Unreliable funding increases OSSL losses

first_imgNewly published financial statements from Oxford Student Services Ltd (OSSL), the commercial arm of OUSU, show that gross profit fell by almost £40,000 between 2005 and 2006.OUSU sabbatical officers have warned that guaranteed funding from the University is the only way to avoid the Student Union’s current financial crisis. Overall turnover is down by around £100,000 and operating profit has fallen by £7,000.Ed Mayne, OUSU Vice-President (Finance) and OSSL Chairman, said that finances were volatile and prone to fluctuating. “Although the turnover for the 2004/5 financial year was high, the income proved to be unsustainable and many changes were made in the 2005/6 academic year. Due to the way OSSL currently operates, income and turnover will always fluctuate,” he said.OSSL plans to introduce a second business manager next year in a bid to increase revenue. “I am confident that the income we will receive in this financial year will be higher than in the previous financial year. OUSU’s publication provision will not change from its current format,” he added.In 2005, OUSU predicted that it would make a profit of £50,000 but in fact incurred a deficit of £42,702. As a result, OUSU was forced to radically reform its operations for creating revenue to remain financially viable. An estimated deficit of £60,000 the following year was proved wrong when the Student Union lost only £32,904 in 2006. The University has previously stressed that it will not provide further financial assistance until OUSU stops making losses, but the University’s Joint Committee has since reconsidered its position.OUSU President Alan Strickland said that the lack of a substantial block grant comparable to those received by student unions at other universities means that OUSU will remain financially weak due to inadequate funding and few permanent staff. “The volatility of OUSU’s commercial income makes it an unreliable source of funding for welfare, representation and other core services,” he said. “Thankfully, the University’s Joint Committee, which oversees OUSU, has accepted this. We are in advanced negotiations with them to gain stable core funding. OUSU has to guarantee provision of its core services without guaranteed funding. This is a serious problem which I hope we can remedy.”He added that OUSU expected greater OSSL profits in 2007, saying, “The overhaul of OUSU’s financial management which we’ve led this year and the hard work of our Business Manager mean that profits are stronger than last year. I’m confident that our subsidiary will be able to donate a healthier profit to OUSU at the end of the year.”Louisa Brownleelast_img read more