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OUR MISSION Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students

OUR VISION DSU will be an innovative Students’ Union, enabling all students to participate fully in the academic and social life of Durham University. We will be a sustainable organisation which prioritises our members’ needs, and will be considered an asset to Durham student life.


We are committed to providing equal opportunities to all our members, to ensure that any activity or service provided by the Union is open to all.


We strive to ensure that the institution has a secure and sustainable future, one with a clear statement of purpose and long-term vision.


We reflect the aspirations of out student body and our parent institution. At all times, and in all things, we will establish ourselves as an organisation that befits our membership.


As an institution, we look to our students and staff to input on our decisions and to share our vision and purpose.


Our student officers and staff are committed to establishing and maintaining strong and effective working relationships with the University and the Common Rooms and other external partners who may benefit our members.


All the business carried out by the Students Union shall be under the aegis of the student body, with appropriate advice and support provided by professional staff.

Design: Cover Photo: kaysgeog at flickr

Chairman’s Foreword


President’s Welcome




Representation and Democracy


Academic Representation


Welfare Representation


Activities & Societies




DUCK & the Community


Dunelm House

19 Staffing Management & Charity Commission 20

Financial Report


The Future



Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012 03

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.


Last year’s foreword was something of a ‘catching-up’ exercise, so this year, having already given serial readers a little background as the work of the Board, I can be more brief. Firstly let me say how delighted we are that the President and his team have been able to continue with the precedent set by his predecessor of producing this account of ourselves before the end of the year when all is forgotten by the time the new academic year comes around. After some time and not without difficulty, we were finally able to appoint a Chief Executive Officer to lead the organisation as we moved formally into registered charitable status as a company limited by guarantee at arm’s length from our patrons, the University with which of course we continue to have close ties as our principal funder. We believe we now have the right person to lead DSU and turn it into a ‘fit for purpose’ union, alongside the very best. As you know, we have had to reduce our lossmaking commercial activities, most particularly the ‘club nights’ whilst ensuring good alternatives are available for students to enjoy. This has been disappointing for many we realise, but has enabled us to start to live within our


means, in recognition of which we have been rewarded with additional grant by the University to invest in our core function of representing you, our members. I would like to thank our latest co-opted Trustee, Rudolph Stewart for taking the chair of our Finance Committee and longest-standing, Rob George for chairing the DUCK Committee so ably. We welcome our latest addition to the DSU fold, Durham Student Theatre, and trust this fine body of thespians goes from strength to strength just as DUCK has, about which readers will find more inside this report. The Board, with support, and following extensive research amongst students, is now working on a strategy for the next three years or so to really engage with all students and help to meet their needs. This should ensure that the redevelopment of Dunelm House provides the facilities that can meet those needs, although regrettably much investment is required simply in ‘behind the scenes’ works to the fabric of the building and its mechanical/electrical services from which students will derive little tangible benefit in terms of improved functional suitability.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

We believe we now have the right person to lead DSU and turn it into a ‘fit for purpose’ union, alongside the very best.

At last I think we are able to see how Dunelm House may be given the very substantial upgrading it so clearly requires. Unfortunately, rather like a major roadwidening exercise, it will mean considerable disruption for users over an extended period (potentially at least a whole generation of students) before the benefits are reaped. We do appreciate how unfair this is on those affected, but we have no choice and we shall be doing our utmost to keep as much as possible going in the meantime, concentrating the work outside term-time insofar as can be achieved. All it needs now is for the University finally to commit the necessary resources. I realise that this is not the best time to be looking for a large financial commitment, but the Board will continue to campaign tirelessly for the project on your behalf; I suspect the University considers me a little churlish over what it is already doing for us in my perpetual nagging for this scheme!

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Finally, I would like to express our appreciation for the support we have received from the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Anthony Forster since the VC, Chris Higgins, asked him to be our champion within the University and to wish him well in his future role – our loss is the gain of Essex University and its student body.

