Charities legislation requires Edinburgh University Students' Association to have appropriate governance structures, and documents explaining these. Governance is the process of ensuring the organisation functions well and in accordance with its aims. It also defines where authority and responsibility lie in the organisation. In addition to the legislative requirement to have these structures, good governance is essential to ensure the organisation has a clear purpose, and achieves its goals. The Students' Association has developed a democratic structure designed to ensure that the views of our members are heard and represented effectively. The governance of the Students' Association incorporates our role as both a charity, a membership organisation and a company limited by guarantee.
As a membership organisation and a charity there are structures which we legally need to have, such as the Trustee Board. Under our role as a company limited by guarantee, our Trustees are also Directors.
The Trustee Board at the Students' Association has ultimate responsibility for ensuring good governance, and that the organisation has a clear purpose and strategy, operates legally, and is financially viable. On a day-to-day basis, much of this responsibility is delegated to the Students' Association’s senior staff. The Trustee Board consists of:
Four elected Sabbatical Officer Trustees (President; Vice President Academic Affairs; Vice President Societies and Activities; Vice President Services);
Five additional Student Trustees, elected by members in our elections;
Three External Trustees, who are appointed based on skills, experience and abilities.
The Chief Executive supports the effective operation of the Trustee Board. The Students' Association’s Senior Management team also attend meetings of the Trustee Board, providing reports, information and advice as required. The President chairs the Trustee Board.
To ensure the Trustee Board can carry out its business effectively, there are six sub-committees, which have been established to carry out different aspects of the Board’s remit. Each sub-committee includes sabbatical, student and external trustees, with input from staff as appropriate.
These sub-committees are:
- - Elections
- - Nominations
- - Strategic Planning
- - Finance
- - Human Resources
- - Trading
To ensure the roles of the Trustee Board, subcommittees, and the Students' Association staff are clear, there is a Delegation of Authority document which details the responsibilities of each group. Through this, the Trustee Board delegates responsibility for carrying out some of its work.
The Students' Association’s democratic structure can seem complex but the councils and committees are essential for ensuring engagement with members and different aspects of student representation.
Elected representatives work with staff
The Students' Association is run for students by students and has developed a democratic structure
designed to ensure that the views of our members are heard and represented effectively.
Each year, members elect four Sabbatical Officers and dozens of student representatives
to lead the Students’ Association and represent the interests of students to the University and beyond.
The elected student leadership works closely with the Students' Association’s staff to ensure the continued development of our services and activities and to deliver our vision and strategic objectives.
The Students' Association also employs 140 full time and over 350 part time staff to provide support for the activities of the association. There is a formal staff structure with the most senior member being the Chief Executive.
Working with the University of Edinburgh
The Students' Association enjoys a constructive relationship with the University of Edinburgh
and is respected by them as the voice of students.
Outside the university we have influence in both the city council and the Scottish Parliament, and are members of the National Union of Students
Governance by the University of Edinburgh and Charity Law
Under the Education Act 1994 the University of Edinburgh ensures that the Students' Association operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances. There is a code of practice that sets out how the University does this. This can be accessed here.
Charity Law also has implications for how the Students' Association can behave, a guide is available to students here.
If you have further questions about the Students Association's structure, contact us
by email, telephone or visit the team at our offices in Potterrow.