What on earth is a Trustee board?
Transparency is a word that’s used very often, especially during elections. Coincidentally at last week’s Trustee Board on 17 March we discussed how we can best share with you, what we discuss and the decisions we make to enhance your student experience.
Many of you may not even know there is a Trustee Board or what it does, so it’s time we shed some light; here goes!
Trustee Boards – what are they?
Your Students’ Union is a charity. We have a trustee board made up of four Officers who are trustees, four student trustees and four lay (or external) trustees who have business and commercial experience, the CEO is also in attendance and the President is the Chair of Trustees.
The Trustee Board is answerable to the Charity Commission of the UK. The trustees oversee that our charitable aims are fulfilled, that we are investing/spending our resources wisely and to make sure we continue in the long run, strategic planning.
The Trustee Board is the highest decision making body and aims to take account of all the student democratic decisions. Sometimes it has to make a different decision to protect the Union, that could be due to financial, legal or reputational risks.
All Trustee Board decisions are made in the best interest of the student’s in mind and in order to help make decisions trustees receive detailed information on student feedback and progress reports. Every decision is backed up by strong insight and data. We also get advice from the CEO, staff members, Charity Commission, Consultants and the NUS when needed.
The following is a snapshot of the things we talked about at the 44th Trustee Board meeting which took place on 17 March.
How are we doing - Every meeting we check out how we are doing against the SU strategy. We talk about the highlights/lowlights and look at where more action may be needed. This time we talked a lot about the experience for international students. We want to do more to support international students, to help you feel at home and enjoy your time studying in the UK. We piloted a new Global Buddy Scheme this semester which aims to help international students settle in quickly. The Trustee Board agreed we would look at whether we can upscale this for all newly arriving international students for Welcome 2017.
Strategy - We’re nearly at the end of the current strategy. We started planning how we will decide what should be in the next. The first thing we’ll be doing is checking out what you value, what you want to see, what would be even better if we did something different/more. We will do that in the summer term and next autumn so watch this space. The trustee board signed off the process we will follow to develop the new strategy.
Student Café – We had a fantastic discussion about the possibility of your Union launching a new student café in Portland which would also offer lots of student staff opportunities. The Trustee Board was asked for £40,000 funding to allow us to get it off the ground, and they said Yes! You will hear more about that very soon from Becky, your Activities Officer, and on Students' Union social media channels next term.
Student Wellbeing – we know that you face a lot of challenges while at university. We started exploring how your Union can help more, and gave support to some work next term to sort out a plan. The discussion was facilitated by your current Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer, Katie Leach. This is a top priority for us to talk about at the June Trustee Meeting and in the new strategy.
Sharing our story – Your Union is a community of all 33,000 students. This community does amazing things – whether that is individual students, societies, student groups, Officers or Union staff, there are so many things going on - but we don’t often stop to reflect. The Trustee Board wants to talk more about how your Union is really making a difference to your experience at the University of Nottingham. We are working on how to do this better. Here are two easy ways to get started if you want to know more about the work of your Union and its benefit. Check out uonsu-success.co.uk where there are lots of stories from students and student groups. If you've been involved in something amazing, tell us and nominate yourself to be part of ‘Nottingham’s Inspirational Students’ - surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Nottingham-Inspiration.
Of course we discussed these in detail, but we thought this will give you a quick overview of what the trustee board is and some of the things we talk about.
If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch!
Chair of Trustee Board and SU President
P.S – Very soon we will be updating our website to include a snapshot of meetings that have taken place, bio and pictures of the trustee and also an ‘ask a trustee a question’ feature.