Officer Structure Referendum

In November 2023 the Student Union conducted a democracy review in which found that the majority of students wasnt happy with the roles that currently represent them. A review was conducted to create an alternative option that put students' feedback at the forefront of planning. 

The key theme found was that students believe that 

  • Postgraduates need more Student Union representation. 
  • Welfare and Education are the most important issues. 
  • Equity should be considered. 
  • Officers need to focus on bigger student issues (such as the cost-of-living crisis). 
  • If students were to run for a role, they wanted a role with more hours to help with finances. 

Over 10% of current Birkbeck Students have been consulted. 

The Proposal

Proposed Structure 

This structure would have more hours for officers to take on bigger student issues such as cost-of-living, AI, and Postgraduate welfare while also bringing together the women's, LGBTQ+, Trans, BaME, International and Disability networks to help create bigger changes for these communities. 

Postgraduate Sabbatical Officer (21 hours)

This role will solely focus on the postgraduate experience, and how change can be created to support and improve student experience. This role will only be open to current Birkbeck postgraduate students. 

Education Sabbatical Officer (21 Hours) 

Education will focus on education issues as a whole whether this be the AI Policy or Timetabling issues. This officer will also work closely with course reps to create change all the way down to the course level. This role will be open to all current Birkbeck Students. 

Welfare Sabbatical Officer (21 Hours)

Welfare will focus on student welfare issues such as Mental Health Support and Student Services. This role will be open to all current Birkbeck Students. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Sabbatical Officer (21 Hours)

This role will focus on working closely with the liberation networks to ensure change is created to make a better experience for students. This role will also focus on inclusion policy and improving the inclusivity and diversity of Birkbeck University.  This role will work with all networks to ensure their voice is heard at the top of Birkbeck while also considering demographics that our networks currently don't represent such as mature students. This role will be open to all current Birkbeck Students. 

Positives of changing structure

Cons of changing structure

Roles with more paid hours as requested in feedback.

Fewer roles are available for students

More time for officers to focus on bigger issues affecting Birkbeck Students.

Less paid liberation representation.

Students’ feedback has fed into the proposed structure

less overall officer hours 

More Liberation Roles in the Student Parliament

Networks would be run by students’ voluntary

More hours focused on welfare and education issues.


Postgraduate students are represented


  • Networks would be run by student volunteers a chair would be elected in the autumn elections.  That chair can also sit on student parliament with a casting vote.
  • All Liberation roles will go into student parliament as voluntary roles to ensure representation.
  • Accountability- The scrutiny panel will still be in place for any other roles however the Equity and Liberation role would be held to account by liberation networks chairs acting as their scrutiny panel to ensure all areas of liberation are being represented.
  • If the motion passes, it will not come into place until the 23-24 Academic year.


The Question

Should Birkbeck Students' Union change its current officer structure for the new proposed structure? Students will be able to respond to 'Yes', 'No' or 'Abstain' to the question 

All current Birkbeck Students' will be able to cast a vote once voting is open. 

© Birkbeck Students' Union

Birkbeck Students’ Union is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) registered in England and Wales, charity number 1142614.

Powered by MSL