A new strategic plan at Westminster Students’ Union is leading to big improvements for students. The new strategy has been built upon intelligence generated by Alterline into the lives and needs of students’ and has already secured over £400,000 investment to improve the social spaces on offer at one of the Unions central London locations.
“The project has been massively successful for the Union. We have not only managed to build confidence in the organisation but have received significant financial investment as a result of the intelligence that has been provided by Alterline.”
Michael Wigg, Chief Executive of Westminster Students’ Union
Alterline’s intelligence report highlighted a number of priority areas for the strategic plan. However, the Union were particularly concerned that measures relating to students’ social experiences, and the impact the Union has in this area, were much lower than the benchmarks for other Union’s who are part of Alterline’s Student Life Pulse. Whilst the historically held view was that the Union should not prioritise social spaces as it’s hard to compete with the broader central London offer, insight from the survey and qualitative research showed that students are keen to have their ‘own space’ and the fresh investment will help provide spaces that develop the student community on campus.
According to the Union, the insight provided by Alterline has been key to the strategic planning project’s succes. According to Michael Wigg, Chief Executive at the Union, the report is “exceptional and of the highest quality” and has “worked for our wide range of stakeholders and audiences allowing the Union and the University to have complete confidence in the results.”
Prior to the project, the Union lacked a clear strategic direction and needed to better understand its members and their different needs to develop with confidence. Alterline generated the fresh insight through an online survey based upon the Student Life Pulse question set, followed by an innovative online qualitative community. The report builds a picture of students’ lives across their academic experiences, wellbeing, social lives and employability. The survey also helped the union to understand their members’ current interactions with the Union and their needs and priorities going forward. Alongside the investment in social space, the university has already secured commitment from the University in principle to:
- Develop a Student Voice dashboard in partnership with the University using the insight provided via Alterline’s Student Life Pulse that will ensure colleagues across the University
- Fund an advisor specialising in accommodation to support students in the private rented sector.
- Write off a significant historic debt based upon the production of the clear strategic direction and measurable performance improvement
Whilst the new strategic plan is a major step forward, the real challenge begins as the plan is implented over the next few years. The Union will be using Alterline’s Student Life Pulse to monitor their members lives and capture feedback on their efforts on a monthly basis, with the quarterly Pulse reports helping to guide their contiuned improvements and put student voice at the heart of desicion-making.