Swansea University

SU/SUSU Relationship Agreement

SU/SUSU Relationship Agreement

Relationship Agreement Between Swansea University and Swansea University Students' Union

Introduction

The Relationship Agreement between Swansea University and Swansea University Students’ Union is intended to underpin the excellent working relationship between the partners to this agreement.

Background

Swansea University Students’ Union is devoted to the educational interests and welfare of its members. The 1994 Education Act placed a legal requirement on the University Council as the University’s governing body to ensure that the Students’ Union operated in a fair and democratic manner and in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The 2006 Charities Act removed in law the status of the Students’ Union as exempt charities and as such, the Students’ Union revised its Articles of Governance.  The revised Articles of Governance were approved by University Council in 2008, together with a Financial Memorandum which sets out the terms and conditions under which the University makes payments to the Students’ Union and ensures that funds provided are used for the purposes for which they were granted.  A Code of Practice pursuant to the Education Act 1994 Part II: Students’ Unions was also agreed between the parties.

Student Charter

The Swansea University Student Charter sets out the relationship between the University and Students’ Union and the responsibilities of each organisation.  The Student Charter states that the University will:

  • Provide funding to the Students’ Union each year in furtherance of the  activities described in its Articles of Governance
  • Ensure that it conducts its responsibilities in accordance with the provisions contained in the Financial Memorandum and the Relationship Agreement between the University and the Students’ Union
  • Appoint a member of University Council to serve on the Students’ Union Trustees Board

Additionally, the University shall appoint a member of the Students’ Union Audit Committee, who shall serve as Chair of the Committee.

Principles

Swansea University and Swansea University Students’ Union agree to a Relationship Agreement based upon the following principles in accordance with the NUS Good Governance Project identified by HEFCW as underpinning excellent working relationships between universities and their students’ unions:

Strategic Partnership

A spirit of partnership between the University and the Students’ Union informing the strategic direction of both parties and informing service agreements.  Informed engagement of Students’ Union representatives in key institutional decision making processes. 

The University will ensure that:

  • Students’ Union full time officers are full members of the University’s key decision-making bodies
  • Students’ Union full time officers and Students’ Union trustees are invited to attend the University’s annual training day for Students’ Union full time officers and trustees to inform and guide them on their respective roles and moreover to identify opportunities for partnership working between the University and the Students’ Union
  • Students’ Union full time officers are provided with a dedicated session each year by way of induction on the roles and responsibilities of University decision making bodies, including the role of the Chair and Secretary, compliance responsibilities, levels of personal responsibility, confidentiality and conflict of interest.

The University and the Students’ Union will work in partnership in order to achieve the shared goal of enhancing the student representation system at all levels of University decision making and to ensure an effective student representation system.

Student Centred    

The University and Students’ Union have a shared commitment to developing and improving students’ experience of academia and extra-curricular aspects of their lives

The University is committed to providing a broad range of services to students including the provision of wellbeing support. The University is also committed to continue to work in partnership with the Students’ Union to provide all students with the opportunity to feedback on their programme of study and their Swansea Student Experience.

In accordance with the Student Charter, the Students’ Union will:

  • Support students to ensure that they are treated equally and are aware of their rights and responsibilities
  • Advise students of the role of the Students’ Union as a member organisation which represents them
  • Provide a Student Representatives System to enable the student voice to be heard
  • Represent the views of students through the Students’ Union elected full-time Officers, its part-time Officers and their membership of University decision making bodies
  • Provide professional, trained advisors to advise and assist students, in confidence, with academic and welfare issues through the Students’ Union Advice Centre
  • Provide a range of sporting clubs and Students’ Union Societies to enhance student personal and professional development
  • Act in partnership with the University to enhance the student experience
  • Support and promote good community relations
  • Represent student interests at local and national levels

Respect and Understanding

The University and the Students’ Union are committed to ensuring clarity about, and mutual understanding of, the roles of the University and Students’ Union and the value that each party brings to the relationship

The University and the Students’ Union will actively work together to explore opportunities for partnership working towards the shared aim of enhancing the Swansea student experience.  The University and the Students’ Union will respect, understand and value the distinctive roles of each organisation and will ensure that frequent opportunities are provided for constructive engagement to identify synergies.

Openness and Trust

The University and the Students’ Union are committed to full, open, regular communication on relevant issues, in particular issues likely to have an impact on the other party, the student population and/or other joint stakeholders.

Regular meetings are held between the Vice-Chancellor, the University’s Senior Management Team, Professional Services Management Team and the Students’ Union full time officers in order to foster a sharing of strategic developments and other relevant matters to enable both organisations to contribute towards the achievement of shared objectives and the enhancement of the student experience. 

