Commercial Services In their third year of trading, Bar and Café Yours both continued to achieve sales and profitability growth. While the decline in beer sales continued at Salford and nationally across students’ unions, 2009/10 saw food sales average almost £6000 a week. Bar Yours’ night time offer went from strength to strength, with students increasingly playing an active role in organising events. Entertainment included quizzes, band nights and comedy events showcasing national and local talent, including a set by award winning comic Jason Manford. After almost 30 years of entertaining Salford students, our licensed venue, The Pavilion closed its doors at the end of May. While it had once made a substantial financial contribution to the organisation, the income generated by The Pavilion that could be reinvested in the Union had significantly reduced and losses were forecast. If allowed to continue unchecked, these would have eventually threatened the financial stability of the Students’ Union as an organisation.
Financial Report The 2009/10 financial year was a broadly positive one for the Union. Interest rates were low which meant that investment income fell from 2009, despite high levels of funds invested through the University. However total income saw an increase of 8% on the 2008/9 financial year due to a hugely improved commercial performance and welcome financial support from the University through increases in the block grant. The majority of the Union’s expenditure comes from supporting student representation, student activities and the campaigning work of the sabbatical officers. Union expenditure grew 6% on 2009 levels, though this was well within the level budgeted. In fact, the organisation managed to save over 6% of operational costs against the budget. The hard work put in to increasing income and saving on costs saw the Union produce an operating surplus of £56,057, more than twice what it had budgeted and a 63% increase on the 2009 financial year.
The Pav bowed out after winning a Best Bar None award, which demonstrated the venue’s commitment to best practice.
To ensure that the Union was still able to provide a great value night out for Salford students, we began looking for a Manchester city centre venue to work in partnership with. September 2010 saw the first ‘Salford Social’ at 42nd Street, which was attended by hundreds of new and returning students.
Aims, key objectives and planned activities
The retail division of the Students’ Union served Salford students via shops on all three campuses – Horlock Court on the Peel Park campus, the Allerton Building on Frederick Road and the Adelphi Building. To further grow income that could be reinvested into Union’s services for students, EPOS was introduced to our retail outlets in April 2010. This provided a range of benefits including helping the stores identify and focus on more profitable lines.
Strategic Plan 2011-2014
The Union’s current strategic plan finishes in 2011. As such the Union has been reviewing its strategic plan for 2011-2014. This has involved consultation with trustees, staff teams and students. Over two hundred students have provided feedback on the plan, giving it an overwhelmingly positive endorsement. The officers and staff are now working on how to deliver the plan, what its targets will be and how to ensure it is embedded across the whole organisation.
Vision: To be regarded as an outstanding organisation focussed on making a lasting, positive contribution to every student’s life.
Overall performance for the year 2009/10
University of Salford Students’ Union Annual Report 2009/2010
Mission: Enhancing Students’ Lives
Trading was well above budget across all shops, with total sales reaching almost £1.1million for the year.
Theme 1 Championing the Student Voice
Theme 2 Active Student Communities
Theme 3 Robust and Student Focussed
Listen to all students to fully understand their views, take action, achieve change and communicate back.
Build effective relationships with our local community to improve life in Salford.
Be guided by student opinion to shape our services, activities and structures.
Create the means for students to actively participate in directing and achieving change.
Foster a strong community that has a sense of pride in its University and student experience.
Support and develop our staff to ensure they are focussed on enhancing students’ lives.
Build a credible partnership with the University, holding them to account on issues relevant to students.
Enhance employability and life skills beyond the academic programme.
Develop partnerships and collaborations that enhance the quality of our services, activities and resources.
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Representation and Support Services
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Trustee Activities Student Activities
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Administration Staffing Marketing Building
University of Salford Students’ Union University House The Crescent Salford M5 4WT
www.salfordstudents.com Registered Charity Number: 1138093
Our Mission: Enhancing Students' Lives The Students’ Union will enhance the lives of students by:
Ricky Chotai President
Introduction Welcome to the Students’ Union annual report for 2009/10. This report reviews the successes and impacts of the University of Salford Students’ Union. 2009/10 was a vital year for the Union in many ways, culminating in the organisation becoming a fully registered charity, in line with the requirements of the 2006 Charity Act. The year saw the introduction of faculty based sabbatical officers, enabling the Union to focus on its main purpose of being the representative voice of Salford students. The new structure has allowed the Students’ Union to be more connected to our members than we have been in the past. Our successes through the change included an improvement in our membership connections with students we had not fully engaged previously, including health, arts, mature and international students. This was evidenced through a 12% increase in students voting in our annual elections. Nationally the Union had great success with three Salford students being elected to positions in the National Union of Students. The Students’ Union was awarded a prestigious bronze level award by the Students’ Union Evaluation Initiative (SUEI). The award means that your Union is recognised as being among the best in the UK. Of the seventy students’ unions taking part in SUEI, Salford is one of only twenty four to be recognised through an accreditation award. It is our members who set our priorities, drive our performance and direct our work and students can do this through our democratic structure, ‘You Decide’. Our You Decide events provided the opportunity to communicate with the Union in an open forum about issues affecting students, as well as hold the sabbatical officers to account. Building upon the success of last year’s meeting we held our AGM in November 2009 and saw a real debate on some key issues, which included banning extremist political groups and parties from campus and discussing a new constitution. Our highly contested elections included a referendum on whether to remain adopt a new constitution. Almost 3000 students voted in the elections and referenda and a massive 98% chose to adopt the new constitution that enabled the Union to become a fully registered charity.
