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Organisational Health Assessment

We work with Greenhouse, MiraGold and Atkinson HR Consulting in delivering a supportive framework to empower Senior Leaders with their Trustees to take stock and drive improved results and impact.


Students’ Unions are constantly developing to meet the evolving demands of their members and their institution, with some outstanding organisations leading the way in creating new practices that are applicable across the movement. It can often be challenging for Chief Executives and senior staff to find the space in increasingly tight schedules to determine where opportunities for improvement lie.

Greenhouse and MiraGold have developed, in association with Atkinson HR Consulting and Coole Insight Ltd, a supportive framework to empower CEOs, senior staff, and trustees to take stock of their organisational development and make effective, efficient improvements across  their operations to drive improved results and impact. The Organisational Health Assessment has been created with the Charity Code of Governance and NUS’ Quality Students’ Unions’ framework (QSU) in mind, alongside leading benchmarks of success across the UK and beyond.

Proven Methodology

Evidenced by comprehensive market research of Chief Executives and building on the recognised Quality Students’ Unions’ framework of NUS, the Organisational Health Assessment allows CEOs to tailor the scope and outputs to their own context, focussing on elements which will show greatest benefit. Utilising a combination of key documents review, in-person stakeholder interviews, and rigorous desk-based research, the assessment results in a set of valuable recommendations that offer the best potential outcomes for the students’ union.

The Framework

The Organisational Health Assessment is most effective when tailored to the unique needs of the Students’ Union; each proposal to deliver the work is based on an initial conversation with the CEO to determine the purpose of the assessment, optimal outcomes, and subsequent areas of focus from the themes below:

  1. Strategic goals development, considering progress, KPIs and useful benchmarks

  2. Engagement with the membership – breadth and depth

  3. Representation of students to the institution, and potential improvements

  4. Relationship with institution across tiers of the SU and its principal funder

  5. Trustee board effectiveness and Full Time Officer development

  6. People development, culture, EDI, wellbeing and performance

  7. Financial resilience

  8. Marketing & Communications, Insight & digital engagement

  9. Risk management – financial, reputational, and structural

  10. Impact of the organisation and/or its programmes on key stakeholders

Each agreed focus area is assessed thoroughly, and appropriate benchmarks are used
to highlight areas for development; of principal benefit are recommendations to help
achieve greatest impact and quick wins in a bespoke report for senior managers.

Who Is It For?

As indicated, the Organisational Health Assessment relies on a collaborative approach
with each students’ union that we work with; CEOs will benefit most from the Assessment, providing clear lines of future priorities and workstreams. There will also be specific benefits derived from this work being conducted in certain circumstances, including:

  • A newly-appointed Chief Executive looking to expedite an initial assessment of the current strengths and weaknesses of the organisation.

  • A CEO seeking supporting evidence for increased or targeted investment from the institution in specific areas of work

  • A CEO approaching a strategic planning cycle keen to align operating strategies beneath overarching objectives

  • A CEO about to embark on Quality Students’ Unions, before commitment to the self-assessment or verification

  • A CEO desiring objective external advice on areas for improvement


If a students’ union were to find itself with an interim CEO, the Organisational Health assessment would greatly assist the subsequent recruitment process for a permanent senior staff member.

Who are we? 

A team with extensive experience and  complementary skills  

Greenhouse is a strategic organisational development team of highly experienced  business professionals. The founder Jan Sowa focusses on organisational strategy in  the charity and education sectors – he has worked with over 80 students’ unions on  board effectiveness, strategic development, and improved impact with highly positive  post-assignments feedback and a proven track record.

MiraGold provides wonderful Governance, Organisational Leadership and  Development to the Charity and Voluntary sectors with collaborative working at its  heart. Kathryn Sullivan, its founder, has a strong history of working within the student  movement and has been a trustee of a range of charities for over 11 years.


Atkinson HR Consulting exists to create change, build capacity and drive quality people  management, performance and leadership in values-driven organisations. The team at  Atkinson HR have proven experience in HR management, L&D and organisation design;  and Graham Atkinson has successfully worked in, and with, students’ unions for 20+  years including over 12-years in senior leadership roles.  

Coole Insight is the home of students’ union development, driving sector  improvement through collaboration, expertise, and insight. We work hard in our  pursuit of getting the right thing done by people, and by organisations. We embody  the transformational power of the student movement, and share our lived and work  experience of this power to maximise the potential of elected student leaders,  professional staff teams, and students’ unions as organisations

Our Team

Steve Coole

Christina Kennedy

Ben Vulliamy

Scott Farmer

Michael Wigg

Yemi Gbajobi

Jan Sowa


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