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Union Development

Our work with Students' Unions, especially in the Further Education Sector, is aimed at developing Students' Unions by providing training, advising executives and if necessary, meeting with college staff, so that the Students' Unions can provide the best possible service for their students.

How can CLANUS help you?


Election time is probably the most important time of year for a students' union. Whether the elections are for the Union Executive, the Union Council or Course Representatives, then CLANUS can help.

The Convenor can act as the Returning or Deputy Returning Officer, or we can just be at the end of a phone as an independent advisor if your not sure of something or something goes wrong.

The details of election regulations vary to a huge degree and are often the most daunting looking part of the whole constitution, but they are usually based on some of the following elements.

So if you do need any advise then please contact us.


A constitution is a legal document that sets out the activities and procedures of the Students' Union. To be recognised by NUS and the Board of Governors you must have a constitution. It must also be in line with the 1994 Education Act, as outlined later.

We recommend that your constitution should have the following clauses:

  1. Name
  2. Aims and Objectives
  3. Membership
  4. The Executive Committee (Officers of the union)
  5. Union Council (Course Reps)
  6. General Meeting (Soveriegn Body)
  7. Clubs and Societies
  8. Minutes
  9. Amendments
  10. Indemnity
  11. Interpretation

We also recommend that the constitution should also have the following schedules that outline some of the procedures of the union:

  1. Elections
  2. Clubs and Societies
  3. Finance
  4. Complaints
  5. Job Descriptions

Since the 1994 Education Act Part II a number of issues have raised through case law which may mean that your constitution may need updating. The area can help you do this, so please contact us if you need our help. We will be sending out a number of briefing regard these changes during the course of the year.


A submission is a detailed written document containing a request or a series of requests for increased resources.

In FE Students' Unions, submissions are usually put forward for:

The submission has to be submitted to a body in college, for example, the Board of Governors.

The area can help you prepare and cost submissions.

Development Plans

These document are similar to the above, but instead of concentrating on solely one issue, they are more general, they set down on paper the unions thoughts on what it wants to do for the year ahead.

By setting a series of aims and objectives for the year ahead, they allow you to develop ideas and plan a direction for the union. We also recommend that you say were you would like to see the union in five years time.

A Development Plan is a very useful document to present to college and the board of governors. Colleges are corporations, so you must learn to talk their language, the language of business and these development or business plans are probably the best way of doing just that.


Spending money as and when you need it is not advisable since you could end up penniless half-way through the year. It is better to plan your expenditure using a budget.

A budget is basically a set of guide lines for the way you wish to spend your money, taking into account your priorities and objectives for the year.

Your budget will normally be divided into two main sections:

  1. Income: Based on the amount you receive for various sources during the year, such as a block grant, a per capita grant or registration fees etc.

  2. Expenditure: What you plan to spend for the year.This can be split into the 4 headings of Fixed Costs, Internal Expenditure, Capital Expenditure, and Affiliations.

Under the 1994 Education Act the colleges governing body is expected is approve and monitor the unions spending so it is vitally important to budget correctly for the year.

Again if you need help in setting your budget then contact the area.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is the way in which the College tries to make sure that everything it is doing of a good standard. It does this by a variety of methods but one of the main ways is by canvassing the opinion of the student body.

This is probably one of the most important areas of work that the union can get involved in. By trying to gain representation on some of the quality boards within the college, we can help filter back student opinion and increase the quality of the learning programmes offered to the students.

We are also trying to encourage as many colleges as possible to set us a Course Representation System to feed into the overall Quality Assurance procedures of the college.

By offering training and advice to course reps, as well as college we can make the course representative system more efficient and effective.


CLANUS can assist Students' Unions to get to most of the major conferences, including the NUS Regional Conferences and the annual NUS conference in Blackpool. CLANUS organises transport, normally a coach that picks people up and drops them off at the major towns in the area.

We also arrange transport if there is a large number of students in the area that wish to go to a particular demonstration.

So if you do want us to lay on a bus for some event then please do get in contact.

Advice about the 1994 Education Act

The Act places a number of responsibilities on the Governing Body of your college to ensure the Students' Union complies with the Act. A very brief outline of the details are below.

Opting Out



Sabbatical Terms of Office


Clubs and Societies


Complaints Procedures

Code of Practice

Information for Students

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