Andrew Young Chair of DSU Trustee Board 05

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

PRESIDENT’S WELCOME Welcome to Durham Students’ Union Annual report detailing some of our achievements over the past twelve months, which I am proud to say have been numerous. None of our achievements can be realised alone and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hours of dedication that staff and students have put into this Union. I would like to thank the previous DSU Officers, who over the past three years have helped, along with the Trustees, to deliver transformational change in the relationship with the University and students, to ensure that representation and delivering for our students needs are at the forefront of our principles. It has been my pleasure to ensure that our attention has been refocused around representation and membership services, and the pragmatic steps taken over the last twelve months have dramatically shifted us forward for both the short and long-term challenges. I will not apologise for allowing some local and national issues to slip through the net and that is because I am proud to say that we have prioritised restructuring the Union; guaranteeing students are at the heart of the system. There are significant challenges ahead, particularly in ensuring students are ever better represented and their needs met to secure for students at Durham University the world-class student experience that they have earned and are paying for.

This Union is more than one sabbatical or staff team, more than one set of NSS results and more than one cycle of students. This is a Union that has seen hundreds of thousands of students pass through as members and will continue to do so for centuries to come. Now, throughout this report I celebrate the achievements of the past twelve months, yet I feel it is also a timely moment to look towards a future. A future with students at our Union’s heart. A future where DSU will be leading on the national scene in 2015. A future where taught postgraduate fees of £6,000 and undergraduate fees of £9,000 means that students are even greater stakeholders in their University. With this in mind, the role of DSU within the University Executive structures needs better recognition so we can move forward in the best interests of all. Mike King President, Acedemic Year 2011-2012

Reflecting on a year that for me still has two months of work remaining is premature; however, our Union needs to start looking beyond two months and even beyond the next year.

This is a Union that has seen hundreds of thousands of students pass through as members and will continue to do so for centuries to come.


Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

REPRESENTATION AND DEMOCRACY The past two years have seen a remarkable shift in the student landscape; in the wants and needs from University and as well as the Students’ Union. DSU recognises the need to prioritise training, development programs and opportunities to gain experiences outside of the academic environment and we are grateful to the University for supporting us in our quest to improve services to members and the quality of their representation. DSU places excellence on representation and service through emphasis on engagement. We have created an embedded culture of evidence-based campaigning. This year the majority of our student wins have been through planning, lobbying and debating behind the scenes that continue to ensure that students’ voices are heard in the correct places. Durham Students’ Union sits in the unique position of being able to unite the students of Durham in any cross-campus activities. We should be proud of our union, it provides students with a voice and not only that, a voice which the university and the wider community listen to.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Constitutional Changes DSU membership needs more effective representation and a review of our constitution is currently being undertaken ahead of implementation in 2012/13. The key aspect of the new constitution is a revised system for student representation to ensure that all students at Durham are represented in our primary decision-making body, Assembly. The new three tier system will allow for policy to be formed and implemented more easily than in the past with each specialist committee given a remit and resources such as a staff member, a DSU Officer and a Chair to champion each committee’s issues. These specialist committees will feed into a Zone made up of representatives from the specialist committees. The Zone will then report into our student Assembly who will pass both specific policy and discuss and resolve student issues. 07

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

This year the majority of our student wins have been through planning, lobbying and debating behind the scenes that continue to ensure that students’ voices are heard in the correct places.

Democracy This year we recorded the highest election turn-out in twenty years with 24.8% of the membership voting in our sabbatical officer elections. The officers for 2012/13 are President - Archie Dallas (Trev’s), Educaton and Welfare Officer - Jenny James(Collingwood), Societies and Student Development Officer - Jim Elliott (Mildert), DUCK Officer - Carmen O’Loughlin (Trev’s ). Aldwych Group Now that Durham is joining the Russell Group we will become members of the Aldwych Group from October 2012. This is an opportunity to lobby nationally as well as locally enhance our block grant, in line with other unions in this group.

DSU continues to increase its engagement with NUS and make use of its resources. DSU attended the NUS Zone Conference for Higher Education in October, specifically focusing on issues that affect the study and development of students at university. DSU was rewarded for all our hard work this year when we were shortlisted by NUS for the most improved Students Union in the internationalisation awards. As well as this, DSU attended the Postgraduate Conference, the Black Conference, the Living Wage Master Class, Activism Conference, Course Rep Conference, Student Led Teaching Conference, Active Political Leadership and many more.

NUS At NUS National Conference 2012 NUS delegates voted in favour of organising a national demonstration this autumn against soaring student debt, tuition fees and education cuts. It is clear that the Higher Education sector is undergoing dramatic changes and it is important that we continue to defend and extend the rights of all students. DSU will continue to fight for a Higher Education sector where students are placed at the heart.

DSU will continue to fight for a Higher Education sector where students are placed at the heart.


Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

ACADEMIC REPRESENTATION Communication After the University agreed to increase our block grant we were able to employ an Academic Representation Coordinator (ARC) that allowed DSU to facilitate the course representative system across all Postgraduate and Undergraduate courses. This additional staff support enabled us to introduce the “Course Rep Tool.” This tool has facilitated communication across all areas of academic representation, allowing course representatives to contact faculty reps and vice versa, making communication between course representatives, the ARC and the Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) far more efficient. The tool has now undergone a full years testing and will be launched and publicised at the Annual Course Rep Conference in October 2012 with the intention of increasing usage of the tool. Training Training this year was attended by over 350 course representatives out of a possible 450. In addition to this, the ARC organised further training sessions throughout the first term resulting in the additional 100 course representatives receiving further training. Faculty Forums Organising events such as Faculty Forums this year has improved communication between course representative and their faculty representatives. This allowed us to identify faculty wide issues early and work with the University on such issues. Additionally, course representatives received invitations throughout the year to focus groups with the Deputy Vice Chancellor in both Durham and Queen’s Campus, allowing them to speak directly about their views on education and then have the DVC champion the issues facing students at the coal face.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Student-Led Teaching Awards Having an ARC meant that DSU was able to launch the Student-Led Teaching Award Scheme. Within weeks we had over 450 nominations for five awards. We gave awards for Best Lecturer, Personal Development, Assessment & Feedback, Best Supervisor and Central/ Professional Support at the DSU Annual Awards Dinner 2012. Running projects such as The Student Led Teaching Awards increased engagement of course representatives and students by allowing the course representatives to take ownership and execute a project which involved their fellow students. The training, contact and engagement with students across all faculties has been transformed by having the ARC in post and as we move towards an evidence-based representative Union the central role that additional membership services staff will play is vital. Accreditation Work began this year to develop a full role description for Course and Faculty Representatives. On the back of this the University are looking into accrediting Course Representatives that meet the role description using the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). Work is still ongoing and the accreditation scheme will enhance the importance of becoming a course representative. The Year Ahead DSU overhauled the current model of course and faculty representation earlier this year which was then agreed by the Education Committee in March. From October 2012 students will be much more aware of the role of a Course Representative and how to contact them. This will be accomplished through a large scale publicity campaign. 09

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

Work will begin next year to develop an election tool which will ensure that all elections are fair, transparent and democratic.

Training will be enhanced from a one hour session to a full day conference with an online training module for those students who are unable to attend. In addition, work will begin next year to develop an election tool which will ensure that all elections are fair, transparent and democratic. DSU would give the future for academic representation A*AA.

The Quality Assurance Agency This year DSU has taken an active role in engaging with the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The Education & Welfare Officer was appointed to the Student Sounding Board in October 2011 and has subsequently attended a number of consultation exercises with the QAA executive. The EWO has been focusing on the following areas:

Statement of Responsibility for University Members In the spring of 2010, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills established a joint working group with Universities UK and the NUS to consider current and best practice in the use of student charters by HEIs and ‘to develop an outline student charter which can be used to inform a new basic standard and develop good practice across all English HEIs’. This group reported in March 2011, recommending that ‘each HEI should have a Student Charter – or similar high level statement – to set out the mutual expectations of universities and students’. Following the report’s publication the Minister of State for Higher Education urged those HEIs that did not already have a Student Charter to use the report to develop such a Charter.

• Creating student guidance on quality assurance • Where should student engagement at QAA pitch itself? • Feedback and development of the Quality Roadmap • The Student Engagement Chapter of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education • Course reps and training • Risk Based Quality

The President and Education & Welfare Officer worked closely with University staff earlier this year to develop a Statement of Responsibility (SoR) for all University members. The SoR contained guidelines on staff and student responsibilities in the areas of: Student Engagement, Learning, Teaching & Assessment, Personal Development and Student Support. The final version of this document was approved by DSU Council in December 2011 and subsequently signed off by Senate.


