Following consultation with students, your SU Officers and staff have been busily working on a new strategic plan to take us to 2025. The new plan will set out how we intend to continue delivering a high-quality service for all students, and where we want to do even better. A draft strategy has recently been approved by our Board of Trustees, and we are looking forward to being able to share the final version with you in the near future.
For now, we can announce that our strategic priorities for the next five years will be:
- Ensuring the student voice is at the heart of university life
- Improving the well-being of students
- Developing a well-led and values-driven organisation
- Building great networks and communities
- Delivering financial sustainability
Some internal re-organisation will be required at the SU in order to create a staff structure that aligns with these objectives, and it has become even more important for us to make these changes because of a significant financial challenge that has presented itself. That challenge is an annual funding gap caused by increases in our pension scheme contribution, higher salary costs because of recent growth, and a challenging trading environment with COVID-19.
In light of this, we have already taken a number of decisions to ensure the SU is still able to work for students to the best of our ability; utilising the Government’s furlough scheme, putting a freeze on staff recruitment, and stopping or postponing spend that can wait. We will also be inviting expressions of interest from staff for a voluntary leavers scheme over the next few weeks.
Despite these circumstances, we are confident that this combined package of measures will go a long way toward closing the funding gap, and leave us in good shape to start delivering on our strategy. This will be a challenging period for the SU but the officers and staff remain optimistic about working with you on our new strategy to create a Students' Union you can be proud of.
President and Chair of the Board of Trustees