Proposed Changes to Your Union
In light of a comprehensive review of our governance structure, the RCASU trustees have put forward a recommendation to transform your Union into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This strategic move aims to enhance risk management and improve the overall functioning of the organization in the future. This article delves into the proposed changes, the motivations behind them, and addresses some common questions to provide a clear understanding of the transition process.
Why are we doing this?
As an important step towards safeguarding our Trustees, including Sabbatical Officers and Student Trustees, the decision to transition to a CIO structure is primarily driven by the need to limit their personal liability. Currently, our trustees are personally liable for any debts incurred. However, by becoming a CIO, their maximum liability will be limited to £1, thus offering them greater protection.
Furthermore, the Student Union (SU) is obligated to review its constitution periodically. In line with the recommendations from the National Union of Students (NUS), the transition to a CIO is seen as a crucial update to align with best practices in the sector.
Additionally, adopting the CIO status will simplify administrative procedures from a legal standpoint. The SU will transform into an independent entity, operating as a unified body, rather than a collection of individuals acting as trustees.
Why are we updating the Bye-Laws?
The current Bye-Laws are not only outdated but also fail to include essential provisions that should be incorporated, such as the procedure for the election of Sabbaticals in the event of a mid-year vacancy. The proposed changes present a valuable opportunity to align the Constitution and the Bye-Laws, ensuring consistency and clarity in the governance framework.
Q: I don’t like the idea of the SU becoming a corporation. That sounds as though people can benefit from our surpluses?
A: Rest assured, the SU will remain a registered charity, and it will continue to adhere to the rules and regulations outlined by the Charity Commission. Consequently, the distribution of surpluses will not be permitted. Instead, any surplus funds will be retained by the SU and utilised for the sole benefit of students.
Q: Will the proposed change remove any power from students?
A: No, the transition to a CIO will not undermine the power of students. The newly formed CIO will remain the recognised students’ union at RCA, in accordance with the Education Act 1994. The CIO will remain fully committed to the educational interests and welfare of our student members.
Q: What does the College think?
A: The College actively supports this transformative change and recognises the benefits it brings in terms of improved governance and risk management.
Q: Why are we doing this now?
A: Conducting a thorough review of our governance arrangements was long overdue. The challenges associated with recruiting trustees due to the risks associated with our current unincorporated status necessitated an urgent evaluation of our governance structure.
The proposed changes to your Union reflect a proactive approach towards enhancing governance, minimising personal liability for trustees, and aligning the Constitution and Bye-Laws to meet the evolving needs of the student body. By adopting the CIO status, we ensure better risk management, improved administrative processes, and a more effective representation of student interests. Through this transformation, the SU remains committed to its core mission of promoting the educational welfare of students while safeguarding their rights and interests. The College fully supports this initiative, recognising the positive impact it will have on the Union and its members. Embracing change is crucial for progress, and this strategic transition to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation marks an exciting new chapter for your Union, solidifying its future and ability