Through this work DSU was also represented at the QAA Annual Reception in Parliament where the EWO was able to attend and Durham Student Reviewer Danny Coleman-Cooke had the opportunity to address leaders in Higher Education and MPs including Rt Hon David Willetts MP, the Minister of State for Universities and Science. In light of the announcement that Durham will be subject to a review in 2013-14 we also met this year with our QAA liaison who was able to offer advice and guidance about the Student Written Submission.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

The National Student Survey DSU engaged thoroughly with the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) this year and ensured that areas identified as relative dissatisfaction were raised at the appropriate level within the University. The NSS allowed us to evidence student concerns around assessment and feedback as well as student development. This also allowed the incoming candidate for EWO to identify feedback as a strategic area for development in 2012-13. In addition to the work done with last year’s results DSU worked closely with the University to promote the survey to all undergraduate students in their final year of study for completion this year. Overall the University’s response rate was 79.6%. This is our highest total in the history of the NSS and significantly above the sector average of 68%. The impact of this work is illustrated by the fact that Ipsos MORI has informed the University that we have achieved the highest response rate of all HEIs of significant size

Food & Drink Consultation with students expressing concerns surrounding the lack of food and drinks facilities on the Science Site meant that in preparation for the busy exam period, the sabbatical officers worked closely with the librarian as well as staff from YUM to secure the following provisions: • • • • • • •

A temporary marquee with room for 100 students to eat packed lunches Increased opening hours of the Library Café Increased opening hours of the Calman Café Temporary seating available within the curves of the Calman Building New furniture in both the Calman Café and the Chemistry Atrium 24/7 opening from the beginning of term until May 25th A commitment to work towards a long term solution for eating facilities on the Science Site

Library Extension The new library extension was finally opened in this April following years of consultation with sabbatical officers about the provision of learning resources in the main library. We now have 500 additional study spaces in the new library extension which took total study spaces from approximately 700 to 1200 for the exam period. This is a project that both previous and current sabbatical officers have worked closely on, helping to shape the library experience of the soon to be renamed ‘Bill Bryson Library’.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012 11

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

WELFARE REPRESENTATION Welfare Committee Training Welfare Officers received the following training this year: • Welfare Wellbeing • Active Listening • Boundaries • SAFEtalk • Alcohol Awareness • Eating Disorder Awareness • Emotional Sexual Health • Drug and Substance Abuse Awareness Awareness Campaigns DSU delivered the following awareness campaigns this year: • Alcohol Awareness Week • Sexual Health Awareness & Guidance (SHAG) Week • Disabilities Awareness Week • Mental Health and Wellbeing • Stress Less • Gender Awareness Week • International Women’s Day


The Year Ahead Welfare Officers met at the beginning of Easter Term and discussed a new model of welfare campaigning. From 2012-13 DSU will schedule two large awareness campaigns which will incorporate all of the key areas that are currently covered as well as a range of new topics. The committee will then focus on reactive campaigns that tackle current issues having an impact on students both locally and nationally. Christmas at Durham Castle In partnership with Colleges Division this year DSU was able to host a Christmas Dinner in the Great Hall for any students who were unable to go home over the Christmas vacation. The Education & Welfare Officer went along on the day and made a speech to students about the meaning of Christmas. Students then enjoyed a four course dinner, games and even staff dressed up as Santa serving dessert. Alcohol DSU led a considerable amount of work this year looking at the impacts of alcohol on the induction process. A paper was developed in an entirely student-led working group which was approved by Council and later signed off as University policy in the Student Experience SubCommittee.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

From 2012-13 DSU will schedule two large awareness campaigns which will incorporate all of the key areas that are currently covered as well as a range of new topics.

This was the second of three DSU papers that were approved as University policy this year demonstrating DSU’s proactive approach to influencing policy change. ACCESS AGREEMENT Following notification of submission for the access agreement from the Office of Fair Access, the sabbatical officers began working with the University to identify areas for improvement on last year’s submission. The Education & Welfare Officer attended an ‘access master class’ which was facilitated by NUS. A number of small changes were made to the agreement including a change that will have a lasting impact on current and future students. The removal of the clause that states that students must apply to live in college in their final year of study will ensure that all students who deserve support will receive an appropriate support package delivered via the National Scholarship and the Durham Grant.

