Commercial Services Review

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As the Student Officers have maintained throughout the review, UUSU are clear in our commitment to continuing to provide students with affordable, sustainable and inclusive commercial outlets across the Magee, Coleraine and Jordanstown campuses.  The review was undertaken as despite the fantastic teams of staff who deliver the services, these services have seen a significant decline in income and this could prove problematic for the continued investment in our core SU services.

We were very fortunate to get some thoughtful and constructive ideas from all stakeholder groups in terms of how to reduce this deficit, however when we explored the possible development of these it still didn’t present us with a way of making the services reach a break-even position over the next number of years.  Due to this the Trustees have subsequently taken the decision to formally explore the option of a third-party operator running the services.  Therefore, our plan is to now undertake a tender process in order that we can speak to interested parties about how they could represent the Union by running our services to be of high quality, offer value for money and represent integrity of service.

Currently it is the preference of UUSU to be part of the wider University tender documentation as this allows us to avail of additional professional services that can be offered at no cost to the Union. We are however a separate lot in the process which will mean we have total control over any proposed supplier and the decision around this.  Although we are exploring this outcome we are not currently committed to accepting a tender or moving to a third-party supplier and we have clear non-negotiables, many of which were defined by the student body, in terms of what a third party should represent.
 
These include:
  • A commitment to maximising the staff experience
  • A price point that is cheapest on campus and preferential to students
  • Any changes that impact on students to be agreed by UUSU in conjunction with student body before any such commitment is made
  • Quarterly commercial review meetings with UUSU and student body to ensure student views on pricing, quality and range are clearly being heard
  • A partnership approach which clubs and societies can benefit from
  • An understanding that UUSU own the spaces and agreement that student use of this space will be unchanged.

We also want to reassure you that the Officers, Trustees and Management are committed to this process having no fundamental changes in your use, access and interaction with the SU spaces.  That would be unacceptable to us and we will not partner with any third party that would inhibit student use in any way.

If at any point in the future a commitment is confirmed, we will notify you as soon as is practically possible.  We expect to be undergoing the tender process until around May 2019 at which point a decision will be taken.

If you can, we would urge you to attend our General Meeting on Monday 10th December at 5pm where we will be providing more detail on the above and taking any questions that you may have.  This is accessible via videoconferencing so as many students as possible can attend on their campus of choice. 
 
For further information on this meeting, please contact Avril, our Membership Director on a.honan@ulster.ac.uk

The UUSU Student Executive

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