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Organisation Strategy

uea(su) - An organisation to support our ambitions

The Context

The SU now has good processes and management, a strong team of staff, volunteer and officers and a stable financial model. However we’re still heavily leveraged on our trading activity, our corporate governance isn’t open and involving enough, and our staff are telling us that their wellbeing and training and development needs are not being fully met. We also need to ensure that we’re keeping up with the latest developments in IT to ensure we are being as efficient and engaging as possible.

Our ambitions:

  • We will have great stats- We will be top ten in the National Student Survey for Students’ Union Satisfaction, and we’ll have an outstanding grade in the Students’ Union Quality Mark.

In 2016-17

  • We completed additional building work to improve the accessibility of Union House, refurbished key areas to ensure the building always looks “Brand New” and embedded work on NUS’ Green Impact scheme on waste, travel, procurement, biodiversity, and energy use.
  • We developed and agreed an SU wide staff wellbeing plan improving happiness and improving social opportunities for staff, introduced quarterly performance reviews to improve feedback from managers, and invested in management development at all levels of the organisation.

In 2017-18

  • Business intelligence, data and systems will be a key focus for the year- we’ll improve the connections between our systems, drive efficiencies in financial processing, enhance use of feedback to move toward “real time” response and commission work on developing data insights for decision makers across our social enterprises and charity operations.
  • We’ll develop a new digital focussed comms strategy- improving understanding of the SU amongst members, trialling ways to treat students as active insiders, and getting positive proactive PR into the student and wider communities. We’ll also pilot a new staff ownership scheme for IT procurement and introduce new tools for collaboration, social networking, project management, and task management for staff.
  • We’ll take our work on Student Staff to the next level- employing more students to further improve the student-career staff balance, introducing new student managers across the organisation, developing our terms conditions and training around student needs and striking a major new partnership with the Trade Union movement on rights at work.
  • We’ll further enhance our work on wellbeing- supporting the wellbeing champions scheme, reviewing HR practices to reduce stress, improving teamwork across the organisation, working to improve social opportunities in partnership with key UEA departments and making a major investment into flexible resilience development for all our career and student staff.
  • We’ll take a lead role in driving partnerships between SUs- developing new types of learning and development experiences for officers, acting as the delivery partner on a new skills sharing partnership between SU managers, and asking all departments to help facilitate the sharing of expertise, resources and ideas with other SUs.

In 2018-20 we’ll go further:

  • We’ll carry out a comprehensive corporate Governance review that seeks to emphasize our role as a co-operative, mutual democracy and improves input from students and external volunteers.
  • We’ll invest in training and development for all career and student staff, with all enrolling in Personal Development Plans.
  • We’ll secure facilities for students in the City and develop a programme of work that ensures our services are accessible off campus.
  • And we’ll review performance against the revised Part Two of the SU quality model and improve our Governance, Communications, Relationships, Engagement, Leadership and Management in the process.

The impact

  • We will have achieved a placing in the top 10% of UK students’ unions as measured by the National Student Survey (Now- 2nd Quartile[1])
  • We will retain an 80% staff engagement score in annual research (Now- 71%)[2]
  • We will have secured and retained an “excellent” grade in the Quality Students’ Unions scheme (Now- “Very Good”) and we’ll be a “Gold” Green Impact and Best Bar None Union (Now- “Good” and “Working Towards” respectively)[3]
  • We will reach a student:career staff salary ratio of 65% (Now- 54.5%)[4]

Underpinning plans that enable the SU to transform

As well as this strategy, there’s a bunch of underpinning plans that our Trustee Board review at each meeting that help us to transform. They look specifically at our Corporate Governance, Communications & Relationships, Finance, People, Building & Facilities and Equality & Diversity.

This year we will rationalise, simplify and these as well as improving student and staff involvement in their design and delivery. We’ll also introduce a defined annual cycle so that students and staff know how the SU works and when/how it makes decisions, and we’ll develop new ways for students to get involved with the development of our ongoing strategy.

[1] NSS 2016 Question 23

[2] UEASU employee engagement survey 2017, % agree “I would wholeheartedly recommend this organisation as a good place to work”

[3] QSU Report Summer 2016; Green Impact assessment June 2017; Best Bar None assessment 2016

[4] 15/16 UEASU Audited Accounts