Advice Centre Data on clients seen and data on winning for students in addition to supplying free, impartial advice: • • • • • •

Obtained £72,000.00 won for student through benefit appeals, additional funding and University grants. Guidance to almost 2000 students between October 2011 and April 2012 on issues ranging across academic, accommodation, deposits, release contracts, benefits, debt, financial capability, financial awareness, optimising student loans, damaged goods, insurance and tribunals. 417 individual interviews. Over 2,000 tenancy agreements were checked by the Advice Centre Over 14,000 students transported on the Nightbus 3,004 students seen in by a DSU Advisor

The Community • Relations with the City Liaison Group • House Hunting Guide • Balanced and Sustainable Community Forum • Area Action Partnership • Community Committee Meetings • Livers Out Committee

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012 13

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

ACTIVITIES & SOCIETIES Development The loss of our two student club nights has been a difficult burden to manage but as a result we are now able to devote more money and resources to societies, course representation, the Advice Centre and supporting volunteering. Students deserve a world class Union and we continue working towards our goal of delivering one in 2015 by improving how we provide for societies. This year we launched the new website (, that allows us to improve our communication with our membership. In line with this, we have developed the society resources on the Union website and plan to run training for society treasurers. Furthermore, we will continue to build on the success of ‘Societies Week’ which involved a large proportion of our societies.

Funding This year we have been able to dramatically increase the total funding available for societies. We have done this through a combination of increasing the total block grant available by £4400 in 2011/12 as well as alleviating all charges for Freshers’ Fair giving a saving of £5000. Furthermore, the largest saving to societies has been through the abolition of room booking charges, putting an extra £23,000 back into societies’ pockets. The increased grant funding in 2011/12 was used for events such as hosting the National “Go” championships, purchasing costumes for a ballet performance and providing funding towards Durham University Opera Ensemble’s production of the Marriage of Figaro. On top of this we awarded a total of five start up grants to newly established societies.

There are 204 student societies in total, 30 of which are new societies created in 2011-2012. £23,000 saved by societies through having no room charges


Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

MEDIA Palatinate Palatinate continued to perform well this year. Through a high level of initiative and intelligent resource allocation the teame have produced a high quality student newspaper. However, even more impressively, they have grown Palatinate TV and online sections of their media. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the student volunteers involved in Palatinate. Events during the past year have highlighted the need for a more coherent direction for Palatinate, as well as a sound structure. This will be achieved in the coming year. Purple Radio Purple Radio has had a very successful year achieving a high level of growth in their listener figures. Over the past year DSU and Purple Radio have worked more closely together internally and externally with other DSU societies and events which has strengthened their relationship. This association looks to grow in the future with DSU providing more support and guidance for Purple Radio.

• • • • • • • •

Question Time with the Vice Chancellor attracted guests such as NUS President Liam Burns in February and NUS Vice President Usman Ali in November. All three debates can be viewed on the DSU website. “A Masquerade at the Castle,” The Postgraduate Ball will be the biggest University-wide postgraduate event of the year on the 9th July. DSU Freshers Ball hosted Tinchy Stryder at the biggest cross campus student event with around 1,600 students attending. Postgrad Graduation dinner for 11th and 12th January. ISA welcome party for all international students in DSU on 1st October. Super Wednesdays sport events in Kingsgate Bar. Societies Week in January allowing students free admission to Societies. Individual societies put on extraordinary events and the list would be longer than this entire report.

Some of our events this year included: • • • •

‘Best of Durham’ lecture series involving nine lecturers from across the University. Postgraduate leaving dinner at Mary’s College on 12th September 2011. Re-launching ‘Planet of Sound’ in partnership with a local nightclub, Studio. Congratulations to St Mary’s College who won University Challenge.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012 15

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

DUCK & THE COMMUNITY Trying to summarise a year of activity of DUCK in a small pamphlet is an impossible task. The amount that we fit into one year is astonishing, especially when you consider that DUCK is run by student volunteers. However, below is an short insight into a year when DUCK has, yet again, gone from strength to strength to try and show you that students aren’t all feckless layabouts (well not all of them anyway). Engaging with students Our main strength this year has been through our tireless College Reps who have been raising money throughout the year through countless events. The variety has been astounding, ranging from charity formals, Take Me Out competitions and auctions. During November they managed to chivvy the men of Durham into growing magnificent moustaches, raising thousands of pounds for Movember. This year RAG Raids have been run with militant efficiency and we’ve had students raising money on the streets of the North East’s cities every weekend. We smashed all previous totals and raised £641,000 throughout the year for around 80 different charities. DUCK would fail if it only raised money Our challenges have gone from strength to strength this year and some of the feats have been phenomenal. Our Tough Guy squad of 90 was both our largest ever team as well as the biggest team at Tough Guy this year. Our Durham students started at the front of 5,000 people in their iconic fluorescent green uniform and all but one of them completed the course (including members of the DSU Staff and Sabbatical Team). Taking only 1 hour 48 minutes, Durham’s Emily Field-Lucas was the fastest girl in the entire race. Throughout the year, we have students attempting the Three Peaks Challenge, Canoeing Across Scotland, Bungee Jumping on Palace Green and even cycling from London to Istanbul.