Mutual Support and Commitment

The University and the Students’ Union are committed to constructive interactions, and demonstrable commitment to making the relationship work through investment of time and resources

The University will provide resources to support the activities of the Students’ Union expressed in its Articles of Governance.  The University shall ensure that the Students’ Union full time officers are introduced, at the annual training day, to key staff contacts for their term of office and that they are provided with an overview of University structures and the role of Colleges, Professional Services and named individuals within these organisational units.

In addition to the provision of regular meetings with the Vice-Chancellor and the University’s Senior Management Team, the Student Affairs Committee will provide an opportunity on at least six occasions each academic session for all of the full time officers to raise any issue with members of the University and lay members of University Council.  The University is committed to working in partnership with the Students’ Union to strengthen the relationship between the University and the Students’ Union across Colleges and Professional Services.

Independence

The University and the Students’ Union are committed to the recognition of the value of a strong, student-led, Students’ Union, empowered to determine and manage its own affairs. There is recognition of the need to balance the interests of a range of stakeholders within an increasingly challenging external context

The University is committed to continuing to work in partnership with the Students’ Union and its trustees to review its Articles of Governance and Code of Practice in 2013. The Students’ Union is committed to the seven key principles of good governance in a Students’ Union context as provided in the National Union of Students ‘Good Governance Code of Practice’ of:

  • Democracy
  • Openness and Accountability
  • Clarity about the role of the Board
  • Effective Trustees and Board Performance
  • Delivering Organisational Purpose
  • Exercising Control
  • Behaving with Integrity

Accountability

The Students’ Union is accountable to the University as supervisor (under the Education Act 1994) and principle funder, within a mutually agreed framework which is robust, effective, efficient, and compatible with the reporting requirements of other regulators (where relevant) such as the Charity Commission and Companies House.  The University acknowledges that the Students’ Union is a major stakeholder and primary body representing the student voice.

The University acknowledges that Section 22 of the Education Act 1994 places a legal requirement upon University Council to ensure that the Students’ Union ‘operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances’.  The University shall ensure:

  • the Students’ Union Articles of Governance, approved by Council in 2008, be subject to review in 2013 and at subsequent intervals of not more than five years
  • the Articles of Governance continue to provide for the right of a student not to join the Students’ Union and not be disadvantaged by exercising this right
  • it continues to appoint a Returning Officer from amongst its senior staff to ensure the fair and proper conduct of election to major union offices in accordance with the appropriate schedule to the Articles of Governance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Financial Memorandum between the University and the Students’ Union
  • annual receipt and review of the current list of Students’ Union affiliations
  • maintenance of the Students’ Union Complaints Procedure as outlined in the appropriate Schedule to the Articles of Governance
  • the maintenance and review of the Code of Practice pursuant to the Education Act 1994 Part II: Students’ Unions in accordance with the agreed timescale for review of the Students’ Union Articles of Governance
  • that it informs students of the availability of the Code of Practice, the right to opt out of the Students’ Union and ensure notification of any relevant provision of services to students normally provided by the Students’ Union

Diversity and Equality

The University and the Students’ Union are committed to equality and diversity and the fair treatment of all staff and students.

The Student Charter provides that the University will:

  • Provide equality of opportunity regardless of age, disability, sex (gender), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender reassignment, acting in accordance with the requirements of its Strategic Equality Plan (2012-16)
  • Promote and safeguard the rights of all staff and students with regard to dignity at work and study and foster a learning environment free from prejudice and harassment

The Students’ Union shares this commitment alongside the University

Student Voice

The University and the Students’ Union will work collaboratively to recognise the student voice through a range of methods, to ensure that students are partners at every level of the institution

The University and the Students’ Union shall work in partnership to ensure:

  • effective student representation through the Students’ Union full-time Officers and part-time Officers
  • opportunities for student feedback on programmes of study and their Swansea Student Experience
  • we achieve strong student representation within decision-making bodies so that students are appropriately informed, listened to and provided with feedback
  • strong support for College and Subject representatives to provide effective student representation for all programmes of study
  • equal commitment to the principles of the Wales Initiative for Student Engagement and the role of students as partners

Funding

The University and the Students’ Union will consider the core and additional functions of the Students’ Union and agree appropriate funding

The University and the Students’ Union will consider and review the functionality of the Students’ Union in order to inform the review of the Financial Memorandum between the University and the Students’ Union.

Review

The Relationship Agreement will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Student Affairs Committee, and a report of the outcomes shall be presented to the Students’ Union Board of Trustees and thereafter to University Council.

< Policy on Issuing Award Certificates | Security >