With the breaches to the safeguarding and health and safely policies and the potential risks, the Chief Executive, supported by the Board of Trustees, has ceased RAG Raids.


Ismail Sadurdeen, Chair of Trustees and the Students’ Union President said:

“The safety of our students is paramount and in the event of something happening on any of our activities we need to be confident that we’ve followed all safeguarding checks.

The failures and learnings have been identified and the Karnival Executive Committee and the  Students’ Union Officers and staff are now working together to review and improve the training, support and the policies for all Karnival activity.”


The Karnival Executive Committee commented:

“While the news that RAG raids will cease comes as a huge disappointment to us all, we are now looking forward to the future and are working to improve and expand Karnival. We aim to develop a more sustainable model for our group that includes activities that can engage more students than ever.”


Karnival continues to make a huge contribution to many charities through its fundraising activities and to the local Nottingham community through its volunteering activities, as well as being a significant part of a great student experience for those who get involved. The Karnival Executive Committee thank the charities who they partner with and look forward to redeveloping and continuing the relationships. The volunteering activities that Karnival support and lead on, such as Kontact, will continue with the support of the Students’ Union Volunteer team. 

For further information take a look at the FAQs below.


Why now?

This action is a direct response to allegations made against two specific halls in relation to Karnival RAG Raids that took place in the first semester of 2016. These allegations were received towards the end of November 2016 meaning that the investigation was limited in being able to gather evidence and information due to coursework deadlines, the vacation period, and the January exam period. The Students’ Union has looked to resolve this matter is as timely a manner as possible – both allowing time for a full investigation and discussion with all parties as to what the outcomes of the investigation are and how we move forward on the matter.

What are the details of the investigation?

The details of the investigation and the halls involved is confidential.

Is Karnival being closed?

Karnival is not closing, but the RAG Raids are stopping. The Committee are being supported by Officers and staff to develop a new offer for students.

What is the role of the Karnival Director and Executive Committee?

Both the Director and Executive Committee will be part of developing the new offer that will be reflective of the values and behaviours of the Union.

What is the planned timescale for activity?

A project team will agree an action plan and timescale for the changes and improvements to the events.

What changes happened to Karnival last year?

The Charities Act and fundraising legislation was updated which meant that there were changes to Karnival’s processes

Primarily, the Act imposed more controls over the relationship between charities and organisations that raise funds on their behalf (i.e. Students’ Union). This affected Karnival in a number of ways – both as a fundraising body in its own right (as part of the Students’ Union’s charitable status), and acting as a partner for other charities to fundraise on that charity’s behalf.

The Act is ensured that we have clear arrangements with charities, and that we have our own code of practice that follows the Charity Commission guidelines, the Fundraising Standards Association regulations and the Charities Act Legislation.

The other key element of the Charities Act that we needed to ensure that we met fully is around safeguarding of not only those who carry out fundraising activities, but those people we come into contact with as part of those activities.  

What is the role of the Trustee Board?

The Trustee Board has ultimate responsibility under Charity Law for ensuring the affairs of the University of Nottingham Students’ Union are solvent, well-run, and delivering its charitable objects. The Board is responsible for monitoring activities – ensuring the charity operates within its legal obligations. It has a specific duty to safeguard the Union which includes considering and taking appropriate action related to any legal, financial, and/or reputational risks.

The role of the Board of Trustees is separate to the democratic structure, which includes our Union Council, Democratic Procedures Committee and Scrutiny Panel.

Who sits on Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees comprises of four Sabbatical Officers (with the SU President as Chair), up to four students (who are not Sabbatical Officers) and four external representatives/lay trustees (who are not students).


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