On this page you’ll find the full range of services available to NUS Charity members for 2020-21.


The vast majority of our services are available UK-wide and are included as part of your membership contribution. These are marked in blue. Some services may carry an additional cost are these are marked £. Nations specific elements are colour coded (yellow for Northern Ireland, purple for Scotland, green for Wales).


Our offer breaks down into the following areas:

  • Core support – Creating and Growing Strong Students’ Unions.
  • Championing the Value of Students’ Unions.
  • Connection and Curation.
  • Crisis Support.

As well as all the services outlined below we have a dedicated membership team, who can assist you with getting the most out of your membership. Our membership email address is monitored during working hours by the team, who will respond back to all emails within two working days.


Core support – Creating and Growing Strong Students’ Unions.


We provide expertise, resources, programmes and collective buying to give your Students’ Union exactly what you need to thrive. This includes:


Regular newsletter - Join the mailing list for weekly news, updates and all the latest resources on major issues affecting students’ unions.


Incoming queries – we support unions with everything you’re working on. We’ll ensure your queries are answered in a timely manner and that you’re happy with the support you receive. Contact us with your queries.


Union Development resources – we continue to provide pertinent, quality resources on NUS Connect including briefings, templates, examples, inspiration sheets, how-to guides and case studies. Some of these are developed by NUS and our members, and others by partners such as DAC Beachcroft, Bates Wells, NCVO and SOS-UK.


When new resources are produced we’ll also host webinars to deliver content live with Q&A for unions. As part of our digital transformation work we’ll enhance the navigation of our resources, enhancing usability and ensuring you can find what you’re looking for. We’ve started this work with our racial justice hub and HR hub.


Trading Support –using our collective buying power to save you money. Access to a dedicated team with expertise in all aspects of trading, from ethical buying to data analysis, operational support and negotiating national discounts. Our team works on crisis management should the unexpected occur i.e. if suppliers go into administration. You can rely on us finding resolution and new suppliers without delays Simplified payments via our Central Billing system.


Our Central Billing platform saves suppliers £860k in administration costs - this enables us to negotiate very competitive pricing for our members. It also saves SU’s £430k in administrative costs and we deal with any disputes. We make sure unions are giving students what they want, at a great price, whilst generating income to fund our movement. Last year we paid members £2.1m in payment linked to trading programmes and raised £1.4m to support the work of NUS.


Here are a few other benefits of Trading Support:

  • Commercial health checks and training
  • Access to our Co-op franchise programme
  • Enrolment in the Best Bar None National Scheme


Find out more about Trading Support here. (£) – this is our platform which supports recruitment for members, enhances diversity across the movement and showcases a career in students’ unions. We’ll deliver a new social media strategy and continue to market vacancies widely through partners such as Google and The Guardian.


Find out more here.


Learning Academy – We’ll continue to provide training for students’ unions through commissioned courses (£), webinars and our summer officer development training (which includes Lead and Change, Y Talwrn, The Gathering, FEstival, SUT/SUT+, (£)) working with external partners where appropriate to deliver tried and tested courses and create new content to support your staff, officer and trustees’ learning and development. We’ll be updating our anti-racism training in line with NUS-UK’s decolonising education campaign.


Find out more here.


Election service – we ensure your elections are free and fair with our election returns and processes to support your deputy returning officers. Using insight and sharing good practice you can draw on decades of experience in running students’ union elections. NUS’ support also gives an assurance to parent institutions that their regulatory obligations are being met in accordance with the Education Act (1994). This year we’re also launching a service to collect and collate candidate demographic information as part of commitment to making students’ unions inclusive for all students.


Find out more here.


Quality Students Unions (QSU) – this is the quality framework to help students' unions achieve their full potential. We’re launching the latest revision of the framework in September 2020. Unions will be supported through our advice and guidance channels, as well as by other unions through communities of practice. NUS will facilitate an annual verification cycle (£) for unions who want external recognition of their quality.


Find our more here


Benchmarking data – we’ll be building upon the historic SU survey, as well as undertaking stand-alone benchmarking studies when needed to provide you with the insight you need to make good decisions as well as helping us to champion students’ unions.


NUS Scotland College project - FE members in Scotland only - Alongside sparqs we are entering our final year of delivering this project funded by the Scottish Funding Council to develop of strong and effective college students’ associations in Scotland. We’ll continue to work closely with staff and officers at every college students’ association to deliver development plans in line with the Framework for Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations in Scotland, as well as working with the funders and the sector more broadly to ensure the project has long-lasting sustainable legacy.


Find out more here.


Learner Voice Framework – this is an online self-assessment and development tool that enables organisations in further education to identify, measure and improve the quality of their learner voice practice. We know the model is need of a revamp and will plan this activity across the year. The current framework will continue to be supported in the meantime.


