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Delevoping a good practice framework for student complaints - Bethan Payne
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Delevoping a good practice framework for student complaints - Bethan Payne

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  • Many thanks for giving us the opportunity to close this year’s AMSU Conference. Congratulations to Loughborough and the CoCo As Gemma has said we have been going through difficult times at NUS over the past two months as we’ve undertaken a re-structure which results in a net loss of 20 staff, and it’s been nice for the past few days to have been amongst friends and colleagues. I do believe we are through the worst but I’d like to say thank you to all of you who have sent supportive comments to us. You should know that every difficult decision we have made has been taken in order to significantly raise our game so we are adding real value to our members - students’ unions - and so we are all ultimately delivering for students. I will explain more about the re-structure shortly but for those of you who didn’t attend any of NUS’ strategic conversation events earlier in the year this presentation title may seem a little odd – so I’ll try and give you some context. For those of you who were at the strategic conversation events I promise not to go on about elephants any more after today. But first here is a picture of me wrestling an elephant.
  • Turning Problems into Solutions – 30 Mins Tutor Talk Traditionally one thing that campaigning organisations have struggled with is actually understanding the problem that they are trying to solve. One of the ways in which we have attempted to engage with MPs and policy makers is approach them and ask them to ‘take up the issue’. What we are starting to understand, and are getting better at is identifying that policy makers need specifics, they need to know the cause of the problem, evidence of what effects the problem are having and some suggested solutions. In students’ unions this can be hard. Quite often student officers think about the ‘actions’ that they want to see on campus, and want to carry out big visual stunts on campus. There is nothing wrong with this at all, but if they don’t happen at the right place in the campaign cycle then they can however well attended, miss the point of the campaign. We however have to try and think of things in terms of policy terms, and how to create change – whilst balancing out this need to engage the membership etc. We know that in reality that whilst a strong movement of people can be persuasive and act as a pressure on issues – that unless the analysis, policy understanding and solutions are right here is no point I having a day of action, getting some balloons or having any for of demonstration. This is the hardest thing to convince people of because certain groups in your union don’t actually care about policy solutions, they don’t actually want to change institutional or government policy for the better, but they do believe that direct action will somehow change things. If you add these voices to the fact that policy complexity really fazes people, then we know that sometimes it is not easy to work out what is going on. The questions that we are trying to answer are: (ON PPT) What is the nature of the problems that you wish to solve? What are their causes and consequences? What is the range of possible solutions available to you? For the education funding campaign we looked at the reasons behind the introduction of tuition fees. Why were they brought in? What was the problem that tuition fees the solution to? We need to analyse the problem, those involved in addressing the problem and look for opportunities in the process of resolving that problem. (PPT) The core of the problem was that the numbers of people going to university had increased dramatically from an average of 5,000 people in the 1970-1980’s to a six fold increase to 30,000 people every year, while this was happening to student numbers. (PPT) Public funding for student places at it’s highest in the 70’s was 11,000 per full time equivalent however this has steadily decreased as student numbers have risen to a low of 6,000. The introduction of tuition fees stemmed that downwards trend by provided additional funding to the sector. (PPT) Opportunity 2009 review Wasn’t a range of solutions available to us, so we have to broaden that landscape, demonstrate that another HE funding system is possible. The Blue print helps us demonstrate that other solutions are possible and we can now seek to explore them. Activity We’re going to create a problem tree to investigate this further : Problem Tree’s: Talk & Activity – draw up on flip. Identify clearly what the Problem is that you are trying to solve. What are the causes of this problem? There may be several inter-related causes or just one. Map put causes. What are the ‘on the ground’ consequences of this problem, How does it affect students? (go back PPT to slides 2 and 3) Hand out a scenario to each group. After 5 minutes – ask the groups to come back together Turning problem Tree’s into Solution Tree’s: Tutor Talk and Activity – draw up on flip We then need to discuss the ideal solution that you want to achieve. Write vision – what we are trying to create and stick that over the problem. For each of the causes of the problem – discuss and identify a potential solution. The following questions may help: What policy or practice would need to change for the solution to be reached? What specifically needs to happen? Who can bring about the change? For example government, parliament, civil servants and doners. Stick the solutions over the causes. Now discuss how the solution would improve the situation. What would the positive outcomes be? What these outcomes and stick them over the consequences box. In doing this your problem tree is now a solution tree. Give them 5 mins to turn their problem tree’s into solutions trees. 5 minutes to talk about learning points for this section as one big group. Explore the problems and solutions and what criteria you would consider for choosing a strategy to enact.
  • Turning Problems into Solutions – 30 Mins Tutor Talk Traditionally one thing that campaigning organisations have struggled with is actually understanding the problem that they are trying to solve. One of the ways in which we have attempted to engage with MPs and policy makers is approach them and ask them to ‘take up the issue’. What we are starting to understand, and are getting better at is identifying that policy makers need specifics, they need to know the cause of the problem, evidence of what effects the problem are having and some suggested solutions. In students’ unions this can be hard. Quite often student officers think about the ‘actions’ that they want to see on campus, and want to carry out big visual stunts on campus. There is nothing wrong with this at all, but if they don’t happen at the right place in the campaign cycle then they can however well attended, miss the point of the campaign. We however have to try and think of things in terms of policy terms, and how to create change – whilst balancing out this need to engage the membership etc. We know that in reality that whilst a strong movement of people can be persuasive and act as a pressure on issues – that unless the analysis, policy understanding and solutions are right here is no point I having a day of action, getting some balloons or having any for of demonstration. This is the hardest thing to convince people of because certain groups in your union don’t actually care about policy solutions, they don’t actually want to change institutional or government policy for the better, but they do believe that direct action will somehow change things. If you add these voices to the fact that policy complexity really fazes people, then we know that sometimes it is not easy to work out what is going on. The questions that we are trying to answer are: (ON PPT) What is the nature of the problems that you wish to solve? What are their causes and consequences? What is the range of possible solutions available to you? For the education funding campaign we looked at the reasons behind the introduction of tuition fees. Why were they brought in? What was the problem that tuition fees the solution to? We need to analyse the problem, those involved in addressing the problem and look for opportunities in the process of resolving that problem. (PPT) The core of the problem was that the numbers of people going to university had increased dramatically from an average of 5,000 people in the 1970-1980’s to a six fold increase to 30,000 people every year, while this was happening to student numbers. (PPT) Public funding for student places at it’s highest in the 70’s was 11,000 per full time equivalent however this has steadily decreased as student numbers have risen to a low of 6,000. The introduction of tuition fees stemmed that downwards trend by provided additional funding to the sector. (PPT) Opportunity 2009 review Wasn’t a range of solutions available to us, so we have to broaden that landscape, demonstrate that another HE funding system is possible. The Blue print helps us demonstrate that other solutions are possible and we can now seek to explore them. Activity We’re going to create a problem tree to investigate this further : Problem Tree’s: Talk & Activity – draw up on flip. Identify clearly what the Problem is that you are trying to solve. What are the causes of this problem? There may be several inter-related causes or just one. Map put causes. What are the ‘on the ground’ consequences of this problem, How does it affect students? (go back PPT to slides 2 and 3) Hand out a scenario to each group. After 5 minutes – ask the groups to come back together Turning problem Tree’s into Solution Tree’s: Tutor Talk and Activity – draw up on flip We then need to discuss the ideal solution that you want to achieve. Write vision – what we are trying to create and stick that over the problem. For each of the causes of the problem – discuss and identify a potential solution. The following questions may help: What policy or practice would need to change for the solution to be reached? What specifically needs to happen? Who can bring about the change? For example government, parliament, civil servants and doners. Stick the solutions over the causes. Now discuss how the solution would improve the situation. What would the positive outcomes be? What these outcomes and stick them over the consequences box. In doing this your problem tree is now a solution tree. Give them 5 mins to turn their problem tree’s into solutions trees. 5 minutes to talk about learning points for this section as one big group. Explore the problems and solutions and what criteria you would consider for choosing a strategy to enact.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Bethan Payne, Higher Education ConsultantWorking with your students’ union advisers
    • 2. AimTo develop ideas about how you could improve yourcomplaints process through working with students’union advisers
    • 3. Initial discussion In what ways do you currently work with your SUadvice center? What are the challenges/issues you have whendoing this? What are the advantages of a student seeing an SUadviser?Stick your post-it notes to the relevant flip-chart
    • 4. Complaints cycle
    • 5. Who does what?• What do you do?• What does the SU adviser do?• What are the challenges/difficulties?
    • 6. Solutions How could you work with your advice centre tosolve the problems identified?
    • 7. Action Write down one thing you are going to do with youradvice centre when you get back to the office
    • 8. Thank you for your timebethan.payne@nus.org.uk
    • 9. Thank you for your timebethan.payne@nus.org.uk

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