CODE OF PRACTICE FOR TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY STUDENTSâ€™ UNION (Pursuant to Section 22 of the Education Act 1994)
The Board of Governors of Teesside University (“the University”) is required by section 22 of the Education Act 1994 (“the Act”) to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that any students’ union for students at the University operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances. Section 22(3) of the Act requires the Board to prepare and issue and, where necessary, revise a code of practice setting out details of arrangements made to secure observance of the requirements under the Act relating to Students’ Unions. This Code of Practice has been published by the Board of Governors in accordance with section 22(3) and in relation to Teesside University Students’ Union (“the Students’ Union”). The specified matters are: 1.
Membership of Students’ Union
External Affiliations and Donations
Groups, Clubs and Societies
Notification to Students
1. CONSTITUTION The Act requires that the Students’ Union has a written constitution. The Students Union is an unincorporated association and a registered charity (Reg. No. 1136875) and it has a written constitution adopted on 7 May 2010 as amended on 21 November 2017. The constitution was approved by the Board of Governors of the University in accordance with section 22(2)(b) of the Act and Article 12 of the University’s Articles of Government. The constitution of the Students’ Union shall be subject to review and approval by the University’s Board of Governors at intervals not exceeding five years. Any amendment to the constitution does not have legal effect until approved by the Board of Governors. The constitution is published on the Students’ Union website.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE STUDENTS’ UNION
All registered students* of the University are automatically members of the Students’ Union unless they choose not to be. As set out in the byelaws of the Students Union (published on the Students’ Union website), any registered student has the right not to be a member of the Students’ Union and not to be unfairly disadvantaged by exercising that right. A student wishing to opt out of membership of the Students’ Union must write to any one of the Presidents of the Students’ Union (care of the Chief Executive of the Students’ Union) within 21 days of their enrolment or re-enrolment, clearly stating their intention to opt out. After this time, opting out from Membership of the Students’ Union will not be permitted in relation to the current academic year.
If, after opting out, a student wishes to rejoin the Students’ Union, then he/she must, similarly, write to any one of the Presidents of the Students’ Union (care of the Chief Executive of the Students’ Union). A student shall not be able to rejoin the Students’ Union during an election period. An election period shall be defined at the time from issue of a notice of an election to the close of ballot boxes. The Chief Executive of the Students’ Union shall inform the University Secretary on an annual basis of any requests to opt out of or resume membership of the Students’ Union. If a student has determined not to be a member of the Students’ Union, then he/she shall not be entitled to: stand in Students’ Union elections; participate in Students’ Union meetings or vote on any issue regarding the policy making of the Students’ Union, the election of its officers, or the election of delegates to NUS conferences; hold a position in any Students’ Union club or society. A non-member student shall be entitled to participate in Students’ Union sporting, social and recreational events and may take part in any other Students’ Union organised activities and services.
The University is satisfied that the range of services offered by the University and the Students’ Union to students (whether members of the Students’ Union or not) is sufficient to ensure that those who have exercised their right to opt-out of membership in accordance with the Act are not unfairly disadvantaged as a result.
* “Students”, in this context, are as defined in the Teesside University regulations and are recognised as ordinary Members by the Constitution of the Students’ Union.
ELECTIONS Elected full time or ‘sabbatical’ office shall be limited to two full years in total. Students’ Union Officer posts shall be elected by cross-campus secret ballot of all Students’ Union Members in accordance with the Constitution of the Students’ Union. The Students’ Union shall appoint a Returning Officer, who shall submit an annual report on the conduct of the elections to the University Secretary. The Constitution and Byelaws of the Students’ Union set out the electoral arrangements and the responsibilities of the Returning Officer.
A student who believes that electoral arrangements have not been fairly and properly conducted should, in the first instance, raise the matter with the Returning Officer, who shall investigate the complaint and shall report on such allegations in his/her annual report to the University Secretary. Where the allegation relates to the Returning Officer, it should be raised with one of the Presidents of the Students’ Union.
COMPLAINTS If a student feels that he/she has been unfairly dealt with by the Students’ Union on any matter, or that he/she has been unfairly disadvantaged by opting out of Students’ Union membership, then he/she shall have the right to complain and to have the complaint dealt with promptly and fairly. The Students’ Union has set out in its bye-laws a complaints procedure and this is published on the Students’ Union website. The complaints procedure includes the right of appeal to the University Secretary and the subsequent right of appeal to an independent person appointed by the Board of
Governors of the University. In this context, the ‘independent person’ is the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (“OIA”). .