• Creating a strong Union presence on the issues and affairs that matter to our students. • Developing our organisational structures to ensure that we make an outstanding contribution to our members’ lives. • Forging a dynamic partnership with the University that enhances the Salford experience. • Creating an involvement culture where innovative, life changing opportunities are available to our members.
Student Activities The Activities Development Unit built on the success it had achieved in its first year, involving thousands of Salford students in a wide range of different activities.
USSU is a student-led, student-focussed organisation with the principles of representation, democracy and informed campaigning at its very heart. Every student at Salford is a member of USSU.
Our Values: Accountability Sustainability Fun Diversity Enterprise Quality Partnership
Student Engagement Listening to students and representing your voice at the University are priorities for the Students’ Union and what we focus on as an organisation. During the 2009/10 academic year, we continued this commitment to represent and campaign for the interests of our members. Our work in this area was led by the four faculty based sabbatical officers who were elected by Salford students. The elections were carried out online for the second year running, and saw another increase in the number of students voting for their representatives: approaching 3000 students participated in the voting process. Information about the candidates was more accessible than ever before – with everything from video manifestos to an online question time. The five sabbatical officers who were elected put their plans into action for promoting and protecting the interests of students in a wide range of ways. They met regularly with the University to campaign to change policy and practices and to improve the student experience here at Salford. The team led a number of effective campaigns on the issues that mattered to students. Our 24/7 Library access campaign involved successfully lobbying the University to increase library opening hours to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In the 2009/10 academic year, there were 53 activity groups supported with a total of 1850 members. The activity groups offered students real choice in how to spend their spare time, they could get involved in everything from debating to snow sports. A number of international societies and faith groups provided the opportunity to meet people from similar backgrounds.
The faculty based sabbatical officer roles were complemented by our student representation system, which comprised 520 student volunteers representing students in each of the University’s schools. These representatives provided invaluable support for their fellow students by listening to the issues they were facing and ensuring that these were discussed with University staff.
The Unit took action to widen participation in Student Activities by launching a full Give It A Go programme, which enabled students to try activities on a no commitment, pay as you go basis, as well as attend one day classes and trips. Over six hundred students participated over two semesters, trying belly dancing to first aid and visiting attractions like Blackpool and Alton Towers. The Colours Ball was rebranded in 2010 and the first Students’ Union Annual Awards was born. The event was expanded to celebrate the achievements of students involved not only in Student Activities, but also the student representation system and Student Direct newspaper. Three hundred and fifty students attended the Annual Awards at the Palace Hotel, Manchester, an increase of over 100 people on the previous year.
Processes for starting and running clubs and societies were further simplified and made more accessible and the groups thrived: from the Almost Famous Theatre Company and their programme of shows to the Boat Club competing against Manchester in the thirty ninth annual Two Cities Boat Race.
To assist the representatives with their work, the Students’ Union provided comprehensive training on University structures and procedures as well as help and ideas for effectively communicating with other students and staff. This training, which was available as either a workshop or an online course was attended by 289 reps. The online facility helped make the training more accessible to students who were not able to attend the workshop sessions due to placement and work commitments. In addition, each of the reps received an informative handbook and a monthly online newsletter.
Advice & Support
In order to help gather feedback and identify trends at schoollevel, 15 student liaison representatives (SLRs) were recruited to assist the sabbatical officers and University in resolving issues within schools and faculties. This tier of representatives ensures that feedback can be gathered at every level of the University system, and helps the Students’ Union fulfil its commitment to strong representation for all Salford students.
The Students’ Union Advice Centre provides a free, professional and confidential advice service for all students and is independent of the University. Our independence is a great strength, as it means we can provide impartial advice and knowledge of rights, as well as challenge the University on some of the key issues which affect students’ lives here. Located in University House, the Advice Centre consistently provides a vital source of support to large numbers studying at the University. Between September 2009 and August 2010, the two advisers saw over 3000 students and dealt with 3238 enquiries. The majority of enquiries were face to face, but support is also provided over the telephone and via email.
The Funding our Future campaign was undertaken in partnership with other unions in the greater Manchester area and sought to raise awareness amongst students and the wider community that tuition fees were likely to increase. As part of the Vote for Students campaign, politicians were lobbied to sign a pledge opposing tuition fee rises. Students were then encouraged to vote in the general election, supporting candidates that would vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament.
The Advice Centre specialises in assisting students with academic related issues, which accounted for 1603 of our enquiries in 2009/10. This is a crucial area of support that the University is unable to provide, as it would involve a conflict of interest between the institution and the student. The need for support in this area may also be increasing: enquiries about academic appeals, personal mitigating circumstances, unfair means appeals, appeals to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and course change issues all rose from the previous year.
Ricky Chotai President 2010/11
Other areas where students required guidance and support were finance, difficulties affecting international students and accommodation. As well as providing advice, the advisers accompanied students to meetings with the University, on matters such as academic investigations and discipline cases. We ask students to provide feedback on the service that they receive and overall clients told us that they were pleased with the work we undertook for them. The advisers worked closely with the sabbatical officer team to ensure that they were aware of key issues impacting on students’ experience at Salford, enabling these to be raised with senior University staff.