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Who we are

Kent Union was set up in 1965, when a small group of students from the University of Kent got together to represent all the other students on campus. We’ve grown a bit since then but the purpose of our organisation is the same. We exist to ensure all students of the University of Kent have a voice, fulfil their potential and to support their academic interests.

We are a registered charity. Our purpose is to empower students at the University of Kent. All the money we make is reinvested in the services we provide students of the University of Kent.

We represent a collective voice of over 20,000 students, led by five elected Full-Time Officers and overseen by a Trustee Board. This ensures we always have the needs of students of the University of Kent at the heart of what we do.

Our provision in Medway

Greenwich and Kent Students’ Unions Together (GK Unions) is a partnership between Kent Union and the Students’ Union of the University of Greenwich. This partnership represents Greenwich and Kent students who are studying at the Medway campus, providing great activities and running essential services on the Medway campus.

 

How we work

Kent Union is run by students for students. There are three sections of our organisation that work together to ensure we run smoothly. It’s easier to explain by the diagram on the left.

Our Representation

You can get involved to ensure that all students studying at Kent have a voice within Kent Union, the University and also in our local community. Whether you want to improve your degree, help shape what we do, change how the University works or make something better in our local community, we are here to help.

Our Operations

Please email kentunion@kent.ac.uk for any contact details you may need of Kent Union staff.

Our Governance

Our Board of Trustees exists to oversee the running of Kent Union. It is made up of the 5 sabbatical officers, 4 external trustees and 4 student trustees. Our Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of Kent Union, ensuring we are solvent, well-run and delivering our objectives. Our Board meets four times a year and holds an annual residential meeting as well.

The Board is responsible for signing off the Strategic Plan which sets the direction of Kent Union. It also ensures that we comply with charity law. Our Trustees are legally responsible for ensuring that everything we do is in the best interests of our members.

Meet the Kent Union Board

Jane Christie - STUDENT TRUSTEE

Jane is a mature PhD student at Kent Business School researching how complex issues can be structured and modelled by government analysts and other consultants to support executive decision-making. She is a qualified accountant with many years of international business experience. She has plenty of student experience, having studied at other universities as a full-time, part-time, evening, online, and international student, and founded a thriving student society. For Kent she is a student representative for the South East Doctoral Training Centre, sings in the University Chorus, and is an Academic Ambassador. She also enjoys volunteering.

Maisha Shareef - STUDENT TRUSTEE

Maisha is currently a third year Politics and International Relations Student. Throughout her time at University Maisha has taken part in societies; Amnesty International and Kent Labour Students, all whilst working to complete her studies. Maisha says that being elected as a Student Trustee this year has been a gratifying experience, one in which she has been able to not only develop her interpersonal skills and build confidence, but it has also provided an opportunity to work with individuals from a variety of different backgrounds; fellow students, external, experienced trustees and the Sabbatical Officers, as well as staff at Kent Union. Maisha believes it is an excellent opportunity to really have your voice heard and make sure the Union works for the best of the student body.

Claire Sutherland - EXTERNAL TRUSTEE

Claire has been involved in change and communication for the past 25 years focussing on helping people to navigate personal and organisational change, working with a number of high-profile public and private sector organisations, including several FTSE100 companies. Clients include Alstom Grid, HM Prison Service, HM Revenue & Customs, Goodrich, IMI plc, Universities of Aston, Surrey and Warwick, Barclaycard, Severn Trent Water, Sainsbury, NFU Mutual, National Grid and LVMH, delivering emotional intelligence, coaching, communication and performance management programmes and leadership development.

She has an MBA, is qualified in MBTI and other psychometric instruments. She has a Diploma in Management Coaching & Mentoring, certificate in Transactional Analysis, Cert in Sport Psychology, is an NLP practitioner, and a founder member of the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology.

Neil Thornburn - EXTERNAL TRUSTEE

Neil is an experienced digital professional with both agency and multi-national corporate experience creating and implementing all aspects of digital strategy. Following a degree in Applied Psychology and Computing, Neil developed in-depth experience conceptualising, planning and managing digital business and transformation strategies to drive objectives for global organisations; Universal Pictures, Halifax, Nintendo, the NHS, Lafarge, Disney, The Open University, Warner Bros. and JK Rowling.

Past roles include Head of Digital Business for Smiths Medical and leading digital transformation at the RNLI. Neil is VP Head of Digital UK and EMEA at J.P. Morgan one of the world’s largest financial organisations. Neil’s expertise include global digital strategy, digital marketing, campaign conceptualisation support/development, mobile strategy, eCommerce, digital governance/policy development, information architecture (IA), user experience (UX), human-computer interaction, social media strategy/planning, analytics, SEO, PPC, enterprise WCMS and CRM solutions management.