Find out more here.


RISE Leadership Programme (£) - we’ll review the outcomes of the first two years of the programme for a second year before launching RISE this year. We’ll continue to give in-depth development to Black staff who are aspiring leaders, those in senior management roles and also encourage white line managers to understand their role and responsibility in creating and maintaining an inclusive culture.


We’ll be launching this year’s programme in the membership newsletter 


Effective Students’ Unions - HE members in Wales only - We’ll continue to work with our funders, HEFCW, to provide dedicated support to students’ unions enabling them to provide robust input into their institutions’ work, particularly regarding fee and access plans, student charters, mental health and wellbeing and other areas of the Welsh education landscape where student partnership is vital. More information on this is set to be released soon.


For more information contact NUS Wales


Think Positive – We’ll continue to support students’ associations and institutions working in partnerships to develop and deliver Student Mental Health Agreements (SMHA) and mental health initiatives on campus in this project funded by the Scottish Government.


Find out more here.


Championing the Value of Students’ Unions.


We work with relevant national and international sector bodies to ensure students’ unions are represented and valued by those that fund, govern and shape the tertiary education sector. Our long-term goals are to increase funding for the movement, enhance stakeholder perceptions of students’ unions and protect our work in regulation. As well as ongoing work to champion SUs, we will be specifically lobbying to:

  • Overturn unexpected VAT bills for unions as a result of recent HMRC investigators changing their interpretation of policy relating to catering outlets;
  • Protect our movement from claims of ‘cancel culture’, ‘niche activism’ or denying freedom of speech;
  • Ensuring that the quality and impact of students’ unions are seen by the sector through lenses other than purely NSS Q26.


We’ll keep you updated throughout the year on the work we do to champion you, our members, via our membership email (sign up here). We’ll also keep you updated on this work at Strategic Conversation

Connection and Curation


We actively promote the value of mutual support for students’ Unions. We work to connect Students’ Unions to one another to share expertise and network. We curate a marketplace of high quality providers to put members in touch with specific services and expertise.


Communities of practice We connect staff and officers in students’ unions through networking sessions, events and online spaces. We’ll continue to work with Community of Practice chairs and our officer team to ensure communities and networks are supported to flourish.


Find out more here.


We also recognise the willingness and benefit of unions supporting one another. There’re numerous ways members can ‘give back’ and connect with others in the movement:

  • The Governance Peer Review Scheme sees trained union staff facilitate trustee board conversations at other unions, helping them develop action plans to enhance their governance practice using the SU Governance Code.

Find out more here.

  • Unions providing staff volunteers to tutor as part of the summer officer development programme;
  • Volunteering as community of practice or officer network chairs;
  • Training to become a peer verifier for unions seeking verification against the Quality Students’ Union framework.


This year we’ll be developing an inter-union staff mentoring scheme and will continue to host events such as Strategic Conversation (£), and support others such as Membership Services Conference (£), to enable unions to build their network, learn and enhance the collective capacity of our movement.


Find out more about events


Consultants Directory. We continue to provide a directory of trusted consultants as recommended by our members and are developing a network of associates to deliver training services.


Find out more here.


NCVO Membership. We have a longstanding partnership with which means all NUS Charity Members automatically have associate membership of NCVO and their sister organisations across the UK too. They provide support and advice to charities and keep their members up to date with relevant news and activities as well as providing advice and guidance. They also represent members by upholding the sector’s independence, influencing the regulatory and financial environment and supporting the role of charities in public services so are key allies in our building and championing strong students’ unions work as well.


Find out more here.


We work to enhance the collective capacity of our movement as well as that of individual unions. Beyond our core offer outlined here, we will curate further projects, products and services with our members and with external organisations. Some of this we can do in house through projects budgets and our staff time but for the larger pieces of work we’ll work with external partners too.


One popular and long-term example of a curated service is that of the employee engagement survey (£) where we work with Agenda consultancy to give unions a real insight into staff experience and satisfaction, and to benchmark their results against other participating students' unions and the third sector.


Find our more here.


Crisis support


Unfortunately, we still see unions in crisis – whether through financial or reputational threat, or more often because of the breakdown of relationships. We seek to prevent crisis through our advice and guidance work, but when a member faces significant challenges we step in to support that member.


Our crisis support works as a distilled version of our offer. We provide members in crisis core support through advice, guidance and resources including the diagnostic tools they need.


We champion our members’ value. One of the most important aspects for a union in crisis is the collective power of our movement and the support other unions can provide. Therefore, our work connecting unions is also vital. We also signpost to relevant interim or consultant support.


If you need our crisis support service for members, please contact and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.