By George Bowden
Last night, my motion to introduce a new clearer reporting structure within the Union of Brunel Students passed at Student Assembly. This means that a steering group will be set up to design and produce a series of templates with the aim of making it easier for Brunel students to hold their elected officers to account and to make their achievements clear to see. It also mandated the Union to publish reports presented to Student Assembly on its website, something it doesn’t currently do.
How the new reports will look will be explored by this new steering group and the group is mandated to ensure its recommendations enhance democracy and integrity within the Union. The documents, which students use to hold their elected officers accountable, vary greatly between students’ unions and organisations. From regularly updated blog posts to fully developed, data rich reports; what is clear is that Brunel’s current reporting system can now be enhanced.
As well as new reports, the steering group will explore a new ‘strategy plan’ document for all elected representatives. This document will link a candidate’s manifesto and their strategy once in office. It will be able to be regularly updated and will be made publically available. Crucially, it will be able to be referred to by members of Student Assembly alongside the regular reports.
Why does this matter?
This matters because the easier it is to hold our student representatives to account the more we will achieve as an organised student body. Our student representatives will be encouraged to reflect the views of the student body more closely. Right now, this isn’t a problem; we have a strong team of sabbatical officers in touch with students at Brunel. We can’t assume this will always be the case.
Now with the initial motion passed, a steering group will be formed to design and produce the series of templates for the two new documents. The steering group is mandated to meet and decide its recommendations by the end of April 2013. While the steering group is mandated to include at least one representative from the team of sabbatical officers, group of chairs and members of Student Assembly, any Brunel student may attend meetings and contribute.
I hope that the Union of Brunel Students will use this opportunity to lead other unions in developing a gold standard in how elected officers present their work to the students who elect them.
George is vice-chair of Brunel Labour Students.