YUSU’s current structure shows “a general lack of management capacity within the organisation” and levels of sabbatical work overload “so extreme that is was unhealthy for the post holder,” according to a report on the Union’s practices and efficiency.
The critical report strongly recommended splitting the current Academic and Welfare Officer position into two separate roles, to avoid the current situation which forces the officer to “focus on either the academic or welfare elements of the brief to the detriment of the other.”
Judith Courts, who undertook the review, stated that not splitting the role “will risk compromising the health of the post holder and the effectiveness of YUSU.”
Courts’ report also stated that: “Without taking this step YUSU will deliver inconsistent services which vary from year to year depending on the interests and competencies of the officer and will be failing to address a very real student need, on which the student body places, importance.”
YUSU President Anne-Marie Canning, who currently oversees the Academic and Welfare position, praised the recommendation. “Over the years, we’ve seen Academic and Welfare Officers self-implode, we’ve seen people on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen the demise of many officers.”
The report, which was initially reported in Nouse in December last year, also recommended that the Student Development and Charities Officer and Societies and Communications Officers be merged into a new Student Activities Officer. “The officer would be responsible for strategic oversight and decision making whilst operational elements would be dealt with by staff,” the report concluded.