Expeditions have continued to grow and it is quickly becoming apparent that no other university, RAG or Union in the country runs international expeditions as professionally as we do. This summer we will have 137 students abroad on nine different projects all designed to create and enhance sustainable volunteering. Whether climbing Kilimanjaro for Save the Children or trekking in Peru for the FutureSense Foundation they will be raising a huge amount and are targeted to raise a phenomenal £166,000 for charity. Community Throughout the year DUCK has also run huge events in the community such as the first ever Durham Cathedral Sleepout which saw over 371 students and non-students sleeping rough in the Cathedral for Moving On Durham (a charity for homeless people in County Durham). We have also been lucky enough to set up a series of student internships with the charities which has had overwhelmingly positive feedback. DUCK leads on the National scene Aside from the incredible events within Durham, this has been a year in which DUCK has really cemented its reputation on a national level. We kicked off the year with characteristic aplomb by hosting the National RAG Conference in September, which saw us successfully provide a three day event for over 100 student RAGs, charities and other third sector organisations. During the conference DUCK spearheaded a national movement to bring together student fundraising, giving birth to the National Student Fundraising Association (NaSFA). This has been a massive success and the collaboration between RAGs has been unprecedented, leading to enormous amounts being generated across the country by students.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

The collaboration between DUCK, the DSU, Colleges Division and Event Durham raised the bar for the conference according to the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received.

In November, DUCK will be in the forefront of working with the NUS during the BBC’s Children in Need campaign. If there is one thing we should be proud of this year, it is fostering a spirit of collaboration during the RAG Conference and beyond as DUCK takes its place representing the Union on a national level.

Total donated to charities £421,034

Entirely student led We are phenomenally lucky to be able to support such an array of good causes and this year we have been able to fund dozens of different projects. We gave £24,500 to local charities as well as hundreds of thousands more to other national charities.

None of these achievements would be in the slightest bit possible without the energy, vision and seemingly endless enthusiasm shown by the DUCK volunteers. Our twelve exec, nineteen college reps, ten expedition leaders and countless challenge leaders, project managers and thousands of volunteers have been nothing short of remarkable. Their motivation, vision and ruthless efficiency is what makes DUCK so successful.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Total raised £641,000 17

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

DUNELM HOUSE Dunelm House is one of DSU and Durham greatest assets. It was in part designed by the world renowned Ove Arup who brought together engineers and architects through ‘total architecture’ and founded the global firm ‘Arup.’ Kingsgate Bridge and Dunelm House were planned as a single piece that was designed through a prism by Ove Arup. The design features of the bridge are echoed in Dunelm House through the very significant descent; right to left and also significant drop from the street level to the ballroom floor. Architects wanted to mask the height of the building and have certainly succeeded in achieving this. Students are very excited because the University has made a commitment to restore Dunelm House to its former glory. Proposals are in the pipeline for a full redevelopment of the entire building both internal and external and this will turn Dunelm House into the world class Students’ Union that Durham Students have asked for and deserve. We are passionate about having a world class Students Union that combines architectural excellence with iconic status and a functioning Students Union; as it was originally designed. It is essential that students have central facilities that the Durham college system does not provide. The space is heavily used, the location is ideal and the type of space will be exactly what our societies want from the building once the significant investment in space is completed. The vision behind Ove Arup’s design was big spaces for big things and in the Margot Fonteyn Ballroom DSU has the largest functional room in Durham City but currently lacks the facilities to take full advantage of this hidden treasure.


This summer the University have agreed to undertake enabling works by spending £380,000 on Dunelm House. Riverside café will be enhanced, with new furniture, decoration and acoustic improvements. Furthermore, the Margot Fonteyn Ballroom floor will be replaced with a new vinyl floor that is sufficient for current and future society use and landscaping will tidy the surroundings of the Dunelm House estate. Finally, minor enabling works will commence which will allow the large scale restoration works to occur from 2012/13 onwards.

