The issue

In May 2012, the University announced plans to outsource its Facilities Management and Catering provisions to external providers (originally to be completed by August 2013). 

A total of 235 staff currently employed by the university have now been transferred to private, commercial providers.

We are aware that students and staff share concerns that other services could be on the list for future outsourcing. 

Our concerns are centred around the negative impact on student welfare, lack of accountability, adverse impact on student employment, decreasing affordability and quality, poorer ethics and sustainability and wider impacts on the campus environment.

Catering and conference services were outsourced in September 2013, with the University announcing Chartwells as the chosen provider. Estates and facilities management were outsourced in January 2014, with the University announcing Interserve as the chosen provider.

In an April 2013 referendum students voted 'yes' on the question 'Should the University of Sussex Students' Union campaign against the University's plans to outsource services to private companies?'. The Union has therefore continued to campaign against the University's plans to outsource to private companies. 

Following the Emergency Members Meeting in November 2013, the Union’s Executive Committee agreed a set of aims and objectives which sought to lobby the University to drop their plans to outsource Estates & Facilities Management (EFM) and Catering and Conferencing Services at the University of Sussex.

Despite achieving all of the objectives, and much hard work being undertaken by both the Students’ Union and a separate student-led campaign group, the University went ahead with the outsourcing and both external providers are now on campus.

With the University now in 10 year contracts with these firms, the Students' Union's Campaigns and Social Policy Steering Group decided to amend the aims and objectives of our campaign to reflect the current situation on campus.

Campaign aim

To ensure that external providers on campus are accountable to students and provide affordable, accessible services; to lobby the University to bring these services back in house; to ensure that the student body remains aware of outsourcing and the accompanying issues.  

Campaign objectives

  • To inform students that campus catering is outsourced to an external company and to highlight the effects this has on students and the campus community.
  • To support the student-led campaign, where appropriate.
  • To lobby Chartwells to provide a range of healthy, affordable food on campus which caters to dietary requirements.
  • To lobby Interserve to allow student representation on their boards, to be a flexible employer for students and to provide a good service.
  • To work with the University to ensure that there is a robust mechanism for holding Interserve and Chartwells to account.
  • To collect information regarding changes to the services and to employment conditions for those employed by Interserve and Chartwells.
  • To uphold the Union’s stance against outsourcing in University committees and meetings.

Contact us

President - Frida Gustafsson

Phone: 01273 873350
Office: Support and Advocacy office, 1st floor, Falmer House

Join the campaign team »