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					The following Consultation Paper was distributed at the last Guild Council. It is imperative that the Executive Committee receive your feedback on this issue, as it will form the basis of our representation to the University. There will be discussion on this matter at the Guild Council meeting, so it is important for you to read this paper thoroughly and come prepared. Please have all comments to us in writing by Wednesday 12th November at 5pm. You can either deliver them to the PA to the President on the top floor of the Guild, or you can email president@bugs.bham.ac.uk Sports and Activities Fee Consultation Paper

In reading this paper, please be aware that it is being presented as a consultation paper. The Executive Committee want your opinions on the matter, and we therefore have no official standpoint. We feel that this issue is very important, and we would like to ask you for your feedback so we can represent your views. Background End August, the Guild was approached by the then Director for Sport with a proposal entitled „Sport at Birmingham‟. The paper outlined the funding needs of the Foundation for Sport over the next few years, specifically in light of the Government Agenda for Health and Physical Activity and proposed charging an annual fee to all students for sport. It did however not make any reference to Guild Sports Clubs. The Director for Sport was seeking our support for this proposal. The idea of a „fee‟ (termed differently depending on the context) is one that has been around for a while. The University have identified this as a (or the) solution to the Guild‟s funding gap. Indeed, it had been put to us that without an additional charge, it was highly unlikely any much-needed extra funding would be available. The proposal that was finally presented to the Foundation for Sport Board of Management was one that included references both to sport (on all levels) and to the Guild. We made it clear to the University and to the Foundation for Sport Board of Management that this was a reluctant decision. We outlined our concerns for student opinion and student hardship. We also stressed that we were proposing this to the Board of Management only to give a mandate for the idea to be investigated. Careful consideration is needed on all sides. The University agreed and asked us to engage in a consultation to gauge student

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opinion on the matter. The University are very keen to establish what students think of the proposal. This is the background to this consultation document. The following section details a bit more clearly what the proposal entails, mainly drawing text directly from the proposal. As it was presented to the Foundation for Sport Board of Management, it concentrates primarily on sports issues, but should be considered in the wider context outlined below. In the final section, the main considerations for the University and the Guild will be presented. Proposal Introduction In the last decade, the University has shown its support for sport by enabling provision of facilities, programmes, sports staff and support services for the benefit of students, staff and the community of South West Birmingham in particular, plus has taken a regional, national and international perspective. Alongside this, the Guild has continued to support sports clubs alongside other student groups and individuals with a range of activities and development opportunities that complement and enhance their academic studies. The Guild‟s aim is to create a high profile umbrella for all volunteer/citizenship activities, to take an active role in the establishment of Personal Development Planners and grow its contribution to student employability. For real progress to be made the Foundation and Guild must jointly:     Promote Promote Promote Promote Investment in Facilities the Government Agenda for Health and Physical Activity the Government Agenda for citizenship and volunteering the Government Agenda for employability and skills

Investment in Facilities Facilities are bursting at the seams. Even with some approved extensions, there will still be a huge shortage of facilities suitable for up to 30,00 people to accommodate planned expansion in participation. At present there are approximately 8,000 students, 2,000 staff and 2,000 community users of facilities. There is still a lot that can be done in terms of both quantity and quality of facilities. A ball part figure of cost for indoor facilities would be in the region of £20m. For outdoor facilities, some £10m, is yet to be funded. Whilst there will inevitably be some support from external sources towards the overall projection of £30m there does need to be a huge commitment to a self help strategy if we are to provide the range and quality of sports facilities expected by students at a 21st Century high performance University. Birmingham

