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Early discussions with staff and students

The change process and structure change required to reach Vesting Day and beyond, and to implement the merger successfully, is challenging.


Using open and clear dialogue early in the process and adopting an honest approach with staff will help staff develop trust in the process. Senior management should be sensitive to differences amongst merging or federating institutions and look to integrate staff quickly into a shared understanding of the new institution. A key aim is to create a sense of shared ownership of the success of the new institution.

It is important to engage early with students' associations and the designated student representatives, as well as national and college based representatives of recognised trades unions. Communication and consultation are key, particularly across campuses.

It is important to consider how to minimise the risk of merger preparation distracting from or impacting negatively on services. In considering the challenges in preparing for merger it might useful to differentiate responsibilities so that there is simultaneous focus on merger preparation and ensuring "business as usual". Merger or any structural change poses challenges for students and staff but provides an ideal opportunity to approach this strategically and ensure students are at the centre of the process in shaping the future of the new institution and developing appropriate strategies.

NUS Scotland has developed guidance for students' associations and student representatives whose institutions are moving forward with merger or federation. We strongly suggest that account is taken of available guidance.

See also Student engagement.


This guidance was developed in 2012 and will be reviewed.

Your feedback is important so let us know where you have used it or how it can be improved by contacting Linda McLeod, email: