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Exciting times ahead for CUBO

CUBO seeks to sharpen its focus in response to challenging times in the HE sector

Posted by Hannah Vickers | March 22, 2017 | Finance, legal, HR

At times of change its critically important that member associations are nimble and responsive. In this context and in light of the significant changes in higher education over the past couple of years the College and University Business Officers (CUBO) Executive commissioned a complete strategic review of the association’s activities, responsibilities and future direction. 

CUBO members represent a significant part of HE business. Member’s departments contribute c.6% of the income of UK universities, a sizeable £1.95bn for 2014/2015, which has increased by around 30% over the last five years. Maintaining a sharp focus on the support needed for members, at a time when they are being asked to continue to grow their commercial performance as well as deliver a significant strand of the wider campus experience, is never more important for CUBO.

As a consequence the 2016 strategic review undertook to evaluate the fundamental role, structure and function of the association. The core aims of the review were to survey members and stakeholders about how CUBO could best support and interact with them, to review the Executive structure and resources, consider future governance models, for example the potential to become a limited company, and to consider how CUBO might lift its performance in engaging with its partners and the wider HE sector.

A survey, alongside member and stakeholder interviews, highlighted a number of key themes as being important to the association: the opportunity to network and share best practice, benchmarking data, sharing research and developing commercial opportunities. These key themes have become instrumental to the Executive’s short-term objectives and shaping a long-term vision for CUBO.

CUBO is confident that this restructured operating framework and new CEO will create the springboard needed to take us into the future

The review also provided an opportunity for CUBO to re-establish a common framework of activity in informing and influencing sector and legislative bodies, highlighting best practice, ensuring legal and financial compliance, sector-leading research, positive commercial partnerships and clear strategic thinking. CUBO aims to be a clearer and louder voice in the sector, championing the work of its members and advocating their contribution.

New structure, new company

It was clear that an entirely new structure was required to enable the current team to achieve the key objectives coming out of the review. After considerable research and consultation the Executive identified a company limited by guarantee operating structure as the most appropriate arrangement for CUBO. This type of corporation is used primarily by not-for-profit organisations that require a legal framework to operate within. 

It does not have shareholders but instead has members who act as guarantors. The institutions that are members of CUBO will become its guarantors.

New leadership

The new company will have a board of directors and a number of the current Executive positions will become board directors. Most significantly, a new CUBO Chief Executive post is being recruited. This position will provide a central figurehead responsible for the leadership and direction on the large number of projects CUBO is currently undertaking of behalf of its members. The post holder will proactively engage with the HE sector and with our partners to ensure that CUBO members’ interests are championed in the education, political and commercial arenas.

CUBO is confident that this restructured operating framework and new CEO will create the springboard needed to take us into the future. These changes will enable us to provide enhanced value for members and greater capacity to engage more widely with all stakeholders. Prioritising communications and an enhanced digital presence will be a key theme to aid networking and ensure CUBO has a clear voice in the sector.

CUBO is keen to ensure that our partners and stakeholders are kept up to date and, where possible, involved in the changes that will take place over the next year. If you have any questions about the changes and future direction of CUBO we are keen to hear from you. Please contact admin@cubo.org.uk

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