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has fallen well behind a number of its competitors (academic, recreational/developmental and sporting) in provision of facilities for a variety of reasons. It is now time to address this situation. The Government Agenda The Department of Health appear to have no long-term strategy for the promotion of physical activity and spend only £710,000 on it out of a total health budget of £5.7 billion (0.001%). Research would seem to show that 20% of men and 23% of women are not just overweight, but obese. The number of children classified as obese has trebled in the last 20 years and the National Audit Office has estimated that obesity causes 30,000 deaths a year, and this figure is rising rapidly. The Annual Health Survey found that 75% of women and 63% of men fail to meet the government guidelines on physical activity of 30 minutes moderate exercise five times a week. Very few of our students meet this standard – the Foundation for Sport facilities at present only provide for 1/3 rd of our students. Then the arrival of Game Plan, a joint report by the Downing Street Policy Unit and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which has set an ambitious target of 70% of the population being physically active by 2020 (current stated level being 32%) and recognises the “golden thread” linking Health to Physical Activity to Recreation Opportunities to Sport. At present the University of Birmingham has no chance whatsoever of getting near such a target given the ratio of sports facilities to students (not including the needs of staff and community), as highlighted above in the investment in facilities section. The University of Birmingham student age range of 18-25 should present a huge opportunity to meet a 70% target. However, this would mean providing facilities and programmes for double the number of students to participate in physical activity. Equally, the government has set challenging agenda in relation to employability and skills development, citizenship and volunteering, which has a direct impact and opportunity for the Guild in collaboration with the wider University. None of this will be realised just through wishful thinking. Income Generation The majority of development opportunities have a cost implication to the University regardless of levels of use. Utilities have to be paid, staff costs are core, and grass pitches for sport have to be maintained. For sport, at the present time there is a far greater dependency on Athletic Union Clubs and their membership to pay the bulk of the cost, which in turn mitigates against the opportunity for the majority of students to take part in physical activity. The present principle for facility membership is for students to opt in rather than all being treated the same and leave students to choose not to use the service. Discussions with physically active students has led to the suggestions that the

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latter system of opting out would lead to greater participation particularly if a fee was charged to every student each year in the first place, and that there was a choice of how any one student could actually use the fee. The principle therefore is that every student would pay a small amount as an addition to central University fees and in return the benefits would be seen in new and improved facilities, expanded programmes of physical activity and personal development and skills training, and a move towards the principle of Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, bearing in mind that a healthier and fitter University population is generally more productive. So what would be the mechanism in practice?   Starting with Freshers only in the year of introduction an annual sports and activities fee of £120 would be charged which would give each student 120 credits (definite amount yet to be determined). Credits would then be distributed to relevant services. For example each student would use 35 credits for Munrow membership, which would eliminate the discrepancy between programme users, Athletic Union members and Cybex members as well as casual user and club user discrepancies. Each student would spend say 20 credits for programmes at the Guild. Each student could then use their credits to book a tennis court (3 credits), pay for exercise to music classes (15 credits per term), become a swimming pool member (20 credits a year), be an Athletic Union member (35 credits a year) and so on. Extended skills training days or weekends could also be developed and „bought‟ with credits over and above the existing training programme, which would remain free. Credits are given here as an example and would need to be finalised after further consideration and discussion. Any problem of student hardship would be dealt with by the Academic Registrar‟s Office as with other hardship problems. The fee would be collected as with other University fees with the same consequences.

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And what would be the benefits?      A more rounded education and skills base A healthier student population Enhancement of the student experience Establishment of a life-long habit of active lifestyles and life-long learning amongst Birmingham students Government targets for physical activity, skills development, employability, citizenship and volunteering a reality

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        

An average of £1m per year over a 15-20 year period to be used to develop the range and quality of new facilities commensurate with 21st century student requirements An income stream to repair and refurbish as necessary when the developments are completed More space for fitness facilities Expansion of the Intramural Programme Expansion of the Active Lifestyles Programme Expansion of student facilities in the Guild More coaching courses More opportunities for casual play Further support for present student clubs and an opportunity to increase the number of clubs and therefore the range of intervarsity competitive opportunities

Considerations for the University     Will students choose not to come to Birmingham because of the extra cost, or will they choose to come here because of the better opportunities, services and facilities? With a guaranteed income, loans could be taken out to start facility improvements immediately (i.e. students will benefit from year 1). It would allow the University to firmly secure its position as a leading sporting University. There would me more facilities and therefore a concentration of activity on campus.

Considerations for the Guild   What importance do we place on sport, physical health and personal development and skills? The Guild is running at a deficit for the 3rd year in a row. We cannot sustain this activity forever. It will come to a point where we either have to cut costs or find more money. The University have made it clear that they do not see any means to give us any more money. The difficult decision to cut services would be made even more difficult by the fact that it would be the welfare and student development services that would suffer. If we do not support the proposal, the University may go ahead anyway; students will be charged more, and the Guild will not have the money needed to fund its services. Should we object to this in principle, as it is an extra cost to students that they will not be able to opt out of?

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Pro More money to provide welfare services and student development Widening participation students would be able to build a more rounded education and skills base, therefore attracting them to Birmingham Could be compared to a public service (e.g. NHS, it benefits everyone but not everyone wants it) Better CVs, employers want more than „just‟ a degree

Con Student Hardship Widening participation students may be put off by the extra cost

Taking choice away from students

Potentially in conflict with current policy on top-up fees

Please let us know what you think. Take a few minutes out of your day to email your questions, concerns and/or comments to President@bugs.bham.ac.uk Thank you, The Executive Committee

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