As we kick off a new year, and we start welcoming new members to KCLSU, we wanted to share our reflections after a busy 2021/22 academic year as members of the Officer Accountability Panel (AP).
We are fully aware that some students may not be aware of what the AP is, so it is probably best that we start there.
We are a five-person panel, formed of students that volunteer our own time to hold our KCLSU Officers accountable in the following four areas:
- Impacting students’ experience
- Working with students
- Representing students
- Engaging and informing students
The AP represents all King’s students and holds all the Student Officers to account on what they promise to deliver for you, the students at King’s. Through meetings and discussions, the AP provides the Student Officers with support and feedback from the student body, as well as consider their progress in delivering their manifesto pledges and campaigns.
We play a critical role on behalf of the student body, to ensure proper representation of the student voice. We believe that we owe the student body at King’s full transparency so you can continue to place their trust in us, to represent, advocate and support you.
Reflecting on last year’s officer team and the work of the AP, it is the opinion of the AP and Lay Trustees of KCLSU’s Board that the 2021-22 officer team failed to engage with the AP and process of accountability properly and professionally. This includes patterns of behaviour such as failing to submit reports, missing report deadlines and meetings, lack of meeting etiquette, verbalizing frustrations about other officers and failure to take on board any feedback or advice from the AP which showed a lack of engagement and respect for the AP.
As members of the AP, we have a critical role to hold elected officers to account. If progress is not going well, we could recommend a vote of no confidence to the KCLSU Board of Trustees. Due to our concerns as a panel, we did begin to discuss a vote of no confidence in the 2021-22 student officers. However, given their term of office was coming to an end, we felt this would have limited impact to the officers and would be counter-productive to the incoming 2022-23 officer team and their induction and handover period. This is the only reason the AP chose not to pursue this motion.
Thus, having reflected on the experience last year, in the spirit of transparency we wanted to share our thoughts with all students at King’s, that the AP and Officers both represent. As members of the AP, we are committed to the belief that KCLSU Officers have the potential to make a tremendous impact to the students at King’s. We believe they can be drivers of great change and are absolutely crucial for the student voice to be heard, acknowledged, and valued. By holding officers to account, we help ensure that they are taking the responsibility of their roles seriously and representing the very students that voted for them and elected them to be our student officers.
Looking to the future, we are excited to work with new 2022/23 Student Office team and have already met and shared our reflections with them to emphasise the importance of the AP, so they are fully aware of the importance of the role and collaborative potential of the AP.
We are very aware that it is imperative that as students at Kings, our KCLSU Officers represent us, advocate for us, and affect change on our behalf. Where this has not been the case, it is our responsibility to highlight this in the hopes that lessons can be learned for the 2022/23 officers, with whom we look forward to working in a close partnership with.
The Officer Accountability Panel