Minutes of a Meeting of the Trustees of the by HC12072718362


                                 Northumbria Students’ Union
                                    Trustee Board Meeting

                                             19 May 2008

                        Martin Farr                         (MF)
                        Stephen Ross                        (SR)
                        Lisa Burton                         (LB)
                        Ivan Blackwell                      (IB)

In attendance:
                        Martyn Williams                     (MW)

01/08      Minutes of the Trustees Meeting 28th April

           The Minutes of the Trustees meeting held on 28th April circulated by email
           were noted.

02/08      Matters arising from those Minutes

           It was noted that the request for a loan of £105k from the University
           repayable over three year’s interest free had been had been drafted for
           submission to the Director of Financial Planning, Mr. Eugene McCrossan.

           It was noted that MW had submitted v.10 of the proposed Catering
           Agreement to Director of Accommodation services for further

           It was noted that the Strategic Guidance Document – Student Council
           Meeting Guidelines was approved as amended.

03/08      Appointment of Non-Student Trustees

           It was agreed to appoint Mr. William Ralston and Mr. Tim Mallender as
           Non-student (External Trustees) for a 4 year term effective from the date
           of this meeting.

           It was noted that it was hoped that both new Trustees will attend the
           upcoming training and induction event to take place on the 18th June and
           the Board Meeting that will take place the same day.

           It was noted that both appointments and any subsequent appointments            MF/MW
           were subject to ratification by Student Council. It was agreed this would be
           tabled to the first meeting of Student Council in the academic year 2008/9.

           It was noted that the Students’ Union was in a dialogue with a number of       MF/MW
           other potential non-student Trustees and it was hoped to make further
           appointments by the 18th June.

04/08      April Management Accounts

           The Financial Management Report enclosed in Appendix 1 covering the
           period to the end of April 2008 was noted. The report shows a year to date
           surplus of £53k; down against budget by £5k and down £27k on last year.

           It was noted all City site commercial services continue to experience tough
           market and operating conditions. Bars turnover was down against budget
           by 9.7% and by 12.6% on last year and gross profit margin was also down
        on budget by 1% but better than last year by 2%. This left bars with a net
        profit that was £59k worse than budget. This performance has been due to
        a number of factors; firstly, the number of live concerts has reduced on last
        year, secondly the timing of Easter and the ‘hiatus’ this has caused to the
        2 academic term meant many students not returning for the traditional big
        end of term party and thirdly, the Union continues to face stiff competition in
        the City where there has been continuous price discounting. For corporate
        social responsibility reasons, the Union does not follow this trend.

        It was noted Catering turnover at City was worse than budget by 5.7% and
        worse than last year by 4.1%. Gross profit margin was worse than budget
        by 5%, as a consequence of a change in sales mix with the margin being
        adversely affected by a drop in coffee sales of 34% which is believed to
        relate to the opening of City Campus East and the growing success of the
        Northumberland Café. Overheads are, however, better than budget by
        5.3% generating a catering deficit of £3k worse than budget at £22k but
        £0.5k better than last year. It was noted the Students’ Union is transferring
        its City Site catering service to the University from the 1 September 2008
        under a Joint Management Agreement.

        It was noted the City Site Shop has also been impacted by the opening of
        City Campus East with turnover being 13.6% less than budget and 15%
        down on last year and the overall surplus being £10.6k worse than budget.
        It was noted the Students’ Union is also transferring its City Site retail shop
        to the University from the 1 September 2008 under a Joint Management

        It was noted that more positively, the loss on concerts of £3.5k is £7.7k
        better than budget and £11k better than last year. Income generated from
        advertising and marketing sales is £27k better than budget, an
        outperformance of 40% against budget. Overall, overheads for the
        Students’ Union are better than budget by £54k at a ratio of 64.2% and in
        line with budget

        It was noted that at Coach Lane the Students’ Union commercial activities
        were negatively impacted by the late completion of a refurbishment project.
        Since the opening, trading trends have been strong with turnover 15.3%
        better than budget and the current deficit of £2.7k is £2.6k better than

        It was noted the cash position remains healthy with the bank balance
        standing at £175k in credit at the end of April.

        It was noted that looking forward, the Students’ Union anticipates that the
        very difficult trading conditions experienced since January, particularly, and
        underlying trends will continue to the end of the financial year and latest
        forecasts project an overall deficit of around £30k for the full year. This
        includes a £15k exceptional item relating to staff costs of the catering
        operation transferring to the University. Additionally, the much needed
        internal development of the Students’ Union has begun and is contributing
        to a further loss of footfall and income. This includes a reduction in net
        income of £5k, a consequence of university exams having to be moved to
        another venue rather than the Students’ Union because of the potential for
        noise disruption during building work.

        It was noted that the Students’ Union is in discussion with its auditors on a
        potential additional exceptional item that will impact on the final year end      MW
        result. There is approximately £35k unamortised capital that relates to city
        site catering and retail assets on the balance sheet that should be written
        off in the current financial year as they have no realisable value on transfer
        of the operations to the University.

        It was noted the Students’ Union will continue to review costs very closely
        and seek to mitigate this loss by further cost control.                           MW

05/08   Capital Spending 2008-9

        The paper previously circulated titled “Capital Spending Proposals 2008”
        was noted.

           It was noted and agreed to increase the capital spending commitments in
           the draft budget for 2008-9 from £115,570 to £119,570 to allow for the
           purchase of poster display boards in the Halls of Residence’

           It was agreed to make the loan application of £105k to the University       MW
           repayable over three years and interest free
06/08      Retirement of June Robson

           It was noted that June Robson, Finance Assistant, would retire on the 8th   MW
           June 2008.

           It was agreed to appoint a new Finance Assistant on a temporary basis
           through NRG on Northumbria University supply terms. Subject to
           satisfactory references and successful completion of the initial 12 week
           assignment the employment would be made permanent subject to a
           further 14 weeks satisfactory probation.
07/08      Budget 2008-9

           It was agreed to increase variable staff costs in Marketing by £3,000 to
           allow for the distribution of posters to the new Halls Boards

08/08      Strategy & Guidance Document – Student Disciplinary Regulations

           The draft regulations were noted and agreed as amended.

09/08      SUSS Pension Scheme

           Reserved Business

10/08      AOB


Signed   ………………………………………………………………… (Chair of Trustees)

Date     ………………………………………………………………….


              Trustee Board Meeting

                 19th May 2008

               ACTION SUMMARY

No   Action                           Responsibility


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