Nick Smith Consulting

Nick Smith

Tel: 07816482015


Nick Smith has over ten years’ experience of supporting leaders, volunteers and staff in charities and Higher Education Institutions. His work developing model governing documents for over 600 third sector organisations was used as an example of good practice in the House of Lords. He has a particular background in students’ unions of all sizes and the specific challenges which they face as campaigning, representing and service delivery organisations. He has been an Assistant Registrar for Governance at a Russell Group University and Executive Officer within a UK Medical School. He is a board member of 2 small charities.

Nick has trained hundreds of trustees and young people over the past 10 years. These have included courses on introducing trusteeship, preparing for organisational change, leadership, campaigning and advocacy. 


Organisations and individuals stall when they are unsure or afraid of the environment in which they work. For campaigning groups, small charities and community led groups in particular, worrying about areas such as governance and organisational structure can draw resources and attention away from their core business. My training will help volunteer, board members and staff feel more at ease about these areas and so enhance the time they can spend on your main activities.


My offer

My varied background in students’ unions and higher education means I can offer a wide range of activities:

  • Officer training and skills development for student representatives (see example below)
  • Trustee chairs training
  • Coaching/mentoring for trustee board chairs
  • Constitutional/governing document review; bye-law drafting; creating bridging documents
  • Secretarial/clerk services to trustee boards, including filing requirements with regulators


Example training course: Promoting your agenda within the institution (for student representatives and support staff)

Students’ union officer teams will be wanting to promote the agendas of the students’ union within their institutions. They also have support staff who will want to improve their ability to support officers and, where appropriate, engage directly with the university themselves. Using my experience as a students’ union officer, supporter of the NUS Officer Team and positions liaising with students’ unions as a senior member of University staff, this training will help the SU team challenge the university and champion student rights. 

This training will look at the power structures of the university and the key individuals who must be identified and lobbied to make change. It will discuss the techniques officers need to consider to get the most out of university meetings including preparation and tracking follow up. It will discuss personality types within the meetings as well as the key roles held on committees and the responsibility they have. Outside of meetings it will look at how individuals can be influenced informally. 

I deliver one day of training for SU Officers and staff to prepare them to identify the key decision making individuals and meetings within the institution and how to best put forward the officer policy and manifesto pledges. To prepare this I will speak with the Chief Executive or Deputy and, if required, other members of SU staff to refine the objectives for the day. I will research the structures and membership of key university committees and offer to talk with their secretaries about their hopes for interacting with student representatives. There will be specific activities for officers and staff members to reflect the different roles and responsibilities that they have in influencing the university. I will provide training materials to be printed in advance and offer follow up email correspondence with delegates after 1 month to see if they have further questions and build on their initial experiences of university governance. 


Learning Outcomes:
1. To understand the different aspects of a university
1.1. Key members of the institution who the SU will need to influence
1.2. Links between these key individuals and how to use these 
1.3. The different types of meetings and how power operates between them
1.4. The roles people take in meetings and how to use them to advance SU objectives 
2. Use soft power to influence the organisation outside of formal meetings
3. Practical preparation for meetings including using support staff properly 
4. Avoiding common tactics used to dissuade or distract officers within meetings



My hourly costs start at £50 for student's unions and I will discuss what you may require before creating a final proposal.