Students' Union

In this section


The aims were to meet changing student needs, and to enable the Union to conform to the requirements of the 2006 Charities Act. Against this background, certain aspects of the formal relationship with the College were also clarified.

Articles of Governance and Bye-Laws

The new Charities Act, passed in November 2006 but long-anticipated, was the catalyst for many Students' Unions, including the Goldsmiths Students' Union, to review their governance structures. The most significant change for students' unions resulting from the Charities Act was that all those with a turnover in excess of £100,000 now fall under the Charity Commission's regulation.

Council approved the Articles of Governance on 22 March 2007 (to take effect from 1 September 2008), and they were then approved by a Students' Union referendum on 23 April 2007. These are for an "Unincorporated Association".

The first Students' Union elections under the new Articles took place in Spring 2008. Download the Students' Union Articles of Governance (PDF download).

The Articles of Governance are accompanied by Bye-Laws. Download the Students' Union Byelaws (PDF download).

One of the requirements of the Education Act is that the Constitution of the Students' Union be reviewed at intervals of not more than five years. Since at Goldsmiths the Articles of Governance contain the Constitution, it is proposed that a review of these be conducted in 2013-14.

The Articles of Governance and Bye-Laws will in future be underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding on more operational matters, such as management of the Students' Union building.

The College's obligations in relation to the governance of the Students' Union: the Code of Practice

It should be noted that the Charities Act (2006) did not change the College's obligations, under the 1994 Education Act, to oversee the activities of the Students' Union in certain specific ways. The Articles and the Bye-Laws now approved are consistent with the 1994 Act obligations. College approval is required (via the Senior Management Team) for those Bye-Laws relevant to the College's continuing obligations under the Act.

The 1994 Education Act requires the Council, as governing body of the College, to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that the Students' Union operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances (22(1)), and in particular to secure that the requirements listed in Section 22(2) of the Act are observed by or in relation to the Union. Section 22(3) requires the Council to institute a Code of Practice setting out how it will meet its legal obligation in respect of overseeing Students' Union activities. (The Code at Goldsmiths operates to a large extent by cross-reference to the Articles of Governance and Bye-Laws, and will be amended editorially on an ongoing basis to reflect any re-numbering of these documents.)

Code of Practice

Financial Statements of the Union received by Council under the Code of Practice

Charitable Status and Announcement of Charitable Objectives to Students

Under Section 22(4)(b) of the Education Act 1994, the College is obliged to draw to the attention of students the restrictions imposed on the activities of the Student Union by the law relating to charities. Such a statement has been included at the end of the Code. (This reflects the charitable objectives of the Students' Union as set out in the Articles of Governance approved by Council on 22 March 2007, as subsequently amended by the Chair of Council in the light of advice from the Charities' Commission.)

The Students' Union became a Registered Charity on 10 April 2013. (Charity Commission registration number 1151581).

A chart comparing the accountability mechanisms for funding which apply to the College and the Students' Union may be downloaded below. (This merely explanatory and has no official status.)

Accountability mechanisms for funding: Goldsmiths & SU comparison (PDF download)

Handling of personal data

The Students' Union derives information about its membership from the College Enrolment Process.

Download a summary of arrangements: Transfers of student personal data by the College to GCSU (PDF download)

Download a list of personal data transferred from the current student enrolment notice (see notice to students on credit-bearing programmes, downloadable from the enrolment notice page)

Student representation on committees and collaboration on key policy issues

The College's policy on student representation, formulated at the time of the review of student representation which took effect from 1 September 2005, is that student membership should be included on the composition of every committee unless a particular reason is identified for this not to be the case.

In the Spring of 2012 Academic Board approved the Goldsmiths Student Charter (PDF download). This replaced the original Charter which they had instituted in June 2008.