In his spare time Neil enjoys volunteering for charitable causes, road cycling, sailing & travelling.

Peter Gingell - EXTERNAL TRUSTEE

Peter is a qualified accountant who has been a student of three universities, studying different subjects and achieving a BA, Post-Graduate Diploma and MBA. He believes that you never stop learning and wants to help Kent Union support its members to gain the most from their university experience.

Over his career of more than 35 years, Peter has worked in senior finance roles for a number of large, international companies in a variety of industries. These include EMEA for CBRE, Wichford PLC, and Seymour Pierce Ltd. He started his career at Blue Circle Industries before moving to George Wimpey.

Peter is currently working as a consultant to DS Smith running some Mergers and Acquisitions projects. His areas of expertise include corporate governance and commercial real estate as well as accounting.

 
 

Board Information

What has our Board worked on?

Over the last eighteen months, our Board has worked on developing the themes and targets within our Strategic Plan 2014 – 17. The Trustees have also developed our new purpose. HR policies for our staff have been developed and the Board was also central to our decision to move our Jobshop service. Currently our Board is working on plans for our new Union buildings in both Medway and Canterbury.

Hold the Board to account
Our Board is ultimately accountable to all members of Kent Union. That means you are able to influence the work of the Board in a number of different ways.

Contact your Full-Time Officer Team
Your Officers are your elected representatives but they also act as Trustees for Kent Union as a charity. Find out more about them here. If you want to ask the Board a question email your Union President on union-president@kent.ac.uk

Removal of a Trustee
If you believe a Kent Union Trustee should be removed from office there is a set procedure you should follow. Before following this procedure you may wish to contact your Union President on union-president@kent.ac.uk to discuss your concerns.

Annual General Meeting
You can hold the Board and all its Trustees to account by attending our Annual General Meeting. To find out when our next AGM is, please email kentunion@kent.ac.uk. You’ll also get an opportunity to discuss the work of Kent Union and sign off our accounts.

Download Documents

ByelawsOur Constitution Delegation of Authority Board of Trustees Terms of Reference AGM Minutes 2015
 
 

Committees & Minutes

Committees

Appointments and Governance Committee
The Appointments and Governance Committee meets twice a year and has delegated authority for appointing, inducting, supporting and developing the Chief Executive, Student Trustees and External Trustees and sabbatical officers. It is responsible for promoting good governance and reviewing the Union's governance arrangements.

The Finance and Risk Committee
The Finance and Risk Committee has delegated responsibility on behalf of the Board of Trustees for ensuring that the Union complies with relevant legislation and regulations; acts in accordance with the Union's mission, vision and values; that the Union remains solvent and in sound financial health; and for analysing and managing the Union's overall risk profile.

Human Resources Committee
HR Committee has delegated responsibility for ensuring that Kent Union is an outstanding employer, has a highly motivated, engaged workforce and excels at volunteer management. It recommends and oversees the implementation of Kent Union’s People Strategy. It is responsible for ensuring the Union is effective at attracting and retaining talented staff, paying due regard to utilising the Union’s resources as effectively as possible.

Campaigns and Policy Committee
Campaigns and Policy Committee has delegated responsibility for overseeing the Union’s priority campaigns and general campaigning activity. It ensures that Kent Union is effective at empowering students to have a voice. It oversees the Union’s democratic structures and processes to increase democratic engagement amongst Union members.

Remuneration Committee
Remuneration Committee ensures that the Union's reward package is effective at attracting and retaining talented staff and officers, whilst paying due regard to utilising the Union's limited resources as effectively as possible.

 

Minutes

Download Documents

Financial Statements

Financial Statements - 2015-2016 Summary Financial Statements - 2015-16 Full
Financial Statements - 2014-2015 Summary Financial Statements - 2014-2015 Full
Why does Kent Union need reserves? Remuneration Policy

Governance Policies and Procedures Appointments and Governance Committee Terms of Reference Finance and Risk Committee Terms of Reference Campaigns and Marketing Committee Terms of Reference Remuneration Committee Terms of Reference
Student Disciplinary Procedure

FAQs

  • What is a students’ union?

  • How do I become a member of Kent Union?

  • I study at the University of Kent but I’m not a member of Kent Union. Can I still use your services?

  • How is Kent Union funded?

  • Is Kent Union a charity?

  • Who runs Kent Union?

  • What does Kent Union do in Medway?

  • How do I get my username, password and email account?

  • Is Kent Union part of the University?

  • Where is the Union building?

  • What happens to the money I spend in Kent Union Outlets?

  • What else does Kent Union do?

  • How can I make a change to Kent Union?

  • How can I make a complaint about Kent Union?

  • How can I log onto the Kent Union website?

  • What is a Sabbatical or Full Time Officer?