As a part of becoming UCDSU Ltd, the Students’ Union is implementing a four-year plan for their services, focusing mainly on the various SU shops located across campus, reports Katie Hughes.
SU President Pat de Brún stated that the plan was to be implemented due to the election of new SU Officers every year not equating to “anything commercial”, as long-term planning and management is required.
The SU shops will be the main focus of the plan, “we will draw up a plan of where we want to get to in terms of targets, what we want to be supplying, what each shop will look like. It might involve a capital investment of changing the look of the shops, changing the focus of the shops and making sure that they’re performing to the best of their abilities.”
No definite changes have been decided upon yet, but according to de Brún, external retail experts have been offering recommendations so “we’re taking that on board.”
Installing delis in the shops and supplying more groceries are ideas the SU is looking at implementing, “We’re trying to find out what the market is and what exactly we should be providing so that over the course of the next number of years we’re providing the best possible service to students, but at the same time we’re being a sustainable service with reasonable margins for the Union.”
De Brún does not see foresee any of the shops closing or further redundancies being made, “but nothing can be ruled out, the state of our services wing, the way it was left – there is large change necessary, very comprehensive change across the board. Some of [the changes] will be fantastic and some of them will be more difficult. We don’t know exactly where we are quite yet in terms of those plans.”
De Brún has also put forward a proposal to both the Forum Club Committee and the Student Club Committee that the student bars should be incorporated as companies, “I’m in favour of the bars incorporating as companies, not under the Union control.” This proposal has been met with some resistance from the respective committees.
De Brún stated that he understood why resistance would be encountered, “some people would not want to do that because … it would involve those people on the committees being directors and there are certain owner’s responsibilities involved, so I can understand people’s opposition.”
De Brún maintained that the move would provide a more sustainable, proper structure for the bars. His main reason for the proposal was the obligation to produce accounts every year, “it’s a legal obligation as opposed to what it is currently – yes it’s in the Bar Constitution but it doesn’t have legal standing whereas this would … I think [this would help us] to learn from the mistakes of the last few years.”
A Student Club Committee meeting due to take place yesterday was to focus on the financial status of the Student Club, according to de Brún, “the accounts are nearly formalised, we asked for some baseline P and L, profit loss figures, so we should see exactly how much the bar is making or losing. Hopefully, that’s what we requested, so I’m hopeful we’ll get to see that.”
The establishing of UCDSU Ltd is nearly complete and is to be finalised in the next couple of weeks. According to de Brún, “it’s not something that really needs to be rushed, it’s just something I’d like to get done before the end of term.”