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What impact do students’ unions have? James Hutchinson, CEO University of Exeter Students’ Guild Jo Thomas, CEO University of Birmingham Guild of Students.

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Presentation on theme: "What impact do students’ unions have? James Hutchinson, CEO University of Exeter Students’ Guild Jo Thomas, CEO University of Birmingham Guild of Students."— Presentation transcript:

1 What impact do students’ unions have? James Hutchinson, CEO University of Exeter Students’ Guild Jo Thomas, CEO University of Birmingham Guild of Students

2 Overview Why measure impact? Who else is doing it? Introduce a students’ union impact project Feedback Next steps

3 What do we understand by the term of impact? ‘as a combination of all the effects an organisation has on everyone and everything involved with or influenced by its work. This includes intended as well as unintended effects, negative as well as positive changes, long-term impact and short-term or interim benefits. …. it’s the difference your organisation makes.’ (NCVO 2009)

4 In simple terms... Perceived impact: stakeholder satisfaction and loyalty. followed by... Impact focusedmeasurable changes outcomes: resulting from activity

5 Why is measurement & evaluation important? Generally... Shift to increased accountability Demonstrate public benefit Requirement to track and evaluate performance. Funding bodies - reporting requirements Justification of funding- performance measurement

6 Why is measurement & evaluation important? Specifically... Ensure sustainability Improve financial stability Build positive reputations internally and externally Communicate public benefit Respond to the changing environment – Key Information Set

7 Developments in the Sector Substantial theme of research and the new REF: – 20% impact measure, 65% research outputs, 15% environment UUK / NEF ‘Degrees of Value’ How Universities Benefit Society AMOSSHE, Values and Impact Toolkit

8 NEF/UUK research Social Return on Investment report into Higher Education Focuses on three social outcomes – greater political interest – higher interpersonal trust – better health Total contribution of £1.31 billion of benefit to society over and above economic benefit

9 Students’ Union facilitated activities

10 Developing a model for students’ unions Aim: Develop a common model for identifying and measuring the impact of students’ unions to ensure we can collectively: – Ensure sustainability – Improve financial stability – Build positive reputations internally and externally – Communicate public benefit

11 Key Stakeholders Students – Tangible benefits of involvement/ engagement (current and future) and the causal impact of the students’ union University – University staff in particular in respect of impact on student experience and University mission Community – Notably key decision-makers including MP’s and local councillors as well as the wider public to increase opportunities for new funding and demonstration of public benefit.

12 Key measures The project will seek to develop a set of common measures across the three areas. For example: UniversityStudentsCommunity “To what extent does the students’ union add value to the University?” “To what extent does the Students’ Union make a positive impact on your life as a student?” “To what extent does the Students’ Union enhance the local community?”

13 Secondary impacts & causal links Recruitment Retention Employability Active citizenship – Voting – Volunteering Well being

14 Qualitative information Recognise the importance of story telling. Collect testimonies around key areas: – Employability – Life changing interventions – Friendship / fun – Life skills and outlook – Citizenship – Enterprise

15 Project outcomes Specific tools/ toolkits to enhance impact at a local students’ union level Case studies and project pilots from unions of how to ensure and use impact Impact embedded in students’ union training and events Signposting to other expertise Research opportunities

16 Activity What do you like about the proposal and the broader impact agenda? What needs further development?

17 Next Steps Refine project based on feedback Identify external expertise to facilitate project Run pilot study Report back with findings and toolkit

18 Thank you James Hutchinson Jo Thomas


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