Students are very excited because the University has made a commitment to restore Dunelm House to its former glory.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Staffing Management & Charity Commission DSU has made huge strides forward this year in ensuring that the staffing management resembles the decision to be a Union that focuses on membership services. DSU has appointed a new CEO, streamlined the staffing structure and re-written job descriptions to ensure that DSU is able to deliver on its strategic objectives. A new fixed-term Academic Representation Coordinator, to assist the Education and Welfare Officer, has allowed DSU to focus heavily on its primary role; academic representation. As the Union moves forward it is vital that the staff support for officers, societies, volunteers, course reps, the media and volunteering.

Registration with the Charity Commission As a consequence of the Charity Act 2006, all student unions have lost their exempt charitable status and have to register with the Charity Commission. To date, both submitted referenda have been passed, allowing DSU to become a company limited by guarantee and to register as a charity with the name Durham Students’ Union. The new constitution has also been adopted, while a further body of work, the standing orders, were successfully passed in November in line with our new constitution.

DSU has appointed a new CEO, streamlined the staffing structure and re-written job descriptions to ensure that DSU is delivering what the strategic plan has laid out.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012 19

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

FINANCIAL REPORT DSU faced significant financial challenges in the financial year 2010-2011. In 2010-11 DSU’s total income was £2,025,618 and expenditure was £2,149,068 The resulting deficit of £123,450 was funded by the University. After clear instructions by the University that future poor financial performance will not be underwritten by the University, DSU created a new financial model that does not rely on the viability of commercial services to underpin its sustainability. DSU’s balance sheet as at 31st July 2011 had net current assets of £171,817 and net assets of £291,495 comprising of unrestricted general funds of £97,812 and restricted funds of £193,683 (DUCK £72,500 and Societies £121,183). Restricted funds can only be used for the purposes of these activities, hence being reported separately.


In the current financial year, DSU income is forecasted to be £942,180 and due to significant expenditure savings being achieved in the year, a small surplus of around £50,000 is currently forecasted. DSU does not aim to report a surplus and this is the first reported surplus in recent years, however this surplus does reiterate our commitment to the new financial model.

For the first time since records show, the DSU is on track to hit a break even budget.

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

THE FUTURE The past few years have seen great upheaval for the Union, but after the hard work of officers and staff in recent years to stabilise the Union we are now in a position to look to the future. The strategic plan will detail the mission, aims and objectives of the Union and, ultimately, where we see ourselves in three years. A series of one-to-one interview, focus groups, phone interviews and surveys have ensured we are gathering feedback from all stakeholders including local residents, the University, national stakeholders and students. Furthermore, a cross campus survey was completed by almost 4000 students, covering all demographics. All this information has been collated and is being used in creating the foundations of our strategic plan that considers all the needs of our diverse membership and addresses students’ current and future requirements. Looking at the future, Dunelm House will be at the heart of our pledge to become a world class Students’ Union. We have begun a long consultation process on the use of the building involving architects, JCR/MCR presidents, societies, college executives and students. DSU needs to go from being a collection of very good services, to a modern students’ union that is representative, relevant and responsive to its membership and it needs to do this with a a buzz about the place

has. The aspirations of our student groups such as societies, volunteers and course representatives is absolute excellence and we have a University Executive that are both supportive of this goal and committed to investment to make this possible. The challenge is measurable, the leaders are prepared and we are close to delivering. DSU has now clearly defined its purpose – ensuring we deliver a world class experience for students incorporating Durham’s values, beliefs and aspirations. This shows that despite DSU’s grand old age we are still a pioneering organisation that changes based on students’ needs. We now have a strategy. This is actually a vision and a vision where students are placed at the centre. We now have a bright future and one that everyone involved in DSU over the past three years should be proud of. We are no longer a Union that keeps its head above the water; we are a Union that is sailing and gaining speed every month.

In holding both a referendum and large scale market research we have allowed students to draw for us the Union that they want. We have shifted focus and delivered the membership services that the trustee board requested and now we need to deliver the services that students have clearly asked for and evidenced through our market research. The key message that I want to leave you with is the exciting future the Union

Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012 21

Durham Students’ Union exists to promote the interests of all Durham students.

Created a 3 year strategy

An extra £32,400 into societies’ pockets.

Spending £380,000 on Dunelm House over the Summer

£72,000.00 won for student through benefit appeals


Durham Students’ Union Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Durham Students’ Union Dunelm House New Elvet DH1 3AN +44 (0) 191 334 1777 Registered Charity No: 07140998

Annual Report 2011/12  

An update on the Union's activities and performance in 2011/12.