EXTERNAL AFFILIATIONS AND DONATIONS The Chief Executive of the Students’ Union shall, in the annual accounts of the Students’ Union, publish details of all general external affiliations (i.e. not those affiliations which are specific to individual clubs and societies) and the costs of these general external affiliations. The Students’ Union shall seek annual ratification of continued external affiliations at its Annual General Meeting (AGM). On the written request of 5% of the membership of the Students’ Union, provision shall be made for named general affiliations to be reviewed. Such a request, with signatures, printed names and Students’ Union membership number must be provided to the Chief Executive of the Students’ Union, who, if the above conditions are satisfied, shall proceed to hold a cross-campus secret ballot of the Members of the Students’ Union. Such a ballot on general affiliations may only be held once per academic year. If the Students’ Union decides to newly affiliate to an external organisation, it shall publish notice of that decision, and the associated costs of subscriptions, fees, or donations, through promotional material to the Board of Governors and to all Students.
FINANCE The Students’ Union is responsible for the proper conduct of its financial affairs and for ensuring that funds provided to it by the University are used only in accordance with the Education Act 1994 and other statutory and charity requirements as applicable. The Students’ Union has agreed financial regulations and these are published on its website. The Students’ Union is required to: 6
maintain accounts and accounting records in accordance with normal professional accounting principles;
maintain a sound system of internal financial management and control;
plan and conduct its financial affairs so as to ensure that its total income is at least sufficient, taking one year with another, to meet its total expenditure, and to ensure that its financial solvency is maintained;
obtain the prior written consent of the University to the borrowing of any money for a period in excess of 12 months;
not give any guarantees or indemnities incurring contingent liabilities other than in the normal course of business;
maintain adequate insurance cover for Students’ Union assets and public and employee liabilities;
make available the accounts and accounting records for inspection by the University on request.
The Students’ Union shall prepare an annual budget prior to the commencement to each academic year and shall present it to the University (via the Director of Finance) in sufficient time for it to be considered by the University’s Resources Committee prior to the commencement of the relevant academic year. The Chief Executive shall ensure periodic monitoring reports of income and expenditure against budget, covering both general and commercial activities, are provided to the University’s Director of Finance on a monthly basis. The Director of Finance will report the budget monitoring of the Students’ Union to the University’s Resources Committee from time to time.
The Chief Executive shall keep the University Secretary informed, on a regular basis, of proposals of significant developments by the Students’ Union which could affect the financial, human or physical resources of the Students’ Union. The Students’ Union is required to prepare audited annual accounts in accordance with general accepted accounting principles and present them to its Board of Trustees for approval, in accordance with its financial regulations. Once approved, the annual accounts will be presented to the Students’ Union AGM and to the University. The Students’ Union, through promotional material, will notify all students of the issue of the annual accounts and of their availability. The annual accounts will include details of external subscriptions or similar fees paid and donations made.
GROUPS, CLUBS AND SOCIETIES The Students’ Union shall set out in published and freely-accessible documents the procedures and rules for the fair allocation of resources to groups, clubs and societies.
NOTIFICATION TO STUDENTS
The University will set out in the annual publication of the Student Regulations (via the online Student Handbook) details of:
The right of any student to opt out of Students’ Union membership and not to be unfairly disadvantaged by opting out
This Code of Practice
The University Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech
Information on restrictions imposed on Student Students’ Unions’ under charity law
Information of the restrictions imposed by Charity Law Under section 22(4)(b) of the Act, the University is obliged to draw to the attention of students the restrictions imposed on the activities of the Students’ Union by the law relating to charities. As a general rule, Students’ Union funds should only be used for charitable purposes, in representing and furthering the interests of students. The charitable purposes (objects) of the Students’ Union are set out in its constitution. For example, the Students’ Union may use its funds to support the formation and running of clubs and societies, its recreational and sporting activities, or to fund debate. However, its funds should not be used to campaign or lobby in support of any particular political party or in relation to concerns that do not support its charitable purposes. Further information may be found in the booklet “CC9: Speaking Out: Guidance on Campaigning and Political Activities by Charities”; and in “OG 48 B3: Student Unions: A Guide”, both published by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
This Code of Practice was revised in July 2018
Teesside University Students' Union's Code of Practice as of June 2018.