University of Westminster Students' Union

uwsu logo v2Building on their future

Westminster Students’ Union (“UWSU”) is an independent membership-led organisation
representing all University of Westminster (“UoW”) students. Their strategic aims are centred
around four core pillars:

1. Voice: to ensure that every student can confidently elicit change in their student journey through
empowerment, support, innovative voice, and democratic structures. 

2. Wellbeing: to empower students and build their resilience through the delivery of inclusive and
all-encompassing support. 

3. Enterprise: to co-create and deliver relevant opportunities for students that include diverse
ambitions, ideas, and projects. 

4. Lifestyle: to engage students fully in the Union’s activities to ensure they can develop, formalise,
and articulate employability skills gained through participation.

Michael Wigg is the Chief Executive and it is his role to work closely with the Executive Sabbatical Officers and ensure effective management of the Students’ Union. The leadership team are currently one year into a bold and ambitious strategy. They are developing and delivering exciting plans for the future, all focused on delivering UWSU’s mission: “Our Wellbeing. Our Voice. Our Community.” This includes driving awareness of the union’s services, implementing an identifiable brand that resonates with the members, developing a cross union governance programme, and building reserves (watch this space for ambitious capital programmes to improves the union’s social spaces).

A deep understanding

Michael takes up the story:

It was only last year that we started working with Goodman Jones but we have seen immediate benefits, especially to our governance procedures. The team not only brought an understanding of the issues surrounding Students’ Unions, but they also brought a refreshing additional depth and best practice from the wider charity sector that has enabled us to challenge ourselves and our practices thoroughly. It meant we had to make some changes, but it was exactly what we wanted and needed to do. Martin and the team held our hands throughout and helped us to design the new systems and procedures required.

Business As Unusual

The impact of COVID-19 on students has been challenging, and UWSU has also had to adopt our role, our services, and how we deliver them in these uncertain times. It was great that Martin set up the roundtable event for other chief execs of Students’ Unions so we could share our challenges and ideas; that was very timely and valuable. As we look forward to our future plans we are talking closely with Martin and the team about new issues that we need to be prepared for.

Challenging Governance

Martin Bailey, specialist charity partner at Goodman Jones, said:

It has been an absolute joy working with UWSU over the last year and I’m delighted that Michael and his team have benefited from the work we have done with them. Students’ Unions are interesting and unique organisations: they are independent from but closely related to the university and have Boards of Trustees led by member-elected sabbatical officers who are thrust into key roles running multi-million pound income charities for the first time. In fact, trustees actively running the day-to-day operations as paid officers is rare in the charity sector. It may be an unusual and at times challenging governance structure, but this is what makes working with them and supporting them all the more enjoyable.

Michael finishes the story:

I have been very impressed with what a personal experience it is to be a Goodman Jones client. We have really appreciated the level of communication and responsiveness, but most of all, the time invested to understand and then support us.