Governance reforms

Futureproofing the Association to support students for years to come.

2022 marks the Open University Students Association’s 50th year. And having worked hard to represent OU students for the last 50 years, we want to ensure the Association is fit for purpose to deliver positive student experiences for our members and future members for the next 50 years.

In early 2021, the Open University Students Association’s Board of Trustees commissioned an external review of its governance, led by Almond Tree Strategic Consulting. We are now pleased to be able to share the full report, including findings and recommendations, with our membership.

The Board of Trustees, which has responsibility for ensuring effective governance, has considered the report from the Governance Review. The Board believes that making the recommended changes is incredibly important because our mission is to make a positive difference for all OU students. To do this we need to ensure that we are:

? living the Association’s values

? increasing accountability and transparency within our governance structures

? striving to make the Association more accessible for our members

The Governance Review recommends making significant changes to make our student leadership and representation structure more accessible, increasing our ability to represent effectively currently under-represented groups, while reducing complexity in our processes. Additionally, the report recommends replacing our biennial OU Students Association Conference with a more traditional annual general meeting (AGM), providing members with a more regular opportunity to debate policy positions and company law business.

Have your say

As these are major changes, we want to hear from our members about how we should take forward these recommendations, and how we can best create an OU Students Association that delivers for all OU students.

We will therefore be carrying out a wide-ranging consultation between 23 August – 11 September 2021 where we hope to hear from student members past and present, from longstanding volunteers and those who have not previously engaged with us, and especially from those who feel that the OU Students Association could be doing more to represent their views.

  • On 23 August, an online survey will launch for two weeks. Participants will be entered into a prize draw to win one of 30 shopping vouchers worth £50 or £25.
  • From 6 September we will be running a week-long series of focus groups with specific groups of students that we want to hear from.
  • The Open University’s office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor-Students will also be supporting our consultation by gathering perspectives from the Student Consultation Panel.
  • Additionally, if you would like to email any comments directly to the Association for our consideration, please send them to

Please look out for these opportunities to have your say on our website, in our forums and on our social media platforms:

This marks a point in the Association’s history where we have a real opportunity to make sweeping changes that improve our ability to connect with and represent our members, a chance to make hugely positive changes to our culture and reach, and a time to be bold in re-thinking and re-designing the Association as we enter our 50th year.

We hope you will support us to deliver these improvements for ALL OU Students by providing your views and comments during the consultation period.

Sarah Jones
OU Students Association President