28 Jan 2014

Partnerships for Change: Update and Future Focus

It’s only the first month of 2014, but that means we’re half way through the academic year – and it’s time to start thinking about the next!

There have been some great things achieved by college students’ associations over the last term.

  • Edinburgh College Students’ Association has appointed their Association Manager, and among many things run a series of excellent engagement events to get students contributing to the Outcome Agreement.
  • Fife have launched their new constitution, and have developed and improved their Communication Ambassadors scheme still further.
  • North East Scotland College SA submitted a draft constitution to their college board in December 2013 and agreed with the college that they would have 3 full time officers next year: 1 regional president and 2 Area VPs.
  • Glasgow Clyde College SA is busy pulling names together for an Advisory Board, which is an important step in SA autonomy. The purpose of this board will be to advise on issues to do with the development of the Students’ Association, and to help facilitate good working relationships with the college.
  • Last week Glasgow Kelvin College SA held a strategic planning day with the help of Partnerships for Change, where we identified a mission and 6 strategic aims. The next step will be to agree this plan formally, with the input of the college, and to identify pieces of work within each area to create an operational plan.

All recently merged students’ associations have been busy delivering their day to day work, as well as developing their structures and planning for the future.

Now is the time to start thinking about where the students’ association needs to be when the academic year ends in July. What do you need to start making sure is in place now?


Here are five ideas to get you started.

1. Next Year’s Budget

Most colleges will be deciding their budget soon, so it’s time to start talking to your college contacts and lobbying for funding. But remember you need to work out what the students’ association is going to deliver, and how much money it’ll need to do it, first.

2. Students’ Association Structures and Officer Roles for 2014/15

For most students’ associations this is your first year as a merged body, so you will be beginning to get a good idea about what bits of your structure work well, and which bits don’t, with the new college. If you’re going to review and change your structures for 2014/15 now’s the time.

3. Preparing for and Delivering Elections

If you’re electing a sabbatical officer, elections need to be held before the summer, and before exams. Elections aren’t just about the voting - planning and raising awareness needs to start long before. You need to know what posts you’re going to be electing to start, and be encouraging good candidates to consider standing.

Check out this resource on NUS Connect to help you get started: FE Student Leader Election Pack

4. Association Staff Support

Has your association had all the staff support you have needed to support you this year? You’ll need to make a case for it in your budget application to the college if you want to increase it in 2014/15.

5. Constitution and Governance

Constitutions are the bedrock on which the association sits – and they’re the reference point for developing accountability structures. If no one knows how the association works, the constitution is where you go. So it’s important in new associations to developing effective constitutions!


Your Partnerships for Change consultants are there to provide support and advice on any of these things. If you want to talk through your options, or if there is anything else you want help on, please get in touch.


Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Deputy Returning Officer Training

On the 3rd of April 2014 NUS will be holding training for staff who will be working as Deputy Returning Officers in Association elections. This will cover:

  • Support from NUS on how to deliver candidate’s briefings.
  • How to deal with complaints.
  • Making rulings and interpreting the election regulations.
  • Election do’s and don’ts.

Coming soon – so watch this space for dates!

  • In partnership with the College Development Network a programme of development for Board Members, student and non-student alike, on supporting and engaging student members
  • The development of a resource for HR professionals on employing sabbaticals and association staff.
  • Workshop for officers and staff on establishing and developing Trustee and Advisory Boards.

Remember, if you’re looking for ideas try the Partnerships for Change pages on the sparqs website – especially the Creating the Future section. Creating the Future was an amazing event held in August 2013, for which we had overwhelmingly positive feedback. You can find copies of the presentations used in the plenaries and workshops on the page which can help spark and develop your ideas.

For further information or if you have any queries please contact Kate Byford, PfC Co-ordinator: kate.byford@nus-scotland.org.uk

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