During a group discussion regarding the creation of a Funding Policy, the following key points were made:
- A key problem with the current funding process is that it appears to be very inconsistent across Zones, as well as years.
- There was concern over the number of funding meetings officers are attending as it may start impacting on studies.
- The timings of the funding meetings were discussed; having the first one in September is not ideal as many students are not back at University.
- The group also discussed which committees should be dealing with funding applications. Chris asked how the group felt about having the Student Groups Committee over see funding applications instead of the Zones; this would help tackle the inconsistencies that have arisen. The general consensus was that this would not be ideal and it should stay within Zones.
- To ensure funding is dealt with consistently, there should be guidelines that cover all Zones and, perhaps for special cases, each Zone should have 'sub-guidelines' specific to them.
- There is a huge disparity between the amount of money each zone is allocated for funding student groups, with Sports Development Zone receiving the most and Education Zone receiving the least.
- Due to the limited amount of funding available, the group queried whether it is possible for SUSU to follow up on successful applications to see how the money was spent. Chris suggested the possibility of asking groups for financial reports at the end of the year.
- The group generally thought that student groups need more information and training on how to cope with the finances of a group and budget correctly to ensure the group is sustainable. Your Skills sessions are available for students, as well as drop in sessions, however the take up on these are low and the group considered that they perhaps do not fully prepare students.
- There should be an Appeals system where student groups, whose applications for funding have failed, are able to appeal the decision.
Megan provided an update on the SUSU Bank for Student groups; John Mills has said that the finance team currently do not have the capacity to provide this service, they are awaiting the return of a staff member with the aim of hopefully rolling out this service around Easter time.
- The group considered that a strong policy covering the allocation of funds to groups, which applies across Zones, along with the implementation of the SUSU bank, would solve a lot of concerns surrounding allocating funds to groups according to their need, and ensuring that groups spend funds on the items they have been allocated for.