Take part in the consultation

The Union is proposing a new Representative Network Model which would effectively replace the current Student Officer Model.

On a scale of 1-5, how much do you believe the new officer model suits the needs of future students?

This consultation closes at the end of term.

Why are we doing this?

The Union has been reviewing the charity’s democratic processes since 2016, in consultation with over 3,000 students through focus groups, surveys and questionnaires.

The Union’s democratic processes include the Union Actioning Body (UAB) which is made of a range of elected representatives from the student body. Some of these roles, which include student officers, have not been reviewed or amended for at least 10 years.

Based on students’ feedback, and with the support of the charity’s trustees, the Union is ready to share a new democratic model that aims to represent students more fairly.

Win an Amazon Echo Dot!

We have 12 Echo Dots to giveaway, every student that participates in this consultation can enter in to our prize draw at the end of the questionnaire.

Terms and conditions apply.

Read the full proposal

The Union has prepared a comprehensive proposal that outlines in more detail the Representative Network Model.


Network Model

Networks rather than individuals

Students would be able join networks that represent a liberation area (such as BME or LGBT), shared interest group (such as mature students) or a particular mode of study (such as postgraduates).

This would replace the current Student Officer Model where only one student is elected by the student body and is currently not supported or empowered to engage the community or area they should represent.

Setup and Reviewed Annually

A key feature of the new Representative Network Model is that these networks will be reviewed and renewed on an annual basis, giving greater opportunity and flexibility for new networks to form inline with the current issues affecting students and offer better equity of voice across the student body. 

Networks will be suggested by the Union’s insights function and setup by UAB each summer before the next academic year.

More Inclusive

In the network model, all members of a network can be actively engaged in developing/supporting campaigns and relevant student ideas. Networks would select their own Network Representative Chair, from within the network membership, to represent them at the Union Actioning Body (UAB) and ensure their voice is heard.

The number of networks is flexible and there will always be a minimum of five networks setup. In a given year there could be five, ten, twenty or more networks; dependent on the number of issues and challenges facing different student areas. Union resources will be shared fairly between networks.

Union Actioning Body

Union Actioning Body

The Union Actioning Body (UAB) is the Union's primary student-led democratic decision making body.

UAB's purpose is to represent the views of students and to make decisions and, in partnership with the proposed networks, deliver student ideas (from Have Your Say) and support priority campaigns.

UAB meets twice a month to allocate student ideas to the appropriate pathways and, if actioned, supports the delivery of those ideas and related actions. UAB will identify matrix support, ensuring the relevant representatives, networks and Union staff are brought together to deliver new ideas and campaigns.

UAB also reviews ideas to ensure legal, reputational and financial best practice.

See the Union's Bye-Law's for more detail regarding the Union Actioning Body (Bye-Law 3.0).

What students have said

Students have identified, in the current student officer model, the following drawbacks:

  • Struggle each year to fill all ten posts
  • Set remits with limited flexibility
  • Officers may not engage wider student communities
  • Officer activity could be more transparent
  • Lack of support structure to backup officers' activity and campaigns
  • Only one engaged individual (elected), less representative

For more background information and details about the model, please read the full proposal.