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SU Code of Practice

Article

Approved by Council on 29 November 2007; information concerning Financial Audit added Summer term 2008.

The Education Act 1994 (Section 22(3)) requires universities to issue a Code of Practice, setting out the manner in which the requirements of section 22(1) and (2) of the Act, relating to the organisation and activities of the Students' Union, are to be put into effect.

The statutory Information for Students under Section Section 22(4)(b) of the Education Act is detailed below.

The requirements of Section 22(2)
in the wording of the Act
The steps taken by the College
(a) The union should have a written constitution

The Articles of Governance were approved by Council on 22 March 2007 (Minute 7 refers).

Students' Union Articles of Governance (PDF download) 

More detailed procedures of a constitutional nature are set out in the Bye-Laws, the first version of these being received by Council on 22 March 2007 at the same time as the Articles of Governance.

Students' Union Byelaws (PDF download)

Under Article 62 of the Articles of Governance, amendments to the Bye-Laws are subject to consultation with the member of the Senior Management Team of Goldsmiths' College primarily responsible for liaison with the Union , or his or her designated representative, who has a right of veto in relation to the College's responsibilities under the Education Act. This right of veto includes guidance and strategy documents affected by the Education Act.

(b) The provisions of the constitution should be subject to the approval of the governing body and to review by that body at intervals of not more than five years. See above.

The next review after approval of the Articles was originally planned to take place in the academic year 2011-12, but due to the particular pattern of staff changes in that year, Council agreed (29 November 2011) to defer the review until 2012-13.
(c) A student should have the right not to be a member of the union, or in the case of a representative body which is not an association, to signify that he does not wish to be represented by it, and students who exercise that right should not be unfairly disadvantaged, with regard to the provision of services of otherwise, by reason of their having done so.

Article 13 of the Articles of Governance establishes the right of students to opt out of Union membership.

The procedures for so doing are contained in Bye-Law 1.

The Union has published a statement of non-member facilities, which are available to opted out students.

Policy document on SU facilities for non-members (PDF download)

(d) Appointment to major union offices should be by election in a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote. This is established by the Articles of Governance (Article 43).
(e) The governing body should satisfy themselves that the elections are fairly and properly conducted. According to Bye-Law 2, the member of the Senior Management Team of Goldsmiths' College primarily responsible for liaison with the Union, or his or her designated representative is required to oversee the good conduct of the Students' Union's elections.
(f) A person should not hold sabbatical office, or paid elected union office, for more than two years in total at the establishment. This is established by the Articles of Governance (Article 45).
(g) The financial affairs of the union should be properly conducted, and appropriate arrangements should exist for the approval of the union's budget, and the monitoring of its expenditure, by the governing body. The Budget of the Students' Union is received by Council, which would thereby be enabled to draw the attention of the Students' Union to any problems it had identified, and ultimately to withhold grant to the Union from the College.

The Financial Regulations of the College provide for the approval of the audit arrangements of the Students' Union by the College.

(h) Financial reports of the union should be published annually or more frequently, and should be made available to the governing body and to all students, and each such report should contain, in particular, a list of the external organisations to which the union has made donations in the period to which the report relates, and details of those donations. The Annual Financial Statements of the Students' Union are received by Council.

Details of any donations would be contained in the Financial Statements.
(i) The procedure for allocating resources to groups or clubs should be fair, and should be set down in writing and freely accessible to all students.

The procedures are published by the Students' Union in the Clubs and Societies Handbooks, generally accessible to members, and on the Students' Union website.

Revisions of the procedures must be approved by the member of Senior Management Team of Goldsmiths' College primarily responsible for liaison with the Union.

The procedures for allocating resources to clubs and societies (PDF download).

These procedures were approved in December 2011

(j) If the union decides to affiliate to an external organisation, it should publish notice of its decision, stating the name of the organisation, and details of any subscription or similar fee paid or proposed to be paid, and of any donation made or proposed to be made, to the organisation, and any such notice should be made available to the governing body and to all students.

If the Union decides to affiliate to an external organisation, it shall publish notice of its decision, stating the name of the organisation, and details of any subscription or similar fee paid or proposed to be paid, and of any donation made or proposed to be made, to the organisation, and any such notice should be made available to Council and to all students.  

Information about affiliations is made available on the Students' Union website.

(k) Where the union is affiliated to any external organisations, a report should be published annually or more frequently, containing a list of the external organisations to which the union is currently affiliated, and details of subscriptions or similar fees paid, or donations made, to such organisations in the past year or since the last report, and such reports should be made available to the governing body and to all students. An annual report shall be made to Council, normally in the Autumn term in conjunction with the Financial Statements of the Students' Union, containing a list of the external organisations to which the union is currently affiliated, and details of subscriptions or similar fees paid, or donations made, to such organisations since the last report. If there are no affiliations, Council shall be so informed. The content of the report to Council shall be made available to all students by the Students' Union.
(l) There should be procedures for the review of affiliations to external organisations, under which the current list of affiliations is submitted for approval by members annually or more frequently, and at such intervals of not more than a year as the governing body may determine, a requisition may be made by such proportion of members (not exceeding 5%) as the governing body may determine, that the question of continued affiliation to any particular organisation be decided upon by a secret ballot in which all members are entitled to vote. The Students' Union is required to conduct an annual review of its current list of affiliations, according to procedures to be approved by the member of the Senior Management Team of Goldsmiths' College primarily responsible for liaison with the Union . The procedures shall be published by the Students' Union on its website.

Bye-Law 2 provides that Members who are opposed to affiliation of the Union to a particular external organisation, or who wish to see the Union affiliated to a particular organisation may call for a secret ballot of all members. 5% of the full membership of the Union may call for such a ballot (in accordance with the Article 113.6 of the Articles of Governance), provided that no organisation may be subject to a ballot more than once in any one academic year.
(m) There should be a complaints procedure available to all students or groups of students who are dissatisfied in their dealings with the union, or claim to be unfairly disadvantaged by reason of their having exercised the right referred to in paragraph (c) above, which should include provision for an independent person appointed by the governing body to investigate and report on complaints.

(n) Complaints should be dealt with promptly and fairly and where a complaint is upheld there should be an effective remedy.

Under Bye-Law 2, the Trustees are required to provide for the internal handling of complaints in the Students' Union.

The Students' Union is also required to publish on its website a complaints procedure for those dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal complaints procedure. This shall include provision for an independent person appointed by Council to investigate on complaints. The procedure shall be approved by the member of the Senior Management Team of Goldsmiths' College primarily responsible for liaison with the Union.

Read the Students Union Complaints Procedure (PDF download). This procedure was approved December 2011.

Link to the Complaints Procedure is made on the Students' Union website.

Section 22(4) - Information for students supplementary to the above Code:

Under section 22(4) of the Education Act 1994, the College 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.

Resources provided to the Union through the College should be used only for the charitable purposes of the Students' Union. The charitable purposes of the Students' Union are defined by the Articles of Governance (Article 7) as:

  • providing opportunities for the expression of Student opinion and actively representing the interest of Students;
  • acting as a channel of communication in dealing with Goldsmiths' College and other external bodies;
  • promoting the welfare of Students at Goldsmiths' College;
  • facilitating the social, recreational and educational interests of its Membership, through providing services and support for its Members; and
  • working with other Students' Unions and affiliated bodies.

Section 22(4) also requires that information be provided to students on certain legal requirements relating to Freedom of Speech: this is provided at Goldsmiths through the General Regulation on Freedom of Speech and the procedures linked to it.