NCVO Governance support 

NUS has partnered with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) to offer high quality expert governance consulting, training and advice to students’ unions at reduced rates. 

NUS and NCVO and WCVA  have a long-standing partnership and a group membership agreement where all English and Welsh students’ unions in NUS’ membership are also NCVO members. This relationship provides access to all of NCVO’s member benefits and has been the basis for shared learning and collaboration. 

Why work with NCVO? 

NCVO is the largest general membership body for charities and voluntary organisations in England. With around 14,000 members, NCVO champions voluntary action: their vision is a society in which people are inspired to make a positive difference to their communities. 

Through consultancy and training, NCVO’s skilled, experienced and quality assured consultants are able to directly help charities, voluntary and community organisations and wider civil society organisations to become more effective. 

NCVO has over 25 years’ experience of supporting and developing good governance in charities and has considerable experience working with Students’ Unions. In particular NCVO: 
•    Is a founding partner of The Charity Governance Code and a key player in the recently revised code published in 2017
•    Acted as an advisor to NUS on the development of its own code for students’ unions and adapted it’s Governance Wheel tool for use by students’ unions
•    Work with over a hundred organisations a year to deliver ranging from full scale governance reviews to bespoke diagnostics and board development sessions
•    Train over a thousand trustees a year from small community organisations to large household name charities
•    Have a deep understanding of the complexities of governing in a students’ union having worked extensively with many students’ unions to develop good governance 
•    Responsible for many, highly regarded publications including The Good Trustee Guide (6th ed.)

In Wales WCVA will collaborate with NCVO to provide high quality support to unions tailored to the Welsh context, drawing on the expertise and insight offered through WCVA. 

What can NCVO offer? 

NCVO’s support is bespoke to a students’ unions requirements and budget. Assignments typically range from one day exercises to eight to ten-day full governance reviews. NCVO is pleased of offer a 10% discount on its standard rates to SU’s.

•    Board facilitation and development: intervention to support the board in development or agreeing plans for improvement 

•    Trustee Training

•    Board health check: provides an external opinion on governance and a detailed action plan for improved performance 
•    Governance Review: detailed exercise involving an in-depth look at systems, processes and board interactions, providing a rigorous report on board improvement.  


To find out more about the support NCVO can offer and their consulting team please visit the NCVO website. To discuss how they can support your union please contact the NUS Union Development on

To undertake your own review without paying for support you can download the Governance Code and the NCVO Governance Wheel tool which has been adapted for Students’ Unions.  In addition we have Governance Peer Review Scheme which members can access free of charge.