How To Directory

What is a handover?

A handover is the process of preparing your successor for their year ahead by helping them share in the experiences and knowledge that you've gained in your position. Committees who receive proper handovers are usually more successful than those who do not.

If you received a good handover you will understand this, because of the amount it helped you into your role. If you received no handover or a bad handover you should be able to understand it, because you undoubtedly faced difficulties at the start which prevented you from being effective in your role for the first part of the year. If you receive a strong handover, then you have a great head-start and thus can make a real difference from the start.

How important are they?

Massively! The most important thing that you can do to ensure the future success of your student group or area is by setting them up with a strong handover. This is your opportunity to help them build on any mistakes that you've made, AND carrying on any great successes that you've started. A good handover takes time and a lot of effort, but it will be the best project that you can do all year. It is also massively rewarding for the predecessor, as this handover process gives you a great example to reflect on your own strengths and learn to articulate your successes.

What will you achieve here?

There are three main sections for you to fill out from this page:

1) Show your successor what it is that you actually do, so for this we have the 'key information' form. This is something that you can download, fill in, and then send over to your successor. If you're a new committee member and haven't yet received a handover, send your predecessor this form to fill in.

2) Give some key advice about your experiences over the year – with the 'what did you learn?' form. This is something that you can download, fill in, and then send over to your successor. If you're a new committee member and haven't yet received a handover, send your predecessor this form to fill in.

3) Reflect on your year and how you've been supported as a volunteer in our 'personal development' survey. This is to help SUSU better support volunteers each year by learning about the training that you've found most useful and where you felt that you needed more support.

What else is there?

Once you've filled in the two forms above, print these out and book some time with your successor to go through them. It's important to get this information written down, as you won't be around forever, but it is still very useful to explain your thoughts in person, especially to give your successor a chance to ask questions.

You can also book some time for the following:

  • A shadowing day, so that your successor can see your day-to-day work.
  • Meetings and introductions with the relevant Union / University staff and other volunteers that they will be working with next year.
  • Talking through your successor's strategic aims for the year, so that you can give your feedback on them based on your experiences.
  • If you had a year plan; run through it with your successor. Discuss what you achieved, what you couldn't achieve and why. 

Are you an outgoing President / Head?

If you're the outgoing head of a student group, then you'll want to organise a committee-to-committee handover, on top of a handover to the next head. This usually works best in person with as many current and incoming members from the committee attending as possible. This section will head you prepare and structure this session. You will want to include:

  • Some team building games – a quick online search can find a multitude of different ice-breakers and team building activities. You want the incoming committee to begin to get to know each other and feel comfortable.
  • The purpose of your student group or committee – help the incoming committee understand the key aims that have helped guide your committee for the year. Is it to bring people together socially? To educate? Volunteer? Build Community? Fundraise? Compete and achieve? Perform? A specific output?
  • History – understanding the history and context of the student group can help give responsibility to the incoming committee.

This can also be a time to go through a timeline for the year ahead, the ideas and individual aims of the incoming committee, good working practices, team values, showing them where Student